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People should be upset

As a resident of Southgate, I have been quietly following the Lystek vs. Stop the Biosolids controversy since it began.

Last week this protest group successfully interfered with a research project, taken on by one of our own!

A young lady from Southgate, who in the process of completing her Master of Science degree in Health Geography, became interested in learning more about biosolids and has focused her time and money in pursuit of this knowledge. This young lady, under the supervision of the Principle Investigator, simply sent out a questionnaire, in an effort to investigate community perceptions related to the processing and land application of biosolids.  This project was an invitation to be for you and me to become involved.  No one was being coerced to participate; it was strictly voluntary.

This survey is professionally thorough and non-offensive, and yet what has the “Stop the biosolids” group done?  This group has aggressively protested to the university in such a threatening way, that the university had to terminate the research study for fear of an administrative error surfacing, not because of anything the student has done wrong.

Am I upset?  Absolutely.  And each of you should be as well.  In fact, perhaps we should all be embarrassed and ashamed for not speaking up sooner.

What are these people so afraid of that they would stop a viable research project?  If these people want truth, as they say they do, then I would say… pursue truth (get facts, not assumptions or opinions), but don’t be surprised if the truth leads to realizing you might be wrong

In a recent Facebook comment, a member of the activist group stated… “I bet the University of Western Ontario is embarrassed about this survey!”  I don’t for a moment perceive the university as being embarrassed, but rather supporting their student’s integrity.  This same person has maliciously tried to smear the reputation of the student previously mentioned and called her integrity into question.  The university released a letter to Southgate residents this week giving explanation of the goals of the study and supporting student Sarah Mason’s integrity throughout this process

When speaking of integrity, why are we (you and me) not speaking out about the rudeness, offensiveness, and disrespectful behavior, as well as the derogatory and inflammatory words, spoken and written by this group of protesters? Since when do we no longer hold individuals and groups accountable for their behavior?

I think it’s time for us to stand up to this kind of behavior and refuse to be intimidated by the actions of a few individuals. Let’s quit allowing them to speak on behalf of the entire community.

Sincerely,
Ann E. Gillies

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