The Excalibur reports that the York Federation of Students President; Corrie Sakaluk, University of Toronto Students’ Union VP External (and CFS blogger); Emily Shelton, and other Toronto Student Politicians blatantly lied by posing as student journalists in order to crash a news conference being held by Minister of Colleges and Universities; Chris Bentley.
This was a very poor decision on their part.
It appears from the news reports that Jen Hassum (UTSU President) did not directly engage in this behaviour. That is good, I have been impressed by the intergrity of Ms. Hassum this year. She has worked hard. I would have been very disappointed to learn of her doing something like this.
Erin Millar, Canadian University Press President states the following on this incident:
“We’re disappointed by the actions of these people who misrepresented themselves because it hurts the credibility of student papers, and it also hurts the image of students in general”
She is correct. It does hurt the student press and its creditability. I know that I have to work very hard to gain access to politicians. I will now have to worry about their handlers being concerned that I am lying. The handlers are not going to take me at face value when I show up at an event claiming to be from The Silhouette. They are going to have in the back of their minds that I am lying and looking to make a disturbance.
This damages the student press more than it does these student unions. We, the press, have creditability with the government, that do not have as much.I know that it is hard for them to gain access to Ministers, it is also hard for journalists. Doing this only makes it harder for all of us.
These student politicians knew what they were doing was wrong. They use the excuse of the ends justifying the means. It does not. Also, if they lied in this case, where or what have they lied about before?
The Charlatan has their own report on this story.
A former student at York blogs about this here: http://michaelsuddard.blogspot.com/2007/02/caught-…