QPIRG and SSMU at odds over potential cuts to programming funds
On August 16, Mcgill’s Union for Gender Empowerment (UGE) published an open letter to the Students’ Society of Mcgill University (SSMU). Co- signed by The Daily and several other campus groups. This letter criticised SSMU them for their use of “austerity logic and language” in connection with the potential defunding of Culture Shock and Social Justice Days, two anti-racist event series held on campus. Early versions of Culture Shock, originally run by SSMU alone, were described as tokenizing and misrepresentative of racial justice. In 2006, QPIRG offered to jointly run the program, with a mandate to focus on social justice issues. The letter published by the UGE states that as of 2015, monetary funding had been reduced from its initial $10,000 to $2,040. QPIRG board members fear that the elimination of funding would effectively end the programming.
In response, SSMU told The Daily that overall, they offer “more supports than provided to any other student group on campus and with a system that is outside the norm of that we offer other groups on campus, making our relationship with QPIRG an outlier in our standard operating procedures.” QPIRG has argued, in return, that SSMU’S continued collaboration on anti-racist programming is essential. “Working together furthers the value that QPIRG can provide to SSMU and the students at Mcgill,” the staff and board said in a statement to the Daily.
The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) is going to court to appeal a 2015 ruling by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) which ruled that hyperandrogenous athletes such as Caster Semenya of South Africa did not have an advantage over other athletes. Caster Semenya, an 800m runner, is among a group of female athletes with naturally high levels of testosterone. Because testosterone is sometime artificially injected by athletes to illegally improve their performance, the IAAF wishes to enforce a limit on the levels that female athletes may retain. Since her 2009 World Championship win, Semenya has been forced to undergo sex verification tests, testosterone tests, and even hormone therapy. The IAAF is fighting once again to force hormone therapy on her and other hyperandrogenous athletes. If the IAAF wins the appeal against the CAS, these athletes will face disqualification if they do not wish to modify their natural testosterone levels. This debate provides the IAAF with the opportunity to change the face of sport and ingrain more inclusive gender definitions into the field. However, they have taken a bigoted and hateful stand against many of their own athletes and spectators.