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Curtailed commentary on current conditions: literacy lacking, trust your professors, winter is coming and jeggings won’t cut it, and will the circle be unbroken?

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Print Edition: November 27, 2013

Illustration: ANthony Biondi

Literacy lacking

I firmly believe all would-be students should have to take a basic test on spelling, grammar, and punctuation before entering university. To be frank, I’m astonished at the number of students I encounter in their third or fourth year of a program (and most of those I personally meet are English students) who are hard-pressed to put a sentence together, who don’t know how to use a comma, and who are regularly stymied by the task of “putting to and too together,” so to speak.

I’m aware that no one is perfect. We all make mistakes.

However, when you have been learning how to conjugate verbs and how to differentiate between homophones (I still see people mistake “threw” for “through”) since elementary school, and still can’t figure it out, there’s a problem.

University students in any program should be more than just basically literate.

KATIE STOBBART

Illustration: ANthony Biondi

Trust your professors

Trust your professors. They’re smarter than you.

We’ve pushed so far in our endeavors for human equality that we have forgotten that our teachers are there to teach – to fill a knowledge gap.

Instead of trusting our PhD masters, we categorize them in infantile ways. We reduce them to an archetype so our sophomoric little minds can understand.

If it’s the simple facts you’re after, then you can Google it or ask your Facebook friends. But the good stuff—the kind of knowledge and wisdom that makes us smile—happens in the best of formats: talking with your professor.

We need to stop treating our teachers as oppressors and start listening to them as our mentors. We might disagree with their politics or their ideas, but—more often than not—the truth is that we’re too stupid to understand them. And if there is one thing we don’t like, it’s feeling stupid.

But this is learning. Being stupid. Being ranked lower. Being wrong. We’re better off listening to the master than sitting in class reading Wikipedia articles back at him.

Put down your ego. Trust your professor.

CHRISTOPHER DEMARCUS

winter---opinion

Winter is coming and jeggings won’t cut it

I know we’re in Canada, but really, the aversion to cold in our generation is getting ridiculous! It’s raining—almost snowing—outside, and instead of cozying up in a comfy sweater with some Timmies, people are walking around in shorts and little else.

If it’s all right to put up Christmas lights in the middle of November, then it should be damn well time to bundle up and look frumpy to withstand the winter temperatures.

The question is, are people wearing their “winter clothes” because stores aren’t selling suitable clothing? I believe this is the case. I have wandered about in stores and haven’t found very many warm articles to purchase. It’s like almost every seasonal piece designed for winter is not meant to keep you warm, but is meant to appear as though you are kept warm. It makes no sense whatsoever. I would think that the general populace would rather to be kept warm than worry about looking chic or hip or sexy. I’m not even thinking about looking good when it’s cold out; blue isn’t a good colour for me.

Maybe designers should start listening to “the problem with jeggings” and create some warmer clothes for those of us who aren’t built like a human radiator.

TAYLOR BRECKLES

Illustration: ANthony Biondi

Will the circle be unbroken?

Every few months, the City of Abbotsford evicts a homeless camp, euphemistically citing “safety concerns.” It has become as routine as passing budgets and public hearings.

This time, Mayor Banman and company have their sights on the Jubilee Park protest encampment staged by BC/Yukon Drug War Survivors. The tents have been in place at their high-visibility location next to McCallum Road since October, a disquieting reminder of the municipal government’s cavalier response to the city’s growing homelessness crisis (chicken manure, anyone?).

Instead of engaging with the protesters, the city is predictably seeking a provincial injunction to dismantle the camp. The recurring strategy here seems to be monitor quietly and evict on a technicality.

Abbotsford does not pursue a long-term solution because that would be tacitly admitting it requires one. Obviously the current situation is not ideal, but closing one camp only moves the residents a few blocks down the road.

Why not take a cue from Portland’s Dignity Village and create a sanctioned camp on a barren lot? It would be one compassionate step towards addressing the complex problems faced by the city’s homeless.

NICK UBELS

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