Carleton U Student Association Apologizes Over Cystic Fibrosis Fundraiser Ban

University students are generally expected to be smart. Unfortunately, they often lack common sense. It is an affliction of youth, but some of us never grow up.

The Carleton University Students’ Association in Ottawa, Canada recently considered where their annual fundraising dollars should go. Based on information from a previous executive member of the association, a motion was put before the council.

Carleton University Students’ Association’s (CUSA) orientation will no longer raise funds for cystic fibrosis, after a vote 17 to 2 at the Nov. 24 CUSA council meeting.

The proposal to abandon Shinerama was put forward after it was “recently revealed to only affect white people, and primarily men,” according to the motion. [ The Charlatan ]

Statistics on those “men” are interesting, considering that 60% of those diagnosed with the disease are under 18 years of age.

Thanks to increased fundraising over the past 40 years, thanks in part to Carleton students, life expectancy for those with CF increased from around 6 years to 35 years.

The student association motion was proposed by Donnie Northrup, the science faculty representative.

Not surprisingly, input from dissenting voices – thousands of them, from all over the world/internet – caused the student association to consider the message it had sent out.

An open letter to all Carleton University students;

I want to take this opportunity to apologize to anyone who was offended by the motion passed at this week’s council meeting.

It was never any of our councilors or my own intentions to imply that Cystic Fibrosis was not a worth while charity for Carleton to support. I also would like to apologize to anyone whose life has been touched by Cystic Fibrosis. I am sorry for any pain this motion has caused you.

It has been great to see so many students come out and voice their opinions and support for Shinerama and Cystic Fibrosis. Thanks again for everyone’s feedback. Now, I would like to move forward to rectifying this issue.

I would like to invite all students to attend the council meeting on Monday evening. It will be held at 6:30pm, location will be available on the CUSA website as soon as we secure a space.

At this meeting I will be putting forward a motion to reinstate Shinerama as part of our Orientation week.

Over the last 24 years through Orientation, we have been able to raise awareness about Cystic Fibrosis and over $1,000,000 for research and treatment of this terrible disease. I look forward to working with the Canadian Cystic Fibrosis Foundation to clear up the incorrect facts caused by the motion about Cystic Fibrosis and who is affected by it.

Again, I would like to apologize. There are a lot of reasons to have pride in our school and I look forward to working with everyone in continuing to strengthen the Carleton community.


Brittany Smyth


Carleton University Students’ Association

That’s one way to get more people to attend meetings! Seriously, though, this is a good lesson for all concerned.

NewsBlaze publishes a lot of soldier stories and we work with Talking With Heroes, interviewing soldiers and support groups. The young men and women who volunteer their time, effort and lives to protect this country and do whatever is asked of them don’t go around asking about diversity when they protect and train Iraqis or help someone affected by a hurricane, earthquake or other natural disaster. They do it because it has to be done.

I believe the same thing has been done in Carleton’s orientation week fundraising over the past 25 years. It’s likely that most participants contributed their time and effort, to improve the bonds between themselves, to do something helpful for someone else and to raise money for a cause that needed help.

They never even thought that because it might primarily affect one group of the population, that they wouldn’t support it. By all means, support other charities, but don’t destroy a tradition because of fuzzy thinking.

By the way, most of the “white men” affected by CF are aged 1 to 20. Some don’t even make it to adulthood.

Alan Gray is the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of NewsBlaze Daily News and other online newspapers. He prefers to edit, rather than write, but sometimes an issue rears it’s head and makes him start hammering away on the keyboard.

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