Top Ten

March 25, 2008

Student protesters at uToronto forcibly evicted

Student (and non-student) protesters objecting to a "20% hike" in residence fees and the war in Iraq, apparently, spent 4 hours occupying a hallway in a University of Toronto administration building without gaining an audience with senior administration. When campus police moved in to remove them from campus, the students videotaped alleged "police brutality" (which a Maclean's columnist calls "some really bad acting by the protesters"). The protesters now claim to be considering legal action. Maclean's On Campus | YouTube Video

Postscript (March 26):

President David Naylor posted an open letter on Monday contrasting "those students who engage constructively with the administration" with those who "conduct themselves in a fashion antithetical to the University’s values and traditions of peaceful assembly." Although he was off-site the day of the sit-in, staff in the Provost's office were stressed by the aggressiveness and profanities screamed by the group, and a VP was forcibly confined in her office. Toronto Police will be considering laying charges. David Naylor's message

Postscript (April 30):

Toronto Police have now charged 14 students and organizers with the sit-in. They have been released on strict bail conditions, and uToronto is investigating 12 students under the Code of Student Conduct. The Committee of Just Education is calling for support for the charged students, and is circulating a petition to have the charges dropped. Committee for Just Education

uVic struggles to find humane way to deal with pesky rabbits

The University of Victoria is reportedly considering population control of its overwhelming rabbit community.  Students argue that the bunnies, which are seen as the school's mascot, are part of the campus.  The critters are accused of damaging campus gardens, sports fields and construction projects, and have also been generating complaints from neighbours. Although an accurate census is lacking, estimates place the campus bunny population in the thousands.  The Globe & Mail

Developer proposes Royal Roads satellite in Canmore

The mayor of Canmore, Alberta has "an overabundance of skepticism" about preliminary suggestions that Corporate Hospitality Developments would like to construct a "university resort village" affiliated with Royal Roads University, of Victoria BC. The proposed development might include a convention centre, hotel, condos, and satellite university campus for 104 students. The Rocky Mountain Outlook reports that RRU is in "preliminary discussions" with CHD, which is currently developing a site next to RRU in Victoria. Rocky Mountain Outlook


Deborah Irvine, VP University Relations at Royal Roads University, clarifies that "we have no plans to open a satellite campus in Canmore at this time.  While Corporate Hospitality Developments (CHD) raised this idea with Royal Roads about 18 months ago, no further discussions have been held since that time.  We were neither aware of, nor involved, in the developer's presentation to Canmore town council, which was covered by the local newspaper, Rocky Mountain Outlook. Royal Roads University has been involved in discussions with CHD regarding property adjacent to our Victoria campus, but these discussions are specific to that location only."   

US Patriot Act undermines privacy of Lakehead emails

Google has been shining a spotlight on Lakehead University ever since the school made the decision to switch its 8,000 students and faculty over to Google email more than a year ago.  The switch saved Lakehead "hundreds of thousands of dollars" in equipment and operating costs, but comes with a disadvantage. The Patriot Act allows Homeland Security to obtain silent access to any emails or attachments stored on US soil, and to use information gathered to build dossiers on Canadian citizens. Lakehead's faculty cite grievances against administration for violations of their collective agreement, and Canadian privacy legislation.  The Globe & Mail  |  University Affairs

YouTube, Vancouver Film School team up for online video contest

The Vancouver Film School and YouTube have launched a new contest that will help would-be filmmakers, and increase awareness of VFS as well.  Entrants are challenged to create the best video, animation or pitch on the theme of "What matters to you."  VFS will pick 10 finalists, on which YouTube viewers will then vote.  3 winners will receive full scholarships to any of the school's 14 entertainment-arts programs.  Broadcast Yourself | The Chronicle of Higher Education | Squared Peg

York students get new double-decker bus rides to campus

Double-Decker GO Buses

How do you increase public transit capacity when 1,400 buses a day already enter the York University campus? The long-term answer is a subway line, but in the meantime, GO transit has unveiled a new line of double-decker buses that will travel the Oakville-Mississauga line through to York University.  The new buses have an extra 21 seats.  Maclean's On Campus | GO Transit

Loyalist president urges youth to consider trades

Maureen Piercy, the president of Loyalist College, says that young people need to change their attitudes toward the skilled trades.  The Conference Board of Canada estimates that Canada will be short more than 360,000 skilled workers by 2025, and up to 560,000 by 2030.  Piercy blames the stigma attached to skilled trades.  A Queen's University survey found less than 6% of grade 11 and 12 students were considering apprenticeships.  The Belleville Intelligencer 

Invest in new students, or lose them

A new student's first weeks on campus often determine persistence in his or her program.  An American Survey of Entering Student Engagement (SENSE), released this week, has found that few new students are aware of campus services, and only 20% felt welcome when first coming to campus.  If community colleges were to reach out earlier and more aggressively regarding academic advising, orientation and financial aid, students would be happier, more productive, and more likely to complete their degrees.  The Chronicle of Higher Education (Subscription Required)

NCAA championships will increase applications by 8%

Anecdotally, some US colleges have seen applications increase 25 or 30% following an impressive showing in NCAA athletics -- but now a study of 330 institutions has quantified the "Flutie effect." Researchers at Virginia Tech and the uPenn Wharton School conclude that schools ranked in the "Sweet 16" of men's NCAA basketball typically see a 3% jump in applications the following year, and that applications climb up to 8% if a school wins the national football championship.  Maclean's On Campus 

Something you might want to work into your next alumni newsletter

A new study by researchers at the University of British Columbia and the Harvard Business School concludes that money does in fact buy happiness -- when you spend it on others!  Regardless of income level, individuals reported increased happiness when they spent as little as $5 "pro-socially" on gifts or charitable donations, rather than on themselves.   UBC News Release