Western's Gazette cleared over Frosh Issue controversy
Separate reviews have cleared Western University's Gazette newspaper of wrongdoing after a controversial Frosh Issue published in August.
At the time, a number of community leaders were upset over articles that used satire to highlight drug use, drinking games and intimate relations with educational assistants.
But while the there are no legal repercussions, some students still believe the student-run newspaper crossed an ethical line.
Student Bima Bushka Putan is a women's issues advocate who runs a campaign at Western to shed light on the issue of murdered aboriginal women and says she was frustrated by the results of the reviews.
She believes the articles promoted violence against women, "We are doing what we can to ensure that Western does not produce or promote rape culture and that certainly goes toward what we put in our newspapers as well as how we treat each other."
But the reports, prepared by The Gazette's advisory board and lawyers at McKenzie Lake, have concluded there was no ill intent by the paper in its frosh week edition, nor was there any discriminatory language.
The law firm further states the material could not be construed as promoting disrespect or intolerence.
John Lowe, a prospective Western student, says "We're a little too obsessed with what's politically correct nowadays and I think we need to let people express their creativity through writing especially in an area like this."
But student Sasha Van Dinther disagrees, "It's really offensive so, I don't think there should have been that much detail and they should have done something about it."
The Gazette is published by the University Students' Council (USC), and in the controversial edition three articles meant to be satire instead caused a stir.
They included a list of drinking games, a how-to manual on using drugs like cocaine and ecstacy and a how-to on dating your educational assistant.
After initially refusing, the paper eventually apologized.
In a written response, the USC says it's recommending enhanced training for incoming staff and volunteers at the paper, as well as improved continuity during the change in leadership every year.
McKenzie Lake is recommending the USC appoint an experienced journalist to act as an editorial advisor.
Calls to The Gazette's editior-in-chief on Tuesday were not returned.