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Max Rossiter

No privacy for the police

According to The Michigan Messenger on Monday, the Michigan State Supreme Court ruled in favour of Dr. Dre, famous west coast rapper, against the Michigan State Police in a potential landmark case. During a concert, the police threatened to shut down the show if Dr. Dre showed a sexually explicit video. This interaction was filmed by members of Dr. Dre’s staff, and was included on a video documenting the tour. The police force later claimed that this was illegal, and they had the right to privacy whilst on the job. The Michigan court disagreed with this assumption, and ruled 6-1 that the police had no right to privacy while carrying out their duties.It is still not clear about the full legal ramifications of this case. This is merely a state supreme court, and not the Supreme Court of the United States, so at best it only immediately affects Michigan. It is also unclear how specific the ruling will be, and if it covers all police interactions within the state. Regardless, it sets a strong legal precedent when dealing with the police in such a situation.It also opens a more fundamental question about how much one’s job defines oneself. In this case, I feel the question is easily answered. The police are federal or state employees, paid for by the taxpayers. They represent the power of the law and of the state in general, and they have powers and rights granted to them over those possessed by normal citizens due to this responsibility. They are here, apparently, to serve the citizens. In this regard, they should have no right to privacy while working as a cop, because the uniform instils power above and beyond that of anyone else. Abusing this power is not just breaking a simple contract but is effectively subverting state… Read More

McGill Grading Methods: an International Perspective

Today I’m going to take some time out from writing about student politics, and instead focus on something which connects us all, regardless of our political leanings; school. Despite the arguments that erupt on campus regarding a variety of things, we all belong to the McGill community, and on a greater scale, to the international community of students. When I arrived in Canada I had no idea how the education system worked here. I applied to McGill for a variety of reasons, and had not done much research on the specifics of how the particularities of school would work. I knew I was pursuing history as a major, and that was really all I cared about.As I quickly discovered, the system here is very different from the education system back in England. There, depending on which university you attend, the first year usually doesn’t count towards your degree. It is not until your second year that things start affecting your degree, and even then, it is usually in the form of a final exam at the end of the year. Most of your degree is decided at the end of one’s final year, in a series of exams. It is also only a three year course for a BA, and GPA doesn’t exist.  As I quickly found out, this was quite the opposite at McGill. Almost everything I do at this university counts. The idea of writing an essay merely for practice or to show that you have done the required amount of reading doesn’t exist. Instead you are thrown immediately into a world of fluctuating GPA’s and constant pressure.I’m not decrying this system. With friends on both sides of the pond, I know very few people who work as consistently hard as we do here. The system means that… Read More

The Jobbook-Gate Debacle, or, the Stupid Road to Hell

Firstly, I want to register my disapproval for the use of “gate” as a suffix for any political scandal. It has been a long time since Watergate, and I am bored of its use. Thus, I shall call this the Jobbook-for honours scandal, referencing instead the cash for honours scandal which occurred in the U.K. a few years ago.This is a perfectly stupid title for this specific case (mainly because “-for honours” doesn’t make as good a suffix as “-gate”). It doesn’t make sense, but then neither does “Jobbook-Gate.” Both are equally stupid.And stupidity is going to be the subject of this piece. Zach Newburgh, in my opinion, was not acting un-ethically. He was not acting maliciously. He could have easily not revealed Jobbook to the council. He could have taken the money and run with it. Being paid to get sent around parts of the U.S. for a project which is likely going to fail? Sweet. I would have taken that in a flash. Back to old Blighty to talk to a bunch of people at universities I didn’t get into. Great. I’m also going to preface this by saying I’m only commenting on what has been reported. This could all end up being false. But this is the line we, the students of McGill, are being fed by the SSMU executive, so I’ll go with that.But this is where the stupidity starts. And a lot of people involved in this situation were stupid, and continue to be stupid. The first culprit is not Zach himself, interestingly enough. It’s Mr. De Brabant, for putting Zach in such an unenviable position in the first place. As of now, I am the signatory of two formal NDA’s, and I have a tacit agreement with a third company to the same extent.… Read More

McGill’s Alcohol Policy Needs Reform

Ah, the fresh taste of beer, the sound of melodious chants echoing across campus, the pounding hangover and the lingering after-taste of too many shots. Must be Management Carnival then. As a freshmen from the UK, I felt it would be a good place to meet some people outside of Residence, and get to know some faces in my program and classes.  Over the last week I have done just that.Whilst none of them have been in my present classes, I have met some truly great people. McGill has a reputation of being friendly and welcoming, and Carnival has continued this great aspect of our campus. It has led to far more free beer then I deserve, given my lacklustre support for my Carnival team resulting from insane busyness.But despite its great atmosphere and amazing fundraising ability, Carnival represents a more serious aspect of life at McGill in terms of the drinking culture at our illustrious university.Before I start, I will preface this with a quick qualifier. In no way am I against the Drinking of culture of Carnival or any other “binge” drinking event. I love drinking. Ask the people I live with or the floor fellows at my residence. I engage in drinking on a regular basis, and love it. I grew up in the binge drinking capital of Europe. I also respect people’s choices to do how they please with their own bodies, whether that is to engage in lots of drinking, or none at all. As much as I love downing a bottle of gin and going out on the lash (as we say in old Blighty) I also like a relaxing glass of wine with dinner, or the occasional cheeky pint after a hard day in the library.This is where the dichotomy of McGill’s drinking… Read More

Against the QPIRG Opt-Out Campaign

For today’s article I have decided to wade in on the debate surrounding the QPIRG opt-out campaign that has been going on around campus. I am not, however, going to look at differences in ideology or opinion regarding the campaign, nor the beliefs of those on either side; this battle is being fought by those who have a far greater understanding of the issues being debated, and are more versed in the history of both the ‘PIRG and the opt out movement.What I will discuss is the methodology of the anti-QPIRG movement, especially some of their more recent publications. I know very little about QPIRG, and I also know very little about the motivations of the people who want me to opt out of it. I know that QPIRG helps run RadFrosh, which was one of the more enjoyable experiences of my first week in Canada (although a word of warning for those considering it, be prepared to find out you are hitting on someone who might have very different sexual preferences than you would like them to have…). Beyond my love of men in drag, I have no ideological commitment to QPIRG, but I also have no ideological problem with them either. And neither does the anti-QPIRG movement, if one is to believe their recent publications. As I strolled into my philosophy of religion class, I noticed that on all the desks lay small pieces of card. On further investigation, they instructed the reader on how to opt out of the QPIRG fees, under the lovely title of “Think of what you could buy with $7.50!” On the back was displayed a handy reference tool of things that cost $7.50, as a helpful reminder. Prominently displayed across the front was www.QPIRGOPTOUT.com.Now, I’m making an assumption that this piece was produced… Read More
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