Published by Communications and Public Affairs (519) 824-4120, Ext. 56982 or 53338
November 13, 2003
UPDATE Nov. 14: U of G responds to National Post
The National Post ran a correction in today's edition, stating that incorrect information appeared in its Nov. 11 issue and that the newspaper regrets the error.
In addition, the Central Student Association received a personal apology from the writer of the column that ran in the National Post and contained misleading information.
The editorial column incorrectly stated that the CSA voted to ban recognition of Remembrance Day on campus in 2002. The CSA did not take such action. Last year, one CSA executive voiced his personal opinion about why he was abstaining from Remembrance Day services, and that choice provoked criticism and debate across campus, says David Hornsby, the CSA's academic commissioner.
In his apology, the columnist says he relied on second-hand information and misrepresented the facts.
The University responded to the column by sending a letter to the National Post from president Alastair Summerlee. Hornsby also submitted a letter to the editor, which was published Nov. 12. Additional letters supporting the University have since appeared in the newspaper.
Copies of the letters that were sent to the National Post by Summerlee and Hornsby are included below.
I am deeply disappointed that the National Post would print a column that contains incorrect information and that insults and demeans young people across our country, including students at the University of Guelph.
The University of Guelph has a long and proud tradition of honouring the men and women who fought selflessly in defence of Canada’s freedom. In fact, remembrance on our campus is not limited to a single day a year. Thanks to the efforts of our students, we have a permanent monument to our nation’s patriots in War Memorial Hall, a majestic building erected in 1924 as a student-led initiative to commemorate members of the student body who served their country. The names of those who sacrificed their lives are carved into the wall outside this historical building, and it is here that we hold our annual Remembrance Day service. Every year, the service attracts hundreds of people, including multitudes of students who actively participate in the ceremony.
It is absurd that the students of the University of Guelph were singled out by columnist Claire Hoy as examples of student apathy and disrespect for Remembrance Day. Nothing is further from the truth.
Our Central Student Association did not vote to ban Remembrance Day activities on campus, so there was never any need for students to “openly defy the ban” as he claims.
Our students should be commended for respecting and keeping alive the meaning of Remembrance Day, rather than being made the target of misleading accusations.
On behalf of the University of Guelph’s Central Student Association, I am writing to correct false information that was published in a column by Claire Hoy Nov. 11.
We are extremely disappointed that a writer of such national stature would so blatantly misrepresent the facts on an issue of utmost importance to students and all Canadians. The Central Student Association did not ban any recognition of Remembrance Day in 2002 or at any time in the past. Last year, one member of the student government voiced his personal opinion about why he was abstaining from Remembrance Day celebrations, and his action resulted in criticisms and debates across campus.
The University annually holds a Remembrance Day service on campus in War Memorial Hall, a building constructed in 1924 that commemorates students who served in the first and second World Wars. The annual event is heavily attended by students each year. I had the privilege of speaking at today’s service, addressing the standing-room-only crowd, and taking part in a commemorative wreath-laying ceremony.
It has always been the belief of the Central Student Association that all Canadians, regardless of their backgrounds or political beliefs, should recognize the nobility of people who are willing to make great sacrifices for their country and principles of liberty.