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University of Waterloo | Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

Tuesday, March 30, 1999

  • Womyn invite men to debate
  • Grad students approve new fees
  • IST computer courses for April
  • Safe computing prevents virus
  • Stress relief and other hooplas
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Womyn invite men to debate

What a difference a vowel makes.

In the minefield of gender politics at UW, the controversy surrounding the spelling of the Womyn's/Women's Centre has been one of the most explosive issues on campus in recent years. Known as the Womyn's Centre since at least the early 90s, the spelling has aroused strong feelings both within the Federation of Students -- which funds the Centre -- and the Centre itself.

Among the reasons for the Y, according to Disa Almeida, a Womyn's Centre coordinator:

The E versus Y controversy takes centre stage today at 4:30 p.m. in the Student Life Centre with the question posed in a formal debate. A question period will follow, after which members of the audience will have a chance to decide whether the WomYn's Centre should be renamed the WomEn's Centre.

Why a public debate? "Since the Centre is funded by the students, and the spelling we use seems to have more of an effect on them than it does on us, we thought we'd put the question to them," explains Natalie Gillis, a Centre member. "It is an issue that the Womyn's Centre has struggled with internally for quite some time," she adds. "As the Womyn's Centre membership changes on a term-by-term and year-by-year basis, so do the different attitudes toward feminism. There was an exceptionally large turnover in membership this year, and this year's members are considerably less radical in their approach, and are somewhat more sympathetic to feelings of dislike for the Y often expressed by students at large.

"We ourselves are at a bit of an impasse -- we understand the reasons for having the Y, yet we also understand the reasons for not having it, and can't decide which reasons are the more valid."

In what may be seen as a radical departure for the Centre, it is inviting men to participate in the decision. Two of the debaters are men, says Gillis, and their involvement "will add context to the discussion that will follow and provide background to help the students make the decision."

Ultimately, notes Christine Cheng, a Womyn's Centre coordinator and Feds president-elect, "Change within society can't happen without the consensus of both groups. Both sexes need to recognize that a problem exists; men and women need to discuss the issues together.... Having an open debate symbolizes that we are open as well," she adds, "open to new ideas, to new perspectives and new members."

Cheng is hopeful the debate will raise the profile of women's issues on campus. "My first priority both as a coordinator, and also as a feminist, is to make sure that the ideas and all the great things that the Women's Centre does are not obscured by semantics. Even though semantics are important, I am open to a name change if it means a change in perception in the general student population towards the Womyn's Centre."

Regardless of the outcome, Cheng sees the debate as an opportunity "to open the issue up to all members of the Federation of Students, (and) to educate the public and make them understand that being a feminist doesn't necessarily mean being 'radical'."

Grad students approve new fees

In a referendum last week, UW graduate students gave their resounding support to a new fee system with separate fees to support the Graduate Student Association (GSA) and the Grad House.

Of 381 votes cast, 329 or 86.4 per cent, voted in favour of the fee structure which provides for a $12 non refundable GSA Association fee and a refundable $8 Grad House fee. Currently, GSA members pay a non-refundable GSA fee of $18.45 per term. Last year an additional $10 per term strikable fee was added to improve the Grad House. This $10 fee is temporary and is scheduled to end this term.

The new fee structure was designed as a compromise solution to the problem of funding the Grad House, which some students do not wish to support because it serves alcohol. "For some students, there is a religious objection to paying money to support the sale of alcohol," said GSA president Peter Wood. "Other students simply have a philosophical objection to paying such a fee. Being sensitive to these concerns, we adopted this structure so anyone who does not wish to support the Grad House can obtain a full refund of that portion of the fee.

As part of the new system, separate accounting will be carried out for the GSA and the Grad House. "Each of these funds are managed separately," says Wood, "and we report on the performance separately. Each fund will be expected to break even from year to year, and to adjust its corresponding fee if necessary."

IST computer courses for April

Ten short -- and free --computer courses are being offered by IST in April for faculty, staff and students: More information about the courses and to access the course registration form can be found on the IST web site.

Safe computing prevents virus

In the news this week is a warning about a new and vicious computer virus, the Melissa macro virus, which is spread by email and can affect Word users.

At UW, says Carol Vogt, IST electronic workplace director, "we are not likely to be affected by the massive numbers of emails that this virus can generate. It appears that you must have Microsoft Outlook on your system (which some people will have) and it reads addresses from your Microsoft Outlook address book, which a much smaller number of people will have. However, anyone can be infected if they open the attached Word document they might receive."

To avoid contamination, she advises, take the following precautions:

  1. "Do not open an email attached Word document unless you were expecting to receive it, even if it is apparently sent by someone you know.
  2. "If you do open an attached document and you are informed that the document contains macros, do not continue with the open. Cancel immediately.
  3. "If you should become infected, the latest update for Norton antivirus will fix the problem."

Stress relief and other hooplas

The pension and benefits committee meeting started at 8:30 this morning in Needles Hall room 3004.

Is technology to blame for your stress? A stress relief clinic sponsored by the Sigma Chi Fraternity and the Fraternity Sorority Awareness Club offers students a chance to both reduce frustration and vent pent-up techno rage today from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the grassy knoll between Math and Computer and Biology 2. Lab coats, goggles, protective gloves and "a choice of destructive weapons" will be provided, as well as old computer parts to smash. Or students can bring an appliance of their choice to destroy. Proceeds from the event will go to Global Youth International, a charity to assist victims of Hurricane Mitch in Honduras.

The party that dare not speak its name (rhymes with "fave") is happening today starting at noon at an undisclosed location. Anyone interested in attending the "no drugs, no violence, no attitude" event is invited to show up in the Student Life Centre couch lounge at noon when all will be revealed. A similar event planned by the Federation of Students earlier this month was cancelled by UW administration.

A meeting of the student services networking group is scheduled for 1:30 to 3:30 today in Needles Hall room 3004.

Seeking the Sacred from the Profane: A Phenomenology of Travel Experience is the subject of a lecture by Yiping Li, University of Western Ontario, today at 2 p.m. in Environmental Studies 1 room 221. Everyone is welcome.

A Goodbye to Grace open house is planned today at 3 p.m. in Hagey Hall room 373 to say farewell to Grace Logan, who is retiring after many years as a computer consultant in the arts computing office.

Susan Moskal, Canadian government publications/economics librarian at UW, will speak on Electronic Data Resources: Ours to Deliver, Yours to Retrieve at 3:30 p.m. in the Davis Centre Library. The UW survey research centre seminar will include a demonstration of the TUG Data Resources web retrieval service.

An employer information session today from 6 to 8:30 p.m. in the Bombshelter will provide an opportunity for engineering, mathematics and physics students to meet with representatives of Trilogy.

The documentary film, Fury for the Sound: The Women at Clayoquot will be screened at 7 p.m. in Arts Lecture Hall room 116. Producer/director Shelley Winde will be on hand to discuss the film about the protests over five years ago on Vancouver Island over the logging of old growth forests. Admission is $3 for students/unwaged, $5 everyone else. The event is sponsored by WPIRG, UW Womyn's Centre and WLU Environmental Awareness Committee.

UW's swing and social dance club presents Swingin' Chicago Style, a dance event tonight at 8 at Fed Hall. The dance includes an hour of lessons, beginning at 8, two swing band orchestras, spot dance and door prizes, and demonstrations of jive, tango, east coast swing and aerials. Dress is semi-formal; tickets are $15. To learn more, phone ext. 6676 or 747-3965.

And finally, it's official: Winter is over. We have it from a reliable source (third-hand, that is) that Jerry Hutten made the announcement to his grounds crews late last week. Spring work has begun.

Barbara Elve

Editor of the Daily Bulletin: Chris Redmond
Information and Public Affairs, University of Waterloo
credmond@uwaterloo.ca | (519) 888-4567 ext. 3004
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