Dal Gazette Rants: NSAC Union Downgrades

written by John Last
October 9, 2012 10:27 am

Correction: In the video post above, the NSAC SU was wrongly referred to as the NSACU. Additionally, the Faculty of Agriculture was wrongly referred to as the Department of Agriculture. The Gazette regrets both these errors.

This week, the Nova Scotia Agricultural College (NSAC) becomes Dalhousie’s Faculty of Agriculture, and the Gazette asks if the world will truly end without student government.

21 comments on “Dal Gazette Rants: NSAC Union Downgrades

  1. Guest on

    Man…if this guy was more in the dark about student unions, their role in social justice, and their function in delivering services on campus (hello SUB local food options, drive home safe services, health and dental insurance, Dalhousie Student Advocacy Service, and so many more) then I’d swear he didn’t do an ounce of research for this “article” (is that what you call these things?)

    Firstly, no titles at the Agricultural campus’ student union have changed. Second, they keep their dedicated revenue stream from their students (like all faculty societies), which means they don’t compete with the numerous other student societies. Last, the attempted incendiary comment about the “$300 annual budget of the Scrabble Society” is entirely misleading — the Scrabble Society has no entitlement to any funds. If they wish to retain funding they have to demonstrate need and value to students, which is more than must be proven for the Gazette’s fat annual budget, wasted on hundreds of papers nobody reads and this example of low quality journalism.

    The reason the NSAC student union executives aren’t up-in-arms is because they have taken the time to understand the arrangement and know how it will benefit them and the students on the Agricultural campus.

    Last, I hope the ‘free pizza at a staff meeting’ dig was a self-directed shot at the Gazette. If you can’t get interested students to your meetings with anything other than free pizza, you’re probably doing something wrong.

  2. Dylan Matthias on

    I second Kat–I love it, too.

    Guest, you make some valid points, but I’m not ready to marry you, either. I did so enjoy reading comments like yours while I worked at the paper. And it was a real shame not to see you at the AGM last year when all the financial information was available to students.

    Students’ unions do some things, yes–like fund the Gazette and the Loaded Ladle and other excellent initiatives. But I think John’s point is more nuanced: the students’ unions provide a level of bureaucracy that really isn’t about education or knowledge.

    Whether Dal’s merger with NSAC is about education or knowledge is an open question. I suspect a lot of titles changed hands, and I think John said some things that needed to be said. Well done. Pity we haven’t seen you in front of the camera yet, Guest.

    (Could the rant maybe run about half as long though, for more punch?)


  3. Sarah763 on

    Before you publish such false information please ensure your facts are accurate, and while your at it do some research. NSAC became the Faculty of Agriculture on September 1, 2012. Clearly you do not understand the concepts of Government run Students Union, but I encourage you to learn. Nor are you familiar with our campus, students, faculty or staff. I’ll tell you one thing, I’d much prefer the Students Government opposed to this Students Association we are now apart of.

  4. Robyn M. on

    Thank you, Guest, for making some very important points. As a student who has worked hard for the past three years on the NSAC Students’ Union executive, now Dalhousie Agricultural Students’ Association, this video is extremely upsetting. Not only do we, as executives, carry a full coarse load and receive pay that adds up to be about $3 per hour, we value what our Students’ Association means. And YES, everyone is a member, and we do tell people that! The “myths” presented in this video are outrageous- we will not be competing for funds with other societies. We will continue to act separately. Secondly- the student body on our campus in Truro (which is not flat- the school is actually located in Bible HILL) is a close-knit community in excellent communication with it’s Students’ Assocation. Becoming part of DAL more officially (as this misinformed person in the video describes as a major corporation) will never break our spirit. EVER. As can be seen by the student outpour of support and outrage from the comments published in the Oct 5th issue of the Dal Gazette (which, by the way, we had to fight for our 3 weeks to receive. Explains the delayed response, doesn’t it?). I would strongly suggest this video be looked at again, research put in, and a notch-down of the arrogance and gross behaviour displayed in this video. Pretty pathetic, seeing as students at the Truro Campus have finally started to settle down, have remained positive and upbeat about the merger (when many times we were kept in the dark), etc.

  5. Jerry Bos on

    The “reason” most VP’s are the first people to lay down is due to their own inflated self interest which is why they defend what they do so hard, they feel they need to make people “understand” that they are an integral part of student life, that “N-Sack’s” SU hasn’t done this is actually a compliment to their altruism and dedication to actually making the “N-Sack” a better place. That the general student populace has risen up to defend the nsac SU is proof in itself that they are an effective organization and that losing our own SU would be a detriment to not only the DAC management team but a detriment to the “NSAC” students and what sets us apart from Dal in general.
    While I am a fan of the Dal merger at NSAC I am not a fan of attempting to relocate or disban the NSAC SU, mainly due to the fact that I feel Dal’s student government would not be equipped to deal with the issues surrounding this campus. Yes the agri campus is a mere 50 minute drive but as far as i’m concerned the mindset behind DAL and the AC are worlds apart.
    One of the main reasons an SU exists is to nurture the social entity formed by the connected student body, while Dal’s SU may do a wicked job in halifax, the blunt truth of the matter is their student body is formed from a different student background. Many of the more vocal and active members of the AC are involved directly in the agricultural sector and many of their interests are directly related to that. Therefore the NSAC’s current SU is more appropriatly equipped to deal with the issues surrounding our unique campus.

    Hopefully this “rant” will help educate some of the “regular” dalhousie students understand why there is a need for the AC SU to remain an active part of the AC society, as well as renew interest and pride in some AC students and make them realize just how well the NSAC SU has been representing them.

    Jerry Bos
    P.S. -Yes I am a farmer.

  6. Shawn on

    While he murdered the pronunciation, he isn’t actually attacking NSAC or NSAC SU. He is critiquing the work of students’ unions in general.
    I’m not accustomed to failure, but I fail to see why people are so upset.

  7. Kate on

    This video, in conjunction with the Dal students’ comments about Truro in the gazette, is really outrageous. Most of the AC students aren’t just up in arms about the loss of our student union, we’re upset at the total disrespect of our campus. We’ve all been offered education in the merger and what it would mean for us and Dal, but what about the Dalhousie students? What do they know about our campus and how we differ from them? Because, as Jerry pointed out, the student backgrounds are exceedingly different and this video John has posted doesn’t show any side of that. His speech is arrogant and rude and not all the unbiased attitude that should be shown by any journalist. Even how he approaches the topic is completely inappropriate. “News has been kinda slow this week and people are going as far as Truro to find something to get up in arms about.” This sounds like a complete belittlement of issues our campus is having. We’ve merged with Dal and our news and issues have just as much of a right to be heard as any from the Halifax campus. It’s this type of disrespect that has so many of us upset.

    Before any more postings or articles are made about the AC, Truro or its students, maybe someone should come visit us and do some actual research into it. We love our school and our community (and not just for its pizza either) and will gladly tell you about all of the great benefits coming from a small campus and about our hands-on work with livestock and other parts of agriculture. Let the Aggies be the ones to speak for the AC.

    PS Your lack of research into the topic is made perfectly clear by your butchering of our name.

  8. Katrina Pyne on

    In light of a recent post on the Gazette website and the comments that followed, the Gazette would like to make the following statements.
    The article, “NSAC Union Downgrades,” was representative of the views of our contributor and not the NSAC SU or NSAC students. As a student paper, our mandate is to offer a platform for students to present differing opinions on any issue that arises. While the Gazette regrets any factual errors made, writers are encouraged to voice their opinions on issues. To be clear, the Gazette does not necessarily agree with these opinions. The Gazette also welcomes comments and responses to any of our posts in print or online.
    Dal Gazette Rants is a new addition to our website. While each student’s opinion is their own, the Gazette regrets the following factual errors. In what can only be described as a blatant oversight on our part, the NSAC SU was wrongly referred to as the NSACU. Additionally, the Faculty of Agriculture was wrongly referred to as the Department of Agriculture. The Gazette regrets both these errors (and, the pronunciation of ‘N-sac’). A correction has been posted below the video post to reflect this.
    In the video rant, it was stated that the “NSAC … may lose their student union to the gaping maw of Dalhousie societies.” This comment suggests that the union occurred after Sept. 1, which is incorrect. It was not the intention of our contributor to imply this, merely a miscommunication in the wording of the sentence.
    Finally, the Gazette would like to respond to the comments concerning our Streeter. The Streeter is checked every week for responses that are racist, sexist, homophobic or otherwise derogatory. However, it has always been the policy of the Gazette that students have a free speech platform in the Streeter. While, the Gazette agrees that these comments shed a negative light on Truro, students’ opinions are their own and the Gazette respects that.
    Katrina Pyne, Editor-in-Chief of the Dalhousie Gazette

    • Liz Moses on

      The fact that all you ‘picked’ out as an error is how you incorrectly addressed the student union is – a problem in itself. Why would this institution, as a for the people type paper, want to criticize and ridicule the STUDENTS and FACULTIES of the AC?

      So everyone has a right to their opinion? Hmm sounds like bullying to me…

      • Dylan Matthias on

        Only found this now. It scares me.

        Fear of bullying negates someone’s right to an opinion, and the free expression of it? Take me to a country that is not yours. I value my rights.

  9. Marten Dykstra on

    Katrina Pyne (Editor-in-Chief of the Dalhousie Gazette) you may want to delete your initial comment from 2 weeks ago regarding this video. In case you forgot what it said, I’ll gladly remind you. “Rant John rant! I love it.”…….

  10. Kendall_dean_14 on

    I’d just like to say something as an outsider of both campuses. I’ve spent time in and around dal and it’s residences for a year or so and Ive spent 3 years of my life living by the campus. There’s no comparison. The students at nsac welcome everyone, they don’t judge the book by its cover( like you people obviously have ). Its very pathetic that you think your bigger or better because your degrees cost more. If you give these people the time of day, I can promise you from experience they are some of the best people you will ever meet. It’s not high school.. Your adults, act like one.

    Dean Kendall

  11. SarahJ on

    Katrina Pyne, I don’t think anyone is suggesting that writers should not have an opinion on any given issue but the purpose of journalism is to present the facts of a story, not give us their feelings about it. I don’t think students of NSAC (now the Faculty of Agriculture) would be so offended if the author of this video had simply given the facts. It came off as unprofessional and condescending. If the author has a less than positive view of an issue, or even if he favors it, a newspaper just isn’t the platform in which to share it. We live in a vast social media culture, there are many other avenues for opinions to be expressed.

    • Dylan Matthias on

      Have you read an opinions page lately? Start in The Chronicle Herald, where Charles Cirtwill opines for AIMS alongside left-wing figures. There’s a fascinating op-ed today about “serious people” by a professor at SMU. Read it–you might learn something you didn’t know before. I’m grateful to the Herald for that, even though I disagree with most of what Cirtwill writes.

      Newspapers exist to be public vehicles of communication. News stories present fact. Opinions are also welcome. You should also read some of Joseph Howe’s “Novascotian.” He didn’t mind letting feelings be known. Newspapers are PRECISELY the location for opinions to be expressed because here the Gazette publishes an amalgamation of interesting opinions from many sides of issues that its editors consider interesting, funny, or valuable.

      In social media, people who think the same way congregate. In newspapers, different ideas come together. Some of the commenters here need to grow up (and also possibly read a newspaper ethics code properly). This is a public discussion. Opinions have been shared. They have been clearly labelled as such. This is a satirical take on an issue, not an affront to your position or character. Society would be worse off if we didn’t listen to people who disagreed with us.

      But run away, SarahJ. Run away to the blogs you frequent where people reinforce everything you believe. Leave newspapers to those who want to read a variety of voices. Watch as media amalgamation ruins that. The Gazette is independent–anyone can contribute an opinion. That is the Gazette’s job. You have absolutely no journalistic grounds on which to criticize this or the Other Gazette piece. You simply disagree. Thank you for saying so. The honourable thing to do would be to attach your name to your opinion, but, SarahJ, you haven’t even managed to do that. Go away to the Internet where no one need find or hear from you ever again.

      I’m disappointed the Other Gazette piece was pulled. I’m disappointed that the Gazette hasn’t stood up for John Last, its contributor who dared critique the populist stance. We have too little satire in these pages. But apparently, Dalhousie students aren’t ready for it. Even if something is a little rough and even if I disagree (which I do with some parts of the video), it’s valuable to listen.

      Or we could run away and pretend to learn from a textbook.

  12. Annoyed on

    Mr. Last is apparently a Rick Mercer wannabe and contributes a video post thinking he may be perceived as witty and bright. The fact is he comes off as a very arrogant little man. He has obviously done NO research, and probably has never set foot on NSAC campus. As an NSAC Alumni I know how the SU contributed to campus life and helped made my university experience a really good one. It is to bad he has so little faith in his own SU. He is only trying to get a rise from people. People like him contributing garbage, makes your paper garbage.


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