Dear Voice Editor,
While I enjoy reading The Voice and have been excited to see some of the changes underway, I was disappointed to read Barbara Lehtiniemi’s “Tricks for Tuition” this past week. While I might not be surprised to find an article like this in a conservative-values publication, I expect more from The Voice.
Athabasca University prides itself on being a Canada’s Open University. AU is open to people from all backgrounds, and helps provide high-quality learning opportunities to those who might not, otherwise, have the chance to participate in post-secondary learning: single moms working to provide for their families while setting a positive example for their childrens’ future; those in prison who are striving to turn their lives around; successful business owners with busy schedules; and, yes, sex workers, as well.
AU provides those from all walks of life with a fresh start on a playing field of equal educational opportunities. Each of us studies and works on our courses knowing that what matters is not our socioeconomic background, not what we may have done well or poorly in the past?what matters is that we here to learn, and our efforts will be considered on their on their own merits.
When we pass judgment, especially publicly (as in The Voice), on university students who also happen to be sex workers, comparing them to murderers, it is not only discouraging to AU students who participate in sex work, but to all of us who come to AU because of its openness. I want my educational efforts to be measured on their worth, rather than on life choices unrelated to my studies. And I’d rather have a classmate who does sex work than one who will pass judgment on others based on personal values or social conformity.