Gazette issues apology for Frosh Edition

To our readers,

The Gazette would like to apologize for our Frosh Issue. The editorial board of The Gazette worked hard on the publication and our aim was to put out an entertaining issue for first-year students and Western as a whole. It’s clear that we have failed to do that and, for that, we apologize.

In publishing articles that appeared to promote excessive drinking, drug use and sexual advances on teaching assistants, The Gazette displayed a lack of judgment regarding issues we have reported on seriously in the past. We regret this mistake, and we look forward to reporting on these issues in a more serious manner in the future.

The controversy over the articles has now reached the level of national news. We take full responsibility for this, and we would like Western, the University Students’ Council, Western staff and students to know that we are sorry.

Considering the reaction, The Gazette will not distribute the Frosh Issue during orientation week. In addition, we will carry out a full retraction by removing the Frosh Issue from campus and selected articles from our website.

The Gazette will also review its editorial practices and with the advisory board. We hope that this step will ensure that we will be better able to serve students in the future.

Thank you,

The Gazette Editorial Board

  • KiteFlyer89

    what an insufferable whiner you are. it’s a joke article jesus christ

    crying??? oh my god

  • WesternGrad

    I’ll start off with this: I have three Western degrees. 3.5 if you include the two years I spent as a PhD student before voluntarily withdrawing for personal reasons. One of those ‘personal reasons’ was the fact that it’s still very hard for me to be on campus because when I was an undergraduate student [2003-2007], I was emotionally, verbally and sexually abused by a professor. A professor who was very popular and respected, admired and deeply trusted not only by myself but by dozens of other students as well. He attacked my personal and religious beliefs, harassed me sexually and verbally and pressured me into sexual acts against my will. In my years as a grad student, I was still triggered by the ‘No means No’ posters in the SOGS office because well, in my situation, no clearly didn’t mean no, and sadly it didn’t mean no for far too many other survivors [I refuse to use the word victim].

    Turns out this prof had dated a number of his students since his days of being a TA and had abused others besides myself. His justification? “They initiated it.” And yes, he blamed his female students if they dressed a certain way, or in my case, mocked them if they dressed very modestly and didn’t date.

    Abuse and harassment are NEVER okay and joking about such topics and writing satirical pieces which are far from humorous isn’t okay.

    The professor I am talking about, thank God, had his class cancelled and was essentially removed from Western after the 2013-2014 academic year. For the first time in years, I felt fully comfortable, even happy about being in London, or being on campus. And then I heard about this piece.

    Fine, you apologized [after the editor-in-chief staunchly and boastfully refused to do so]. But I hope and pray that any such articles never, ever appear in the Gazette. I hope that the editorial committee talks to SOGS and meets with grad students and formally apologizes to all of the incredibly hardworking, dedicated, and professional TAs it undermined and violated with this piece. And I hope you allow a graduate student to write an Op-Ed in response to the article.

    Writing this is very painful for me and I am sitting here at my keyboard crying. But I’m writing it because I want you to know the impact that your actions have had. I know I’m not the only one who was triggered after reading the article in question.

    I’ll end by saying that I look forward to the “more serious” articles on the topic of rape, sexual abuse and sexual harassment in the future, given the following statistics from Rape Victims Support Network:

    * One of every 17 Canadian women is raped at some point in her life

    * A woman is sexually assaulted by forced intercourse every 17 minutes in Canada

    * Girls and young women between the ages of 15-24 are the most likely victims

    Thank you.

    – A Western Alumna

  • Western Student

    It’s wonderful to see that the UWO president and vice-presidents acted so quickly to correct the offensive behaviour of the editor-in-chief.

    Alumna, I totally agree, it would be great to hear that the editor-in-chief personally apologize after declaring so loudly to all media outlets that he thought the article was funny and “just fine”. I’m not sure that we will see that, though. He seems like a pretty ignorant person, and it takes a long time for a person like that to change. However, it is pretty funny that he was forced to apologize the day after he declared he wasn’t going to apologize. I’m sure he is busy right now, filling up on crow and humble pie.

    Thank you to the community for speaking out on these important issues. After seeing the retraction and that there will be an investigation. It makes me proud to be a UWO student again.

  • It’s a sad, sad world

    Satire is difficult to pull off, and some times, harder to understand. The Gazette can be, and should be, accused of failing to execute a meaningful, satirical piece. Nothing more.

    A greater tragedy is the medias reaction to this “non-story.” Other than a foot note to the day’s events, the Gazette’s failing should not have been “big” news. Although Western and the Gazette are an import part of London, I think our media should be more focused on London’s high unemployment rate, and what can be done to improve the situation.

    Good luck to everyone.

  • Alumna

    I’m still waiting for an actual apology from the Editor-in-Chief who so staunchly stood behind the offending articles.
    The Gazette seems to pride itself on being ‘the only daily student newspaper’, but fails, again and again, to provide anything resembling objective journalism, or even anything worthy of being categorized as ‘news’.
    I saw a steep decline in the quality of writing in The Gazette from the late 90’s to today, and this latest ill-judgement is yet another indication that Western University and the USC should very seriously look at why this paper exists at all.
    If the Editor-in-Chief truly feels this kind of offensive garbage is satire and worthy of publication, he should be fired immediately, to be replaced by someone who will take the job seriously, and stop giving The Gazette, and Western University, such a bad reputation.

  • Still Irritated.

    Yes, thanks for the heartfelt apology after embarrassing the school at the national level. If you want to work for Buzzfeed, that’s your business – but this is the Gazette – the student newspaper of an institution that should be focused on for the work and research done by the faculty, staff and students. Try to keep that in mind before you publish another ‘fun’ piece about how to disrespect each other in academia. If there was some way to request that no part of my tuition fund anything Boekhoff works on, believe me, I’d exercise that option.

  • Jon

    You failed to put out an entertaining for first year students…and for THAT you apologize. How about apologizing for the real issues here. This is one of the weakest retractions I’ve ever read. Own up fully to your mistakes!

  • TimL

    You have nothing to apologize for! Frosh Week is supposed to be fun and irreverant. Tell your critics to lighten up.

  • Aara Suksi

    This apology means a lot. Thank you.

  • Yessi

    You should have done your research and got sexual before publishing that questionable piece.

    This is my stupid, subject-related joke.

  • relieved ta

    Very happy to see the post, and know I will not have to worry about copies of that article reaching impressionable students.

  • Former TA

    Now, be journalists. Stop treating your own newspaper like a joke.

  • The TA

    Thank you! This is a genuine apology that you can be proud of; it takes a lot to admit our mistakes. Whatever respect you lost from publishing that article is now regained.

  • A happy TA!

    Thank you so much to everyone for all of their hard work writing letters to the university and making this important change! I’m so happy to see that public opinion has triumphed over an editor-in-chief who had way too big of an ego. They have clearly made him apologize. This is a big win for students and TAs.

  • Samantha

    Thank you so much to everyone for all of their hard work writing letters to the university and making this important change! I’m so happy to see that public opinion has triumphed over an editor-in-chief who had way too big of an ego. They have clearly made him apologize. This is a big win for students and TAs.