Top Ten

April 18, 2007

Virginia Tech shooter was a student

The gunman who killed 32 Virginia Polytechnic students on Monday was a student of the school himself. Cho Seung-Hui was 23 years old, an English major, a resident alien from South Korea, and is described as "a loner."  Bomb threats closed universities in Texas, Oklahoma and Tennessee yesterday.  The Chronicle of Higher Education’s homepage includes thorough coverage of the shootings and related stories from schools across the US.  Facebook members woke up this morning to find invitations to hundreds of groups formed to express grief over the events, one with more than 100,000 members by 4:00pm Tuesday. The New York Times | The Times UnionThe Chronicle of Higher Education | Canadian Press 

NSAC students visiting torn campus are safe

3 Nova Scotia students who were attending Virginia Tech as part of an exchange program are safe and sound, according to media reports.  All three are registered at Nova Scotia Agricultural College.  Maryella Maynard says “I’m all right, but I’m still in shock.  I haven’t left the dorm all day.”  Yesterday's Top Ten referenced an article about another Canadian student who was on campus during the shooting.  The Truro Daily 

Sniper safety drills at uManitoba

University of Manitoba students will be participating in "shooter-on-campus" safety early in May. It is expected that running drills with staff and students will bring any flaws in the school’s safety plan to the surface. Large colleges and universities often lack a campus-wide PA system, and instead rely on mass email and phone messages, campus radio announcements and going door-to-door when safe.  The Winnipeg Free Press

Dawson College offers advice

Time is the remedy recommended by Dawson College students and staff who experienced on-campus shootings last fall, and the Virginia Tech shootings may cause flashbacks for some Dawson students. One says, “I don’t see this causing... emotional breakdowns, but this did definitely hit close to home.  It’s a reminder.  It keeps us on our feet, and reminds us of what happened.”  The school psychologist urges VT students to talk to their friends and family, which will help with processing the events and keeping anxiety minimized.  Montreal’s mayor and college and university presidents across Canada have sent their condolences to Virginia Tech staff and students.  CBC

Holland College students demand equal treatment

The 10% UPEI tuition decrease announced in the province’s budget last week was not music to everyone’s ears.  Holland College students are asking why their college was not given the same generosity.  There are forms of financial aid available to PEI’s college students, however those interviewed say that these resources are not universally available the way a tuition reduction would have been. The Guardian

Outaouais language policy means less English

The Université du Québec en Outaouais’ board of directors has approved a new language policy that will put an end to the school’s English-language business programs.  French is to be the language of instruction at all levels, with other languages only being used for translation courses and in upper-level multilingual programs.  The English MBA program will continue in a multilingual form.  The impact of decreasing English program offerings spurred several staff and community members to voice passionate concerns against the new language policy earlier this year.  The Ottawa Citizen

Ontario students suffer from lack of funding

The presidents of three Ontario universities -- Waterloo, Laurier and Guelph -- have made a joint appeal for Ontarians to care that the province’s university students are packed into large classes and getting fewer hands-on learning opportunities. The booming class sizes are a side effect of the PSE system’s financial crisis, according to UW’s president.  The province’s 2005 "Reaching Higher" plan, which invested $6.2 billion over 5 years, was so successful that 14,000 additional students are now in the Ontario higher education system, and schools are struggling to maintain the quality of learning while accommodating the increase of students.  The KW Record

Canadian enthusiasm blows MCAT fuse

A malfunction in the MCAT registration program means that thousands of hopefuls for the August session of the test have been unable to register. Due to large numbers of applicants, the registration technology was temporarily overwhelmed.  Canadian students favour the August test year after year, rather than any of the earlier test dates.  When registration opened across the board, the high number of August hopefuls flooded the systems, and no one was able to secure a date.  Many students thought that the system was down or that there were no spots remaining.  The Manitoban Online (Student Newspaper)

A third of homeless teens stay in school

A study of teens without stable housing and others who are active in street life in communities across BC, reveals that 1 in 3 of these young people continue to attend school while living in makeshift quarters (abandoned buildings, tents, cars, squats or on the street).  Aboriginal as well as gay, lesbian and bisexual youths were over-represented in the results.  The percentage of street youth who identified themselves as Aboriginal rose from 37% to 65% from 2000.  1 in 3 of respondents was working at a legal job and 13% were parents.  UBC News Release

US student loan database ripe for mining

The personal information of 60 million US students is accessible to loan companies via a national database.  This body of information is being used in ways that violate current privacy laws. The database is maintained by the Education Department of the US government, and may be temporarily shut down because of how widespread unauthorized searching has become.  Social security numbers, email address, phone numbers, birth dates and financial information are all contained in the database. Lenders are normally allowed to search the database only if they have permission from, or are already in a financial agreement with, the student.  It is feared that lenders could be using the database to target students with advertising and mass mailings.  The Boston Globe | The Chronicle of Higher Education (Subscription Required)