LSPIRG responds to Cord editorial

On Sept. 29, an unsigned editorial article titled “LSPIRG must reflect values of all students” accused the Laurier Students’ Public Interest Research Group of being an “ideological” organization, yet it failed to inform Laurier students about what LSPIRG really does, or what it has to offer them.
One of the most troubling parts of the accusation is its reference material.

The sole reference made to characterize LSPIRG was the Laurier Campus Conservatives (LCC). LCC has only five official objectives listed on their website, one of which is to “work to end the influence of the Laurier Students’ Public Interest Research Group”.

To cite only one organization that has, for years, worked to end LSPIRG, sets the article’s tone as biased from the start.

Furthermore, two Cord editorial board members are or were associated with the Campus Conservatives.

It is disappointing that the editorial board would write a piece that furthers the agenda of any campus organization, especially one where members have active ties to the group.

It’s not entirely fair to describe LSPIRG as ideological. LSPIRG is a capacity-building organization that offers a great number of events and services to the Laurier student body and better enables them to make positive change on campus.

Each September LSPIRG provides a full seven days of O-Week activities, as well as Anti-Oppression training to all first years living in residence.
This training provides students with an understanding of power and privilege, as well as skills to better co-exist within a diverse community of students.

Throughout the fall and winter terms, LSPIRG offers free weekly workshops, events, training, resume and skill-building opportunities, volunteer opportunities, internships, research opportunities, free resources (including use of our library, laptops, video camera, digital cameras, recording devices) and funds and supports many diverse groups on campus. We’re always looking for new people to get involved, regardless of their political views.
Since its inception in 2006, LSPIRG has only denied a working group’s application once and it was because the group was comprised of non-students working out of Montreal, not because of their politics. To this point, LSPIRG welcomes all groups looking to make positive social change on campus to apply. It’s important to note that “social change” does not mean pushing a “left-wing” cause, as the article suggests.

There are plenty of issues at Laurier that need to be addressed, which span a spectrum of political, social and ideological beliefs.

Some of LSPIRG’s group’s last year included the Global Citizenship Conference, bringing amazing new talks to Laurier students each year, with previous noted speakers such as famed diplomat Stephen Lewis and Roméo Dallaire, UN Force Commander during the Rwandan genocide. Another group, Journalists for Human Rights, is an LSPIRG working group that mobilizes media sources to spread human rights awareness.

Laurier Secrets was a group devoted to sharing anonymous confessions and messages between Laurier students, to let people talk about difficult student issues and create solidarity among students. It’s difficult to see how these groups make LSPIRG an ideological organization, especially considering LSPIRG did not seek these groups out. Like any student group, they applied and they were welcomed.

To those students who are unfamiliar with LSPIRG, please visit our website at www.lspirg.ca, where you can take a look at existing working groups, apply for your own online, check out our events calendar, book resources, get involved with volunteer positions, bring your research ideas to life and much more.

We welcome you to attend our events throughout the coming year, or talk to us about your ideas to create positive social change at Laurier.

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