Top Ten

April 10, 2007

Israel student walkout planned today

College and university students across Israel are planning a national strike starting today, in protest of the rising cost of PSE -- according to an Israeli newspaper.  Students want more than $243 million in cuts to be restored, and proposed tuition increases to be withdrawn.  As many as 250,000 students will participate in the strike, which is not anticipated to be a short struggle.  Lecturer associations and faculty members support the protest. The Chronicle of Higher Education (Subscription Required)

TRU opens Williams Lake campus

Thompson Rivers University opened its new $15.2 million Williams Lake campus last week, creating space for 1,000 additional students.  The campus will hopefully fuel the Williams Lake area, and build a local skills base in the community in fields such as nursing, child and youth care, and trades.  The campus received $12 million in provincial funds, covers almost 7,000 square feet, and is completely wireless.  BCMAE News Release

uToronto quits tobacco

The University of Toronto has acceded to the demands of student petitions and protest groups, and announced that it will divest all tobacco industry investments.  uToronto will be the first higher education institution in Canada to do so.  23 US institutions have already divested, including Harvard, Stanford and John Hopkins.  In 2005, uToronto held just over $10.5 million in tobacco industry stocks.  The student group E-BUTT (Education Bringing Youth Tobacco Truths) hopes more Canadian institutions will follow.  The Globe & Mail  | E-BUTT News Release  |  CTV Health 

April Fool's edition of UWO Gazette offends widely

Women's activists and general readers alike are saying that the UWO Gazette's "Spoof" issue was inappropriate and offensive.  The issue of the student newspaper, which is not archived on the paper's website with its other issues, is accused of satirizing rape, violence against women and homosexuality.  57% of voters on the Gazette's website poll said the issue was either offensive or "stunk!"  Jenna Owsianik, who is believed to be the inspiration for the story's "Jennifer Ostrich," says she feels raped by the portrayal, and that the severity and violence of the article shocked and terrified her.  | Post-Secondary Blog  |  The Gazette

Watch JMSB construction on webcam

As announced last October, the John Molson School of Business at Concordia University is getting a new building -- 15 floors and 2 basements, in fact, to be completed by 2009.  $60 million from the province supports the project, with a mandatory requirement to spend some of the funds on artwork.  The building will include classrooms, lounge areas, special event spaces, study areas and a "floating" events area above the atrium, as well as a 300-seat auditorium.  Construction has already begun, and progress can be seen via a time-lapse webcam on the project website.  Concordia News Release |

Students more confrontational over grades

uAlberta professor Mike Harrington is shocked by how comfortable students are contacting him personally to complain about their grades.  As final grades are handed out this month, instructors expect to receive phone calls, emails and personal visits from students who disagree with the results.  Two key drivers of the trend are increased competition for the same number of scholarships, and pressure from home -- some moms and dads even make the phone calls themselves, demanding higher marks from profs.  The current Canadian student population is confident and comfortable challenging an instructor's marking logic, or making a deal. The Vancouver Sun

BC workforce seeks disabled workers to avoid shortfall

BC's "10 by 10 Initiative" asks the province's employers to increase employment of disabled persons by 10% by 2010.  Kwantlen University College has been offering employment services to disabled persons for the last 20 years, and is promoting its Access Programs for People with Disabilities Job Placement Services as ready to help the province meet its goal.  Without tapping non-traditional demographics, the BC workforce is in danger of falling short for the demand created by the 2010 Olympics.  Kwantlen Email News Release

Provinces recruit international grads

A Malaysian website happily reports that universities in Ontario, Quebec, Alberta and British Columbia are specifically targeting international students to their grad programs, and have "set up measures to attract top students, including giving out various financial aid packages."  uOttawa's VP Academic (International) says the school's research budget is very healthy, and they are able to offer more grants and student funding. He also states that international students lead schools to international research, which is where his school wants to be.  uCalgary has stated that their goal is to guarantee funding for any research-based masters or PhD student.  TheStar (Malaysia)

UBC budget cuts mean larger classes, fewer programs

UBC's student newspaper reports that $20 million in spending cuts are to be spread proportionally across UBC's faculties, with each facing a 4.4 to 5.2 % budget decrease.  The Faculty of Arts has apparently frozen 30 positions because of its assigned $3.2 million cut -- meaning that 120 class sections will not be taught next year. The Dean says that increased class sizes are "inevitable," and smaller classes face being eliminated completely.  Other faculties are offering fewer electives, and the film program may not be offered to future students.  The Ubyssey (Student Newspaper)