All Posts Tagged With: "McGill Daily"
What students are talking about today (February 11th)
1. After Drake won the Grammy Award for Best Rap Album on Sunday night he released a video for his new single, Started From the Bottom. Much of the video was filmed at a Shoppers Drug Mart in Binbrook, Ont, according to the Hamilton Spectator, and it also features his mom standing outside his childhood home in Toronto, reports Canada.com. Why do we care? My guess is because Canadians love to see Canadian things in videos they think Americans will watch. For more Grammy coverage see Macleans.ca.
2. City of Toronto inspectors have found what they say is an illegal rooming house near U of T Scarborough and Centennial College. Officials told the Toronto Star it was probably full of foreign students. Eleven people were living in rooms in the majorly renovated house. Real estate agent Yixuan (Jessica) Wang has been accused of arranging the leases. The city says there are 120 active files stemming from complaints over suspected illegal properties in Scarborough where there is just one 765-bed student residence (at UTSC) for nearly 15,000 post-secondary students.
What students are talking about today (January 28th)
1. McGill University’s new president has already cost at least $178,690 and he or she hasn’t even been named. Headhunting firm Odgers Berndtson billed that much for four months of work in 2012, reports McGill Daily. Of that amount, $71,000 was for advertisements. The information came from an Access to Information request, the type of request McGill has recently tried to limit.
2. Carleton University’s Love of Liberty Society, a group that supports “free markets and free speech,” has launched a campaign encouraging students to opt out of a $6.84 levy that goes to the Ontario Public Interest Research Group (OPIRG) chapter on campus. Love of Liberty says students shouldn’t be funding such a politically-charged group. Students can opt out, but they only have a week to do so each year and Love of Liberty claims OPIRG makes it difficult. Yafa Jarrar, programming coordinator for OPIRG, told The Charlatan that the group is “non-partisan,” and that it does support students who wish to opt out. OPIRG has funded recent events like “On Turtle Island: Dialogue Between Black and First Nations Womyn” and Students Against Israeli Apartheid.
Protesters want radio station and QPIRG fees reinstated
It’s day three of an occupation of the sixth floor of the James Administration building at McGill.
It appears protesters didn’t plan for it to last so long. On Wednesday night, occupiers sent down a bucket on a rope to try and haul up food from supporters below. Security guards cut the rope.
Doug Sweet, Director of Media Relations for McGill, told the Montreal Gazette that, “hauling stuff up by rope to the sixth floor is potentially dangerous,” and could potentially “break windows.”
Students took over the building on Tuesday when about 60 showed up to protest the administration’s decision to not honour a referendum over the continuation of funding for two campus groups. Most protesters were in the lobby of the building and have since left.
The Quebec Public Interest Research Group, a social justice organization, and CKUT, a campus radio station, were funded mainly by student fees. Two-thirds of voters appeared to support continued student funding of QPIRG in the Fall 2011 vote, but the university’s deputy provost for student life and learning, Morton Mendelson, invalidated the question due to confusing wording.
In addition to reinstating student funding to both groups, protesters want Mendelson to be fired or to resign. They’re calling their protest Mendelson’s “surprise resignation party.” Twitter is abuzz about the “party” with the hashtag #6party. A blog claims to offer “communiques from the sixth floor.”
McGill Daily published a letter today from QPIRG that thanks protesters and demands that their funding continue. However, they will not run a question about funding in the upcoming referendum.
CKUT, on the other hand, will not only seek affirmation of funding, but will ask students to make their fee mandatory. If passed, students who don’t support the station will not be able to opt-out.
Public Interest Research Groups have been controversial lately. Conservative students don’t want their student fees funding causes of the left, such as Israel Apartheid Week and anti-capitalism initiatives. Queen’s University students recently voted to stop collecting fees for a PIRG.
Cafeteria dining, independent living, and competition linked to the development of disordered eating
When Erica* carries her tray into the eating area of Bishop Mountain Hall residence cafeteria (BMH), she feels scrutinized by seated students. She hates the food, which she describes as baked, fried, oily, and salty, but most of all she hates that other students watch her eat it.
“When I go to the cafeteria, I feel like I’m on display. [Other students] stare at you. When you get up to leave, they take inventory of how much you’ve consumed. I try to be better than them. To deny more than they can,” she said.
Five years ago, Erica was diagnosed with perfection anxiety disorder and anorexia nervosa. Her condition improved greatly with the support of her parents and psychologist before she came to McGill, and now she blames its recent flare-up on her living conditions as a first-year student in an Upper Residence.
“I was okay at home. It was a more controllable environment, and there wasn’t the X-factor of 14 18-year-olds living with me on a floor,” she said.
According to Molson Hall floor fellow Anna Lambert – a registered nurse and upper-year student whose job is to help foster a sense of community in residence – there is at least one student suffering from an eating disorder at every McGill residence. In her two years as a floor fellow, Lambert has seen and heard of many students with eating disorders whose symptoms have worsened upon enrolling in residence.
“Usually they had a more supportive environment at home; parents and friends know their history and recognize their eating disorder,” said Lambert. “First year university is a fresh start, but [eating disorders] become more severe.”
Lambert also noticed a large percentage of students in residence halls with disordered eating habits, which encompasses all potentially dangerous eating patterns. She described students picking at meager portions of the cafeteria food and working out or fasting the day after binge drinking as common patterns.
On her wall in her single-room dorm, Erica charts the days she has gone without eating. Her fridge is stocked with take-away lunches and dinners from the BMH cafeteria, a compulsion she described as food hoarding.
Susan Campbell, the manager of Food Services at BMH, explained that their menu caters to the majority of students by offering a variety of balanced food choices.
But both Campbell and BMH’s staff dietician Monique Lauzon said that faced with so many choices, many students gain weight while living in residence.
“Students sometimes tend to overeat, students gain a little weight and that can maybe lead to compulsions,” Campbell said.
Working with a facilities that are 30 years old, Campbell was looking forward to a renovation next year that will expand the steam table so a wider variety of hot entrees can be served.
Lambert made a presentation to all the floor fellows in August about recognizing disordered eating patterns. She urged the group to be more observant by eating with students and making referrals to the appropriate health professionals when an unhealthy pattern is identified.
But Lambert said floor fellows and others have been without appropriate referral resources as the Eating Disorder unit at McGill Mental Health Service (MMHS) Clinic was non-operational for the past year and a half.
When Erica approached MMHS in early September with a referral from both her hometown general practitioner and psychologist they requested an additional note from her psychiatrist before scheduling an appointment. Erica will sit in her first psychiatry appointment next week, more than two months since she walked into the clinic.
“I went [to MMHS] because I can’t do four years of not eating. Studying becomes near impossible. You eat so little that sometimes that you can’t think,” Erica said.
According to Denise Rochon, who is in charge of the MMHS eating disorder unit, they are in the process of restarting operations, but faced a rocky rebirth this year with its staff dietician on maternity leave.
Lauzon felt external psychiatric help was crucial to helping students with eating disorders.
“We are alerted by the floor fellows or the dons that a certain student is loosing a lot of weight and our red flag goes up. My implication [with those cases] is very limited because very often these students don’t want to come see us, unless they want to seek help they are more or less in denial,” Lauzon said.
In her clinical work with first years at MMHS, Rochon noticed a high level of competitiveness over body perfection.
“It is possible [eating disorders] will develop associated with a competition over marks – perfectionists are always looking at someone whose body is closer to perfection than one’s own – and the residence environment tends to encourage that,” she said, adding that McGill attracts perfectionists given its high acceptance standards for prospective students.
“I can study my ass off and still fail an exam, but I can control my eating. It becomes a game,” Erica said.
Erica has made a deal with other first years to skip dessert and work out three times a week to slim down before returning home for Christmas vacation.
Dr. Howard Steiger, director of the eating disorder program at the Montreal Douglas Mental Health University Institute, pointed to studies that establish a link between the exacerbation or development of eating disorders and dormitory living.
“Eating disorders are activated at times of stress or when a person’s sense of control is challenged,” Steiger said. “Some students moving into dorms are not quite prepared for the transition to more independent living and becoming responsible for structuring one’s own eating for the first time.”
Steiger also cited high stress levels associated with academic performance, the discomfort of weight gain caused by binge drinking and heavy cafeteria food, competition among students for body perfection, and pressure to integrate into a new social group as potential factors that could cause disordered eating among first years in residence.
*Name has been changed
- Originally published in The McGill Daily