C/O Robin Kamanarski
The Silhouette: Please introduce yourself.
Robin Komarniski: My name is Robin Komarniski. I am in my second year of cognitive science of language. I'm an Academic Committee Member of the McMaster Linguistics Society. We focus on the idea of promoting linguistics as a whole and linguistic diversity. Not only that, we just want to help people if they're struggling with any linguistics classes and for other people to meet other people in linguistics and make some friends.
What languages are you currently learning?
So I speak English natively and I try to speak German with my mom. German and French are definitely my best languages; I could probably study them at an academic level . . . I'm also learning Spanish and Portuguese, which I haven't given too much attention to recently, but I am learning them.
How do you feel about lessons or books that advertise quick language learning tools, for example within a month?
I think it is a very strong and attention-grabbing selling point. I think that it also informs us about our society right now, how we're always expecting convenience . . . We're so used to quick service and now it's the same with languages. We've tried to condense it and commodify it when really, I just think it's not one size fits all. It's really dependent on the person because everyone learns at their own pace. Sometimes language just clicks for you but sometimes it takes longer and that's completely fine. There's no rush. If you're promising someone it'll take a month and it doesn't end up clicking in a month, that person might feel pressured. But it's okay if you feel like you're not making progress, because you probably are making progress, just at your own pace. It's like a product but language is not a product — it's its own entity.
Do you have any advice for learning languages?
If anyone is going to learn a language, definitely, if you can, try and focus on one language at a time. I think what a lot of people get wrong is the view that languages are a kind of collectible. It's like: "Oh, how many can you speak?" and people will say they speak five or six and then they get very concentrated on the number when they fail to realize that languages have so much. Each language is so beautiful in the way that it offers its own specific experience. Germany has its own culture and food and history and community. So does [France] and [Spain] and every one of them. You could just get lost in that for hours. I feel like a lot of people rush the process when it's actually a process to be enjoyed.
When did you become interested in linguistics?
When you learn a language you learn more about how people perceive the world. For example, the Sapir–Whorf hypothesis suggests that some languages just might not have a word to describe a specific concept or maybe not all the degrees of that concept. Colour is one of those things. It's that idea of do they even see that colour, can they even perceive it or is it limited? That's exactly what I mean — for European languages, it might not be to the same degree but they have their own grammatical structures that influence the way that they think. Even in German, because 'bridge' is a feminine noun, when Germans are describing a bridge they will describe it using more feminine adjectives. They'll be like, “It's beautiful, it's elegant,” but they'll do that subconsciously. If you were to ask them if being female influences their perception, they'll say no. In reality, it does because there are so many ways language influences us subconsciously.
What area of language or linguistics are you most interested in?
I really do have a place in my heart for every field of linguistics because it all can have its moment to shine. It's so nice to actually connect to another human being and language is exactly how you do that. There's that expression: if you talk to a man in his second language, you're talking to his head. If you talk to a man in his first language, you're talking to his heart. It means so much more. The connection just is unmatchable. I do also value individual characteristics and that's why I want to go into speech-language pathology. When I was younger, I also saw a speech-language pathologist and it helped me a lot because I couldn't pronounce certain letters, like, for example, the ‘th’ phoneme . . . Hopefully, I can do that for other people. But that's what I love the most; you can connect with people and help them, but you can also learn more about these more refined things about language.
Could you elaborate on what the term linguistic diversity means?There are so many subfields of linguistics like syntax, phonology, phonetics and morphology. Linguistic diversity is just acknowledging that there are many different backgrounds from which people originate and how that influences speech, how that influences vocabulary and how people have their own specific ways of talking…Another thing in linguistics is there's this very clear separation between prescriptive grammar and descriptive grammar. For example, if you say “You is stupid,” some people would say that's ungrammatical. But if it makes sense to you, if that makes sense in your brain, then it is technically grammatical from a descriptive point of view. So there is no right and wrong way of speaking. At the end of the day, we are the ones who decide language, because language is a community-focused idea. Language is just sharing ideas from one person to another, so there is no wrong way of speaking. That's what linguistic diversity is about — it's deconstructing this idea that there is some kind of hierarchy to the right or wrong way of speaking.
C/O Yoohyun Park
What does the announcement of a minimum wage increase mean for the McMaster Community?
In 2017, Kathleen Wynne, previous premier of Ontario, stated that she wanted Ontario’s minimum wage to rise to $15 per hour by 2019. However, when the current Conservative government won in 2018, they promptly put a pause on this idea. Until now, approximately four years later, this idea finally became a reality.
It was also announced that the minimum wage would continue to increase in correlation with inflation once effective. The bill is currently going through the first reading, as stated on the Legislative Assembly of Ontario website.
"For many Ontarians wages haven't kept up with the increasing cost of living, making it harder than ever to make ends meet . . . I've always said, workers deserve to have more money in their pockets because they have worked hard and put in long hours. The least the government can do is ensure we're making life more affordable for them,” said Doug Ford, current premier of Ontario, at a news conference in Milton.
In early October, minimum wage had gone from $14.25 per hour to $14.35 per hour. That introduction came with a lot of criticism as people felt that the 10 cent increase was not meaningful. In addition, given the state of the COVID-19 pandemic, many claimed this change was disrespectful to essential workers and those struggling to make ends meet.
This history of a minimum wage in Ontario is extensive and complex. From the years of 1995 to 2003 minimum wage had been frozen at $6.85 per hour. From there it has increased for several reasons, whether that be political or to simply follow inflation. As it continues to increase, the political parties, researchers and people of Canada continue to debate their own views on the topic.
In 2014, the Ontario Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development sought to identify the demographics of those earning minimum wage. At the time they found that one in three adults will be making minimum wage at the prime of their working career. This statistic includes the adults of McMaster University, especially those who work under the Student Work Program offered by McMaster.
Clara Rakovac, a second-year commerce student at McMaster, works at Mill’s Memorial Library as part of the SWP. She shared how she is assigned shifts that cap at 10 hours a week, where each hour she is paid $14.35. The idea of a minimum wage increase was good news to her.
Enisi Krasnica, a second-year biology student, works at the Health Sciences Library as part of the SWP. Krasnica explained how she also works at around a weekly 10 hour cap and is paid $15 an hour, which is one of the highest-paying SWP library jobs on campus. Though she is appreciative of the minimum wage increase, she also explained her reservations.
Students employed within the McMaster Student Union, the largest form of representation for undergraduate students, are also expected to be affected by the possible increase of minimum wage. John McGowan, the General Manager for MSU, explained how this increase would impact their operations. In this case, all part-time staff of MSU would notice an increase in wage.
“Historically, upon approval of the executive board, whatever the increase is to minimum wage — so I think this time it is 4.5% for non-food and beverage staff — we would take that increase and take it to the whole part-time staff wages grid. Not only do entry level positions receive the benefit, but so do other part-time staff members,” said McGowan.
As the announcement of an increased minimum wage comes forth, students are excited but critical of the new changes. The changes find their own ways to impact the McMaster community, students and administration alike. New discussions will surely emerge from the implementation of this new minimum wage, as happens whenever decisions impacting people’s entire lives are made.
Yoohyun Park/Production Coordinator
You can’t always get what you want
By: Ana Mamula, Staff Writer
As I was scrolling through my “for you” page on TikTok last summer, bored out of my mind in quarantine, I remember seeing the same things: crystals, spirituality and how to manifest properly. I remember my generation taking spirituality by the reins and running with it.
I personally noted the spread of misinformation on the practice itself, causing many people to have a false perception of the notion as a whole.
One of the notions that individuals carry is that spirituality cures all; you can receive anything you want, you can be who you want and you can attract whatever you want. And this all is sparked with manifesting. Apparently, you can just write down your wishes three times on a piece of paper or click your shoes together three times and poof! Your wishes come true!
That's not how it works.
I will be going through what you need to know about manifesting and the actual truths regarding this notion.
First off, what is manifesting, you may ask? Spiritual manifesting is when you're flowing, not forcing. It's different from goal-setting because it's like you're co-creating with the universe. You have a special relationship with the universe and you are working alongside it to grow into the individual you wish to become and do what you wish to do.
When it comes to manifesting, it is important to understand life itself and how your mindset truly affects everything.
When we go through life, we all go through both good and difficult periods of time. When a rough patch arises, it is easy to feel as though such patches alone comprise one’s reality, which can negatively impact one’s mindset. But what individuals do not understand is you are the creator of your reality.
So, if you believe you are the creator of your reality and you create the good, you have to take responsibility for all — the good and the bad.
And once you take that responsibility, you can change the outcome.
Now, why is learning about life, the good, the bad and outcomes so important? Because those who fail at manifestation, those who do not do the research, are oblivious to understanding the mutual agreement you have with the universe.
You cannot ask for good if you are looking over the bad. If you shift the power of the good and bad to things other than yourself, you are not learning, growing, accepting or changing. That is the importance of life.
Those who still want to turn the other way when hearing you have to go through the bad to receive the good need to understand we were not put on this earth for it to be easy. You came here to be challenged, grow and learn.
Because the hard truth is that even when you receive what you manifested, you’re still going to have challenges and obstacles.
To succeed in your spiritual journey, it’s crucial to stop tip-toeing through life and remember who you are. Start looking at your past and how far you have come. Look at all of your accomplishments, look at all of those times when you would complain about the difficulties and think about how you overcame them.
Think about how strong you have gotten. Think about what you have learned. And then you will receive what you want, you will become who you want to be and you will attract who you want to attract.
C/O Yoohyun Park
Concerns raised surrounding clean drinking water access in Indigenous communities
At the beginning of October, Iqaluit residents began noticing an odour in their tap water and some expressed feeling ill. After an initial inspection of the treatment plant and water samples on Oct. 4, the city of Iqaluit determined that the water was safe to drink. However, a second investigation on Oct. 12 yielded different results.
Since Oct. 12, Iqaluit has been under a state of emergency and residents have been advised not to drink tap water, even after boiling or filtering it, due to a presence of fuel in the water supply.
On Oct. 24, the Canadian Armed Forces arrived in Iqaluit to set up a reverse osmosis water purification system. The CAF is purifying water from Iqaluit’s Sylvia Grinnell River and transporting it to a city water truck, which then transports it to water filling depots.
Until the arrival of the CAF, residents were receiving bottled water from distribution sites and collecting water from the Sylvia Grinnell River.
While the CAF is providing residents with potable water, trucked water deliveries in Iqaluit will no longer contain potable water as of Tuesday, Nov. 9. While residents can still use trucked water deliveries for bathing, laundry, handwashing and dishwashing, they are no longer able to drink it.
The state of emergency in Iqaluit is currently set to last until Nov. 23.
At McMaster University, Makasa Looking Horse is actively involved in projects that address water needs for Indigenous communities. One such project is the Global Water Futures project, which Looking Horse is the educational lead for.
Global Water Futures is a Canadian university-led research project aiming to manage water futures in areas with cold climates, such as Canada, and landscapes changing due to global warming.
“Global Water Futures aims to position Canada as a global leader in water science for cold regions and will address the strategic needs of the Canadian economy in adapting to change and managing risks of uncertain water futures and extreme events,” stated the Global Water Futures website.
Looking Horse highlighted that water crises in Indigenous communities are not uncommon and that they can happen for a multitude of reasons. She explained that water crises occur when there are problems with treatment plants and when there are problems piping water from treatment plants to households.
“Infrastructure within Canada for Indigenous communities is in really bad shape,” said Looking Horse.
In 2015, 126 drinking water advisories existed in First Nations, prompting the federal government to commit to resolving them by March of 2021. However, inadequate funding was allocated to meeting this goal and many advisories remain in effect. Water-borne diseases occur within First Nations 26 times more than the national average and people living on reserves are currently 90 times more likely to have no access to running water compared to non-Indigenous people living off reserves.
On Nov. 3, the Cooperative Indigenous Students Studies and Alumni at McMaster shared a post about the Iqaluit water crisis and noted how the federal government has not kept their promise to eliminate water advisories in Indigenous communities.
Mainly, CISSA referred to the fact that 58 advisories still remain despite prime minister Justin Trudeau’s promise to eliminate all long-term boil water advisories by March of 2021.
“It has become abundantly clear that one cannot disentangle social conditions from health conditions and that the causes of recurrent Indigenous water insecurity are rooted in sociopolitical neglect. The lack of access to clean, safe water is a reflection of long standing political and economic marginalization,” stated CISSA in their post.
For McMaster students, Looking Horse noted that there are always ways to help make clean water more accessible in general.
“Whether it's donating water to the food bank or cleaning up [garbage], whatever you want to work on, whether that's writing or doing something physical, you can definitely do something to make a difference,” said Looking Horse.
Looking Horse has extensive experience protecting access to water for Indigenous communities. Beyond her role in Global Water Futures, she did a lot of advocacy work to protect the Six Nations water supply when she found out that Nestle was taking 3.6 million litres of water from the Six Nations aquifer without the community’s permission.
Within Global Water Futures, Looking Horse has been part of multiple community projects, such as tracking snapping turtles on Six Nations to collect more data about the environment.
“This kind of project really hasn't hasn't existed before and so we're super proud [of it]. It's a water project on Six Nations that all of these different professors at McMaster University and other universities and different departments are working [on] together,” said Looking Horse.
The water crisis continues to be a significant issue in Iqaluit and across Indigenous communities, with many long-term water advisories still in effect and goals to resolve them not being met. McMaster students interested in taking action can refer to CISSA’s social media posts with more information on petitions to sign and links where donations can be made.
Yoohyun Park/Production Coordinator
From 19th century paintings to contemporary animations, Middle Easterners are over-sexualized
By: Kimia Tahaei, Staff Writer
Saïd argues that European colonizers provided distorted information regarding the Middle East, which led to a false production of "knowledge" — "knowledge" that instilled the erroneous belief that the West (also known as the Occident) was superior to the East (also known as the Orient).
To spread their fictitious "knowledge" far and wide, the West decided to use art as a means of propaganda. At this point in history, European artists created numerous artworks with the primary purpose of advancing their political ideologies — European superiority.
Due to the West's misrepresentation of the Orient, Middle Easterners are paying a steep price, even today.
As Saïd repeatedly states throughout his book, Orientalism and whoever followed its principles did so with intentions of falsely exhibiting the East. To better understand how Middle Easterners are suffering the consequences of these former European paintings, we first have to understand the depths of this flawed misrepresentation.
To begin, Middle Eastern women were persistently sexualized. Gérôme, a French pioneer of the Orientalism movement, fetishized Middle Eastern women and portrayed them as exotic in his paintings. He did so by frequently illustrating them as nude or semi-nude and often participating in provocative acts.
Not only did he fetishize women, but he also managed to hypersexualize integral elements of Middle Eastern culture, like belly dancing. I find it particularly frustrating how Middle Eastern women have to suffer stigmatization daily because of a French painter's Occidental fantasies of the East.
Due to his lack of knowledge on Middle Eastern culture, he fabricated a mass amount of false "knowledge" that led to fundamental components of the culture getting fetishized — this "knowledge" portrayed Middle Eastern women as exotic commodities and intrinsically sexual beings.
This stereotyping has led to the hyper-sexualization of Middle Eastern women in books, films and even Disney movies.
Beyond Hollywood’s exotic depictions of “sexy belly dancers,” such stereotyping can even be seen in innocent children's movies.
For instance, Princess Jasmine, a 16-year-old, was represented as erotic and was overly sexualized in the Disney movie Aladdin. In the movie, Jasmine and other young Arab women are shown in tops showing cleavage and midriff. Astonishingly, in one specific scene, Jasmine even overtly takes advantage of her sexuality to seduce an older male character — Jafar.
This portrayal is particularly problematic for me because Jasmine is one of the only princesses who is so harshly sexualized. Almost every other princess wears modest dresses that cover their head to toe.
Not only is this problematic because cartoons intended for a young audience are including sexually suggestive imagery and themes, but it is also just blatantly disappointing to witness such poor cultural representation. It is incredibly disheartening that Orientalism has ruined one of the few occurrences in media where a young Middle Eastern girl can see herself represented in some way.
I often imagine the lasting and destructive impacts that this misrepresentation leaves on a young Middle Eastern child. I wonder if they question whether they have to be sexual in order to receive a speck of representation in the media.
Overall, it is interesting to think about the evolution of propaganda that served colonialism in the promotion of Western domination. What was started by 19th-century European painters is still alive thanks to 21st-century directors. Although the form of propaganda has changed, the message of Eastern inferiority remains the same.
C/O Robin Worrall, Unsplash
Hamilton police investigated shooting threat made against McMaster University and Mohawk College
On Sunday, Nov. 7, a screenshot began circulating around social media which claimed that someone had made a shooting threat against McMaster University and Mohawk College for Monday, Nov. 8.
Messages in the screenshot showed an individual warning others not to go to campus on Monday. This screenshot was spread through various social media platforms, such as Instagram and the Spotted at Mac Facebook page.
That day, a statement was released through McMaster Daily News, saying that the police had been informed of the situation and that McMaster would be proceeding with classes as usual on Nov. 8.
“The university has not been made aware of any reason not to go ahead with its usual operations. Based on the information that McMaster has received, McMaster will be operating normally on Monday,” stated the university.
Navya Sheth, a second-year student at McMaster University, noted that most of her initial information about the shooting threat was learned from discussions with her peers. Sheth said her peers reacted to the shooting threat and to McMaster’s statement in different ways.
“Several of my friends were really concerned and took [the threat] really seriously. Others were not concerned at all and didn’t think that it was going to happen regardless. And then there was a third smaller fraction which might have been concerned, but then, when the university took action and when class was still running, decided to continue as normal,” said Sheth.
On the morning of Nov. 8, Mohawk College released a statement on Twitter.
“Police are investigating and there is no indication that this represents a credible threat. College campuses and services will be operating as normal today,” stated Mohawk.
On the morning of Monday, Nov. 8, the Hamilton Police followed up with their own statement on Twitter, saying that they had located the source of the threat.
The Hamilton Police managed the investigation into the shooting threat and determined that it was not credible.
Still, both McMaster and Mohawk experienced increased police presence on Monday, Nov. 8, as a precaution.
After taking the first two games of the season in their only flight trip, the team has set themselves up for another successful year
On Nov. 5 McMaster’s women’s volleyball team played their first games of the season. After making the long trip out to Lakehead — the only trip they will make this season by way of flight — they completed a sweep, winning both games three to zero.
Although the Lakehead Thunderwolves were able to keep scores fairly competitive, the Marauders pulled away with a huge success to kick off their season.
One of the stars of the show for the Marauders was outside hitter Jessie Nairn, a skilled fifth-year student. Nairn, along with Emma McKinnon and Sullie Sundara led the pack on offense, with McKinnon taking 12 kills and Sundara and Nairn taking eight each.
Nairn would later speak to the importance of a strong start for the team following the completion of their successful series.
“I think it was a great start to the season . . . It’s the farthest trip of the year, so it was a big one to start with. It was a great start winning all six sets, going undefeated on the weekend. I think it’s a good start for a young team to get us going,” said Nairn.
Although Nairn felt good about her performance over the weekend, she felt like there was still more to desire. She explained how the team has great talent and significant potential and how there is a serious opportunity at hand for her squad to deal damage. The goals have been set sky high for the season and Nairn feels that they are within reach.
“I think that I can always play better, but thought it was a good start to the season for myself . . . We have a very strong team this year and we are going to make big things happen. Our goals are always going to be to win this league — win the OUA, get to nationals and do big things there as well. This year we really have a good chance to get there,” explained Nairn.
One of the challenges the Marauders must face each year is simply the difficulty of the division they were placed in. Along with the Lakehead Thunderwolves, they also face opponents such as the Brock Badgers, Waterloo Warriors, Windsor Lancers, Western Mustangs and Guelph Gryphons.
Nairn noted the difficulty of the division the Marauders find themselves in, but stressed that the team has what it takes to come out on top.
“The competition in this league is strong, especially in the OUA west. It’s getting stronger and stronger over the years, but I think we have a shot against every single team that we’re up against. We have incredible skill at every single position this year,” said Nairn.
It may be early, but currently standing first place in their division provides a strong sense of promise for the team as they continue with their season. As one of only four total teams (out of 14 total) who are currently undefeated, they have become one of the teams to beat.
The next matchup for the team comes against the Brock Badgers on Nov. 19 and Nov. 21, with the second game of the pair being the team homecoming. With a 73.7% winning percentage against the Badgers over the last decade, the Marauders should have a great opportunity to extend their streak.
Centre is opening a new studio to serve the Hamilton arts community
In our learning and community spaces, we have an obligation to ensure our online and physical environments are inclusive of individuals with disability. Now, Centre for Artistic + Social Practice is expanding their services in the Hamilton arts community with the grand opening of their new studio space, designed to be wheelchair-accessible and inclusive of disabled community members.
Founded by Colina Maxwell and Katherine Zarull in 2004, Centre first started as a print studio. It was conceptualized as a space where artists could create art together, though later they expanded their services to include education, gallery spaces and a wider range of studio equipment.
As a registered charity, Centre is an entirely non-profit organisation. The cost of membership and access to facilities are entirely donation-based, allowing all members access to traditional studio spaces as well as screen printing services.
The name Centre represents the organisation’s three major mandates: art, education and community. The number  also represents the three floors in their flagship building at 173 James Street North. The upper floor houses a high school program called Nu Steel, an alternative education program for print and media arts run in collaboration with the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board. The middle floor is where gallery spaces are held and the basement level is where screen-printing happens.
The artist-run centre is led by staff and community members who are passionate about the arts and providing accessible services to the community.
“Centre is unique in the fact that it is really trying to be accessible to everyone. We're not an exclusive organization but a community organization and I feel like art does bring us all together. When I drive around town I see a lot of graffiti and even that in a sense is bringing us together because it makes me think: who are these people? It’s really beautiful . . . and my wish is that artists come forward and have a place to be themselves and to be accepted,” said actress, producer and playwright Melissa Murray-Mutch, who currently serves on Centre’s board of directors.
The new studio space opening at 126 James Street North is a hub for three new studio facilities: audio, film and digital services. There is also a studio technician on-site, who can assist with recording, composing and more in the new studio space.
“Centre is just thrilled to embark on this new journey of providing digital media services at our second location while ensuring accessibility. Colina Maxwell definitely made sure, thanks to the Ontario Trillium Foundation grant that we received, that it is accessible for all, so anyone is welcome . . . It’s a very proud project,” said Jeannie Kim, a local artist and administrative and sales coordinator for Centre.
The new space was made possible in part thanks to the recent Ontario Trillium Foundation awarded to Centre. After receiving the grant, David Hosten, one of Centre’s board members, proposed the idea of starting a podcast but the organisation soon realized they lacked the proper space and resources to make it a reality. From there, the space at 126 James was conceived to address the organisation’s expanding needs and to better serve the community accessing their studio spaces.
“I'm especially proud of having a tiny hand in the podcast booth. I know a lot of people put together podcasts in their houses but there are limitations to doing it yourself. You've got to deal with sound and personally I have some equipment at home but I've had to deal with sound issues, family and all those sorts of things. Now people have a place they can go that’s super affordable,” said Murray-Mutch.
The grand opening happened on Nov. 12 during Art Crawl, consisting of a formal Ontario Trillium Fund recognition ceremony and opening to the public where artists were invited to try out the space for the first time. Donna Skelly, the MPP for Dundas-Flamborough, and Andrea Horwath, leader of the NDP party, were both present at the grand opening, The event was an opportunity for the public to experience the space and was held as a celebratory ceremony for the committee and studio members who made the opening possible.
For students, the current annual membership fee at Centre is $35, aiming to provide services at a price point accessible to students. Memberships allow community members to receive access to the Centre studios and enjoy member benefits, including access and discounts to artist talks, workshops and more.
“Centre is all about accessibility and our price points are definitely going to be a lot lower [than other professional studios] because we have this in mind,” said Kim.
As a non-profit centre run by artists for the community, Centre is dedicated to being an inclusive community space for engagement, for both students and the greater Hamilton arts community. They hope to expand their services and better serve the community through the opening of their new digital studio space.
C/O Ainsley Thurgood
The City of Hamilton warns students their residence may have lead service pipes via letter
By: Kate O’Melia, News Staff Writer
Students living in houses built before 1955 in Hamilton might be getting a letter from the City of Hamilton warning them about lead in their private water service pipe.
The City of Hamilton is aware there are approximately 20,000 homes with lead pipes in Hamilton currently. Lead can be dangerous for a number of reasons, including health effects such as reduced cognition, increased blood pressure and renal dysfunction. Since this was not known when many of Hamilton's older houses were built, it was used in pipes until 1955 and in the solder for the pipes’ connections up to the 1990s. Unfortunately, some of these may include McMaster University student houses.
One household in the Westdale area received a letter from the City of Hamilton in early September, during McMaster’s Welcome Week, warning that they had a lead or unknown private water service pipe entering their house.
Mac student Trevor Whitesell said his house received the letter right after moving in to start their second year. Since receiving the letter on Sept. 7, he and his roommates have been more cautious with their water intake.
"I don't want to risk it . . . Small amounts [of lead] can be harmful, so I'm pretty cautious about it. I think we just got a Brita the other day [to] make sure we're not drinking it. But other than that, we just drink bottled water instead. For showering and brushing your teeth with the water, what else can you really do?" said Whitesell.
Their service pipe was not confirmed to be lead, but because the house was built prior to 1955, it was suggested that the residents identify the type of pipe supplying water to protect themselves from possible toxic lead exposure.
“The private portion of this pipe is the responsibility of the homeowner,” stated the letter.
Since the lines installed are on private property, it is up to the homeowner to check for any lead and replace service pipes if needed.
This isn’t the first time Mac students have had run-ins with lead pipes.
In May of 2020, a Spotted At Mac post was made stating that the City of Hamilton had confirmed their house in the Emerson area had lead pipes and warned other students to check their houses for lead pipes.
Usually, the city would arrange for a Water Distribution Operator to come into homes to check for lead pipes, but COVID-19 regulations make this impossible. For now, the city is asking residents to conduct the inspection using a visual and/or scratch test on their own by following a video tutorial.
A Tap Water Lead Levels map made in 2008 by the City of Hamilton shows that there are also many houses throughout Hamilton that contain some traces of lead, but at levels deemed safe enough for drinking. These homes can be identified as the green dots on the map which contain under 10 micrograms of lead per litre.
If a residence is inspected and found to have lead pipes, the homeowner must replace it at their own expense and schedule a date with the city for a replacement of the public portion of the pipe. The city does allow for applications to a $2,500 loan transferred to the homeowner’s water bill.
However, to qualify for this loan, the existing pipe needs to be substantially composed of lead. Additionally, replacing lead pipes can be difficult and costly even if the loan is granted.
Whitesell and his roommates are worried that their landlord will not want to address the possible lead exposure in the household because of how costly this might be. Students facing similar circumstances may feel the same way.
Currently, the City of Hamilton estimates that it will take approximately 25 to 40 years to replace all the private water service pipes containing lead.
C/O Yoohyun Park/Production Coordinator
Fans attend the game for a couple of hours, but how much effort gets put into preparing a game?
Football, basketball and volleyball — these are McMaster’s three most popular varsity sports for students to enjoy watching, but there are many more, from badminton to field hockey to water polo and more. Not only does each sport require a different set up, but each individual game does too. For example, setting up for football homecoming to a sold out stadium required a different set of plans than the second game against the Laurier Golden Hawks when it was rainy and cold.
All these considerations and more are handled by TJ Kelly, the Facilities and Events Manager for McMaster’s athletics and recreation department. After he thinks of everything, Dalton Jeyapalan, the Events Coordinator, implements it with Kelly’s approval as the final word.
Jeyapalan originally recognized his passion for working with sports when he was an undergraduate student at York University, holding an event staff job as part of the work-study program.
“I just knew that it was bigger than myself; it was part of school identity. And sports have a huge role in a lot of individuals and their success in their academics, so I knew that I always wanted to work in university athletics. I felt it was just more intimate and more focused on individual self development and growth,” explained Jeyapalan.
As Events Coordinator, Jeyapalan is on campus quite often, even on off days. It takes about a week to set up properly and ensure that the event runs smoothly. He considers multiple groups of people, from audio and visual, to the OUA and even student organizations such as the Black Student Athlete Council. All these groups and many more have something to gain from being considered in the planning of these events. He ensures each group has exactly what they need through constant communication and piecing everything together like a puzzle.
“If you get the logistics in place a few days in advance, it helps for a seamless event, rather than just figuring it out at game time and I gotta tell people, ‘Okay go get this, go get that.’ It's more like having this stuff prepped, knowing where it is and that way when the questions are asked, you have the answer as soon as possible,” said Jeyapalan.
Luckily, when it comes to putting the entire event together on the day of, Jeyapalan isn’t alone. He is aided by a group of event staff, made up of McMaster students. There are about 45 to 50 event staff and different quantities of staff members are in attendance at every game. Event staff help out with a variety of game day operations such as COVID-19 documentation check, ticket scanning and more.
For Jeyapalan, the event staff are his coworkers and people he can help grow and succeed, both in their careers and academically. He encourages students as a whole to push the envelope and try new things to see what they’re really capable of.
“I like to think that I'm a prime example. I never thought I could work in sports and I tested the envelope. I did things that are out of the ordinary and I'm here now . . . Give me a shout, follow me on LinkedIn. I’m there and we can definitely connect and see where your opportunities can align with mine and we can see how far you can go above me. Because that’s my main goal — to see everyone around me get bigger and better,” said Jeyapalan.
Just like how events require a lot of planning, so does a university career; however, it helps to add a little bit of fun. Students may not have fan cams cheering them on, but they have friends, professors and more all ready to support one another. It is important for students in all university communities, not just within sports, to support each other and remember that their friends, professors and support systems are there to help.
If interested in supporting McMaster’s varsity teams, tickets are now available for basketball and volleyball at mcmaster.universitytickets.com with more non-ticketed events coming in the winter season during second semester.