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Letters to the editor

by Archives November 9, 2005

Re: “Administration should fund CUVAP, not students”

I travelled to Uganda this summer and personally met the children and other members of the community that CUVAP will benefit. As such, I am personally offended by Mr. Frittenberg-Doyle’s distressingly zealous attempt to undermine this program and its main benefactors, Concordia students. It is all the more irking since his article is utterly untruthful.

To save time, let me run through a list of misinformation he provided about the program.

It is not only students that will pay, the plan is for the university and CIDA to contribute more than 2/3 of the total cost; it is not 100 children that will benefit, it is 120 plus thousands of members of their community for whom the medical clinic, arts facility, library and sports center will be open; he says a donation from CUVAP (rather than putting the money towards building the village) would serve the community better by creating jobs, yet the workers who will build the village as well as those who will work in it will be paid, I believe that is considered employment; and if CUVAP simply donates the money it raises it would not really be a volunteer abroad program would it? Nor would it benefit Concordia students.

That Mr. Frittenberg-Doyle actually had the audacity to say students would be going “on vacation in the misery of others” is doubly disturbing. Uganda is indeed a beautiful and captivating place, but problems abound; this is not Disneyland for Pete’s sake! Students will be contributing to the end of misery, not basking in it.

Furthermore, he says the emphasis on sustainability proves CUVAP caters more to North American students than to Ugandans, yet if that focus on sustainability had not been there he would have criticized it for that! This proves that he is not criticizing CUVAP on its own merit but for some other reason that I frankly would prefer not to know about.

Finally, due to a complete absence of background research, Mr. Frittenberg-Doyle not only does not know that the university has agreed to contribute to CUVAP, he also does not realize that what benefits the university – from a PR perspective even more especially – benefits students with a degree from that university. Isn’t this obvious?

-Nick Bleser
Political Science

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