Laurier hosts panel to discuss doping at the Olympics

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Graphic by Alan Li

On Feb. 22, Wilfrid Laurier University’s Faculty of Science hosted a Reading Week Café in the Paul Martin Centre as a part of their 2017-2022 strategic plan.

The event saw the Faculty of Science present a moderated panel discussion on the issue of doping in the Olympics from various scientific and ethical perspectives.

Frédérique Guinel, biology professor at Laurier and host of the panel discussion, explained to The Cord how the event came together:

“It is a result of one of the committees which was put in place for the strategic plan for the science faculty,” she said. “The committee is known as ‘research and application of new ideas.’ And it is to try to brainstorm, to make people collaborate and communicate better.”

Through this committee, the Faculty of Science settled on the idea of a science café – open to students, professors and the public – and decided to launch during reading week this year.

Prior to the panel, Guinel noted the ideal outcome for the event, which was to see “people coming out of their office. People speaking; people having fun a little bit together.”

“We are going to try to make it a recurrent event every reading week,” Guinel said.

In preparation for the panel, Guinel created a list of various faculty members from different departments with relevant knowledge and experience.

“We try to check if there was somebody [who] knew about the topic in every department,” she said.

And, not limiting themselves to professors in the faculty of science, they reached out to Gary Foster, professor in the department of philosophy, to speak on the matter from a philosophical perspective.

“We have a person from the faculty of arts, because he is a philosopher. So he is going to bring a different view, which I think is great.”

Once the list was completed by Guinel it was passed on to the Dean of Science, Dr. Pam Bryden, who narrowed the selection down to four panelists due to the time constraints of the panel.

Panel speakers included the aforementioned Gary Foster, Wilfrid Laurier University president Deborah MacLatchy speaking on the biology of doping, psychology professor Bruce McKay speaking on the psychological effects of using performance-enhancing drugs, and Stephen Wenn, professor and expert on the International Olympic Committee.

Ultimately, the aim of the event was to bring faculty members together for an informative and collaborative event.

Prior to the panel, Guinel noted the ideal outcome for the event, which was to see “people coming out of their office. People speaking; people having fun a little bit together.”

“And just to promote conversation because I think this is a thing which is missing at Laurier,” Guinel said.

Photo by Jake Watts

 

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