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Shifting focus

Although Student Council's response to the recent bullying-related suicides is well-intentioned, its actions are misguided.

Medical School representative Erik Criman is a bit oblivious in his belief that "this isn't a gay issue" or a straight issue. Putting aside the very different case of Kevin Morrissey's workplace harassment, Council's bill was made in light of individuals who suffered harassment related to sexuality. The failure to acknowledge this is a disservice to those who continue to be bullied for their suspected, assumed or confirmed sexuality on a daily basis.

I am infuriated that individuals are ignoring sexuality for the sake of inclusiveness. If "the underlying point [is not] a gay issue," then what is it? Aside from the story surrounding Morrissey, every other issue is linked to individuals' sexuality.

Council's bill is also flawed. Although it sufficiently addresses an unfortunate result of bullying - suicide - it fails to adequately address the bullying itself. Instead of focusing the bill on suicide prevention, Council should direct its efforts toward the prevention of bullying. Of course, a large part of suicide prevention includes the steps taken to prevent bullying; still, the bill's emphasis must change. Like Criman's inclusive belief, the mission of suicide prevention has the best of intentions; however, the bill tip-toes around the factors that cause one to die by suicide in the first place.

Despite my criticisms, I appreciate Council's efforts. It is never easy to tackle such a delicate issue. Still, I encourage members like Criman to re-evaluate why they believe the recent events are not a "gay or a straight issue." Additionally, I encourage Council to channel its resources to a program with bullying prevention as its primary goal. Although few in the University community have been bullied to the point of suicide, many have been harassed for their suspected, assumed or confirmed sexuality. If Council approaches the issue from its foundations, suicide prevention will happen naturally.

Nicolas Newman\nCLAS III

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