On King’s Financial Future
Dear students and fellow kingspeople,
We are in threatening fiscal straits. Currently, a group called the Financial Sustainability Committee (FSC), put together by President Leavitt, is tasked with navigating King’s into calmer waters. Soon, they will be hosting town hall meetings and consultations, with the goal of making recommendations to the Board of Governors by the new year. KSU President Hoogers will sit on the committee as a student representative, and you can be sure that he will put your interests first.
But in solving our problems, we shouldn’t forget how they came to be in the first place. A lack of a long-term vision for King’s over the past decade has cost us dearly; we have deferred until we can defer no longer. In order to act responsibly now, we must consider how our short-term actions fit into a broader long-term vision. President Leavitt will no doubt speak of shared sacrifice in the coming months, and justifiably so; we can find a way forward only if we accommodate our interests with those of faculty and staff, and find common ground. One such instance should be lobbying the provincial government, which in the face of cuts to education posted a surplus last year. I trust that President Leavitt will not take umbrage with this course of action, if she truly places the future of King’s first and foremost.
However, such an action is only one of the many ways King’s can go in order to achieve lasting financial security—and that shall only be accomplished when we as a school have a coherent vision of our broader future. We BoG Reps know that you have your own such vision of how King’s can continue on, and we want to hear it. From the shortest suggestion to the richest proposal, send your ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will present the best to the committee, and map out the destination that the students of King’s desire.
Yours forever faithfully,
On The Chaplaincy’s Future
I am a King’s alumna writing to express my sincere concern for and support of the University of King’s College chapel.
The University of King’s College chapel follows a model that makes it accessible and beloved to the community it serves. Easter midnight mass was always a particular highlight for me, as well as my peers. I remember being filled with a sense of solidarity and community each time I, a Catholic, would sit nestled between Anglicans and Anabaptists, Buddhists, Jews and Pagans to experience this annual celebration of renewal and regeneration. It was the High Anglican nature of these services that had brought all of us into the chapel to celebrate. Had the Easter midnight mass been one bit less ritualistic, one bit less sensual or culturally specific, I am confident many of us would have chosen not to attend. We would have gone to our own celebrations with our own faith communities. We would have missed out.
As a queer woman, I’m also unimpressed with what I perceive to be a lack of understanding of the importance of the Chapel’s spiritual services to queer people and allies at King’s. Does she think that will I only feel comfortable in church if God uses feminine pronouns? Because some of us who go to King’s are gay/bi/genderqueer/women/whatever do we need our hands held and our books made more alternative? This attempt to be ‘hip to the new generation’ is actually gross pander- ing, and makes me feel disrespected. What I needed—and received—during my studies at King’s was not a trendy new method of service but a place for spiritual reflection, one that saw me as more than just ‘a gay’ or ‘a woman’ or ‘a youth’ who needs the Bishop’s condescension. I found some of my greatest friends and community connections, directly or indirectly, through the Chapel.
It was a space for philosophical, and theological thought, but it was also a place for hot apple cider, storytelling, songs and community. Rather than trying to “unantiquate” the traditions we love, I would suggest that King’s chapel community be celebrated for its diversity and pride in the services we cherish the way they are.
On the Canteen’s future
Over the last month, a group of eight students and the KSU’s Internal Coordinator John Adams have been working full steam ahead, towards creating a business plan for the potential student run canteen in the Wardroom. We are writing this letter to reassure you that our proposal will have the interest you expressed during the Sodexo boycott at its heart.
By the time this letter is released we will have already held one town hall to get your input on how this new space will serve you, we encourage you to continue to engage with the development of the canteen to ensure it represents the needs of all students and community members. The needs we are putting at the forefront of our plan include: that it be accountable to and democratically controllable by its members, that it have an equitable business practice, that it ensure autonomy from corporate profit-making structures, that is possess a fair and healthy work environment, that it engages students on environmental and social justice issues through food, that it serve as a model for a healthy and honest working relationship with the College Administration, and that it abides by ethical practices. Of course those six points will govern the sales of our canteen; but we will never forget that above and beyond we must serve affordable, nourishing and tasty food.
In closing we would just like to thank all those in the community who have stood in solidarity with the Students’ Union during this exciting project. We look forward to the possibility of serving you your morning muffins and coffee in the New Year.
Anna Dubinski, David Etherington, Omri Haven,
Gabe Hoogers, Lyon Lay, Juliana Lufkin, Kai Miller and Noah White
On Fact Checking
I am writing to clarify several misleading and erroneous claims in the article “Presidential Priorities” by Rachel Ward (Sept. 30, 2011).
Among the many errors, the most egregious is that the President of King’s “sits as the chair of the Carnegie Trust.” Had the reporter done some basic research, she would have discovered there is no “chair” of the Carnegie Trust. King’s indeed has Carnegie professors who teach at Dalhousie. Income from the Trust subsidizes their salaries. President Leavitt does not teach at Dalhousie and is not a Carnegie professor. She is a King’s associate professor of humanities in keeping with her background and qualifications.
As for the pension claim that “school contributions will jump to 30 per cent from the current 22 per cent”, this is unsubstantiated speculation and would not happen until a fulsome discussion and ratification of staff and faculty. Again, some basic research and informed questions would have revealed this.
Such sloppy reporting does not reflect well on the credibility of the publication and its hard-working volunteer reporters. I would urge editors of The Watch to embrace the foundations of journalism – thoroughness, fairness, accuracy and transparency (D. Gillmor, 2005) and check those facts.
Dear Editors of the King’s Watch,
Last spring I was interviewed by Whitney Cant for a brief on fire safety issues in the Pit, which appeared in the April issue of your newspaper. I feel as if I must publish a clarification to the piece which could otherwise have serious financial and legal implications for the King’s Theatrical Society.
On asking me, the Treasurer of the King’s Theatrical Society, what role we would play financially in renovations to ensure the Pit meets fire code, Cant records me answering as follows-
“Etherington is quick to point out that the KTS is fully committed to doing their part to assist the university in addressing the fire regulations. He says that it is a joint responsibility between King’s and the KTS to make the Pit a safe performance and spectator space.”
I’m sorry to say that this is not what I said. On the first I would like to say that it is neither the opinion of me nor of the King’s Theatrical Society that the responsibility of bringing the Pit up to fire code is a joint one. That responsibility rests solely with our senior administration and the board of governors. The King’s Theatrical Society will do its best to assist, but out of a duty to the space we love and the thespians that will follow us, not because we are liable to do so.
This error by Ms. Cant is serious, and the claim she has me falsely making come with serious potential financial and legal liabilities. I would encourage her in the future to stick to what her interviewees said when writing on such a serious topic.
On HPX Photographers
Just writing to air my grievances about the lack of professionalism displayed by the photographers at this year’s Halifax Pop Explosion. Halifax has seen as lot of independent news sources popping up in the past few years and, although I think that these initiatives are good, they seem to have created a niche for mediocre event coverage. At every show I have been to this year, the photographers and cameramen have been front row centre, cameras high in the air, blocking off the vision and standing room of the actual paying concert-goers. At one show a cameraman was literally standing in the middle of a sweaty dance party stock-still, filming the show. Not only are these people taking the best spots to get their coverage, often they are staying there for three-quarters of the set. It is distracting, rude and irritating. These photographers should be trying their best to be invisible. During one slow and soulful performance at the St. Matthew’s church, a ghostly figure popped up from behind the stage in order to get a shot of the crowd; I literally jumped out of my seat! In another at Reflections Cabaret, photographers made up two-thirds of the front row. So my message to all the journalists or future journalist at our school: your press pass is not simply a way to watch a free show in the front row, it signifies a job which you should be doing professionally. Journalists should not be affecting the success of an event they are covering.
On King’s Financial Future