Top Ten

April 2, 2007

Montreal students boycott classes

Last Thursday, thousands of Montreal PSE students boycotted their classes and marched through downtown for more than two hours to protest the proposed thaw of Quebec tuition fees.  At an average of just $1,668 per year, tuition in Quebec is the lowest in Canada; the new minority Liberal government has committed to increasing tuition by $100 per year over the next five years.  Students at St. Laurent, Vieux Montreal and Marie Victorin, College de Maisonneuve and the Université de Sherbrooke participated in the protest, with very few from Université de Quebec a Montreal.  The Montreal Gazette | The McGill Daily | CBC

$23 million for Robarts-UWO merger

The merger between the Robarts Research Institute and the University of Western Ontario has been given a $23 million provincial blessing.  The funds will be used to attract top research talent and ensure state-of-the-art medical research equipment.  Previously unconfirmed, the amalgamation of RRI into UWO is likely ensured by the new funding.   Ontario MTCU | UWO News Release

NSERC Steacies to UofA, Dal, Queen's and UofT

2007's NSERC Steacie Fellowship winners have been announced, and include 3 researchers from the University of Toronto; the other three fellowships went to University of Alberta, Dalhousie University, and Queen's University.  Winners received up to $400,000 over 2 years towards their research, and their universities receive a salary contribution to fund a replacement for the Fellows' teaching and administrative duties, so that they can focus fully on their research.  Laboratory Product News

New Alberta First Nations College Access Grant

Last Friday, the government of Alberta announced a $2 million grant for students attending First Nations Colleges, echoing a $4.2 million funding announcement by Saskatchewan the day before, for Aboriginal and Northern advancement.  Alberta's First Nations College Access Grant will help offset the costs of PSE for Albertans of Aboriginal heritage, and will hopefully encourage increased enrolment from within this demographic.  Funds are being distributed to Old Sun Community College, Blue Quills First Nations College, Maskawachees Cultural College, Red Crow Community College, Yellowhead Tribal College and Nechi Training, Research and Health Promotions Institute.  Alberta MAET News Release

Total smoking ban at uWinnipeg

Starting today, the University of Winnipeg is entirely smoke-free.  Smoking has been banned everywhere on campus -- including outside.  The expansion of the campus smoking ban, to include the great outdoors, came in response to complaints by staff and students who were forced to walk through a thicket of smoke and smokers to enter campus buildings.  A spokesperson at the university says the change is a nod to the non-smoking majority at uWinn.  Dalhousie was the first Canadian campus to go completely smoke-free, followed by the Bannatyne campus of uManitoba.  CBC

"Hate Crime" alleged against atheist at Ryerson

Saturday's Globe reports that 24-year-old Justin Trottier, president of the "Freethought Association of Canada," was hanging posters last Tuesday night to promote a lecture by Victor Stenger, author of God: The Failed Hypothesis. Trottier alleges two men approached, criticized the posters, and a short time later physically assaulted him. Trottier argues that the incident is as much a "hate crime" as if he had been espousing a religious position; Ryerson and Toronto Police disagree. Globe & Mail 

Campus sex offender registries ineffective

Apparently beneath the radar, colleges and universities in the US maintain their own sex offender registries, often online with names and photographs.  A recent study on these inventories found that most students (and even the offenders themselves) have very little awareness that such registries even exist.  Sex offenders who responded to the study reported that they avoid interaction with college officials because of the listings, if they know about them.  Students are not aware of the registries, therefore rather than serving a public good, they merely serve to stigmatize offenders.  Inside Higher Education

Princeton issues online acceptances

Princeton University released acceptance notices via its website for the first time last Thursday, and saw thousands of applicants log in immediately to find out whether or not they had made the cut.  The students were contacted earlier this month to arrange login information for the site, and are now able to access their application decision and financial aid details.  Postal notifications were still being sent out; the online service allowed many students to hear the verdict much sooner.  Newsday

Russian Academy refuses government demands

Last week, the Russian Academy of Sciences refused to adopt any of the government-suggested provisions for its charter, unanimously voting to leave the current charter unchanged. The current charter does not comply with recent changes to Russian law, which give President Putin power of approval over the school's president, and give the national cabinet final say over RAS' charter.  Many feel the autonomy of Russian higher education is at stake.  The Chronicle of Higher Education (Subscription Required)

US students dream of NYU before Harvard

A survey of 4,600 college applicants published in the Princeton Review reveals that New York University is still the "dream school" for US college applicants -- for the third year in a row.  Students' second choice was Harvard. Among 1,300 parents surveyed, Stanford University was the first choice, followed by Princeton. 2/3 of both parents and students reported "high" or "very high" stress levels.  The Chronicle of Higher Education (Subscription Required)