Today in the McGill Tribune (one of two student newspapers at McGill, this one being the one published by the Student Union), the Executive are slammed for their actions in regards to the student handbook.
Every year, the Students’ Society produces a handbook, largely for freshmen students. The handbook contains all sorts of useful information about university life, including, among other things, tips on surviving frosh, good places to eat and details on the SSMU health plan.
Normally, the guide is distributed in frosh kits, but this year production was delayed and the handbooks were not ready for distribution until today. SSMU decided that the original version of the handbook-co-produced by Sara Kipp-Ferguson and former Tribune Design Editor Genevieve Friesen-was unacceptable. Friesen and Kipp-Ferguson were let go and SSMU executives hired new editors to make the changes they felt were necessary.
Lastly, there is the issue of the delay that these changes caused in the handbook’s publication. Thanks to SSMU’s decision to censor the content that it deemed to be inappropriate, the handbook is several weeks late. This has cost SSMU financially-it had to pay the new editors-and it has significantly reduced the handbook’s usefulness. The portions of the guide containing tips on surviving frosh have been rendered useless, and while there are plenty of other valuable things in the handbook, distribution will be much more difficult now that frosh is over. A stack of handbooks sitting in the SSMU office doesn’t do any good to anyone.
Regardless of whether some of the content was inappropriate or not, SSMU’s decisions with respect to the handbook have shown poor judgment and an appalling lack of foresight. They represent a disappointing start for the 2006-07 executive.