By: Nick Scott
Over the past few days there’s been quite a bit of drama surrounding VP of Communication Alex Heighington’s resignation, especially surrounding the whole issue of this anonymous “letter to the editor” and its being deleted by the Cadre. I realize that in part, my writing of this article feeds into the frenzied hype of the mob that is being built up around this topic, and for that I apologize in advance.
However, with all that’s being said and flung about, I feel like it’s time that I put in my meagre two cents’ worth. Of course, I should admit that I am but a lowly first-year student, unversed in many of the workings of the Student Union (I still don’t know why we have senators) and thus, perhaps my opinions will be meaningless and trivial to many.
Yet, I’d just like to take up this space to remind everyone that Heighington is not Hillary Clinton, and we as students do not have the right to rummage through her information and private life as we so choose. Her decision to resign is personal, and she has shown great maturity in her handling of the matter, giving a brief explanation of her reasons without pointing the finger, and her promise to handle the transition of her tasks to the new Director of Communications.
The letter to the editor that followed her announcement was, in my opinion, unworthy of being published. It seemed more of a personal attack, both upon Heighington, her decision to resign, and upon the Student Union executive. Not for $164 a semester, nor for any amount of money do I think it would be appropriate, nor necessary for Heighington to publish “screenshots of texts” or other evidence of the lack of respect she felt she received as VP of Communications. As I have said before, her resignation was a personal decision, and so we should all respect her right to retain such information to herself if she so chooses, rather than blatantly accuse her of slander.
Thus, when the Cadre deleted the article after contacting the person affected (who I assume is either Heighington) I applauded the move. The Cadre may not be the New Yorker, but neither is it TMZ. As students, (and people in general) it is not our duty, nor our right to go through the details of someone else’s life. As the article was focused specifically on Heighington, I’m glad to know that the subject of such a piece has a say in whether or not she’d like it spread about or not.
The response to this decision seems to have been quite negative, and I was a bit crestfallen to see the Cadre apologize for its decision to delete the article. In response to both, I would only gently remind you that our student union is filled with people, students who take classes just as you and I and who go through the same everyday struggles (and then some). I neither want to see an article attacking one of my fellow students, nor do I think it appropriate to praise such defamation.
Of course, we all have the freedom of right to express our opinions and yes, we are even free to slander or defame. But the Cadre has no business to do so or to spread such vice, and so I applaud their decision to delete the article. In addition, even if we as people are free to go around crying out whatever we so choose, it doesn’t mean we should. Remember the Golden Rule, “Treat your fellow students as you wish to treated, unless they’re horrible people and/or your competition for scholarships/prizes/bursaries/jobs and so forth.”
With this in mind, perhaps we should all put down our pitchforks and torches and work out the stress everyone is feeling over this topic in some other way. Maybe the Student Union can organize a yoga class for everyone. Afterwards we can all share and drink some hot cocoa, and in retrospect we can all laugh at how silly and trivial this situation became.