Top Ten

April 12, 2008

Quebec task force recommends more tuition hikes

A provincial task force is recommending higher tuition for Quebec PSE students.  The task force was established to look at user fees, including tuition, hydro and car insurance, and discovered that Quebec collects $1.5 billion less in user fees than other provinces.  While the task force recommends a tuition hike, it is also calling for more bursaries and assistance programs to support low-income students.  Last year saw the end of a 13-year tuition freeze in Quebec, and students continue to protest the $100 hike they faced last September.  Maclean's On Campus

"Unprecedented" controversy at prospect of renewing Queen's principal

Saturday's Globe & Mail reports that the committee charged with deciding on the renewal of Queen's University principal Karen Hitchcock's contract is "divided" and will meet again in coming days. Students made clear last month that they oppose the reappointment.  Critics complain that Hitchcock has missed too many key events on campus. Supporters blame "failure to crack the old boys' club" by the first female principal of Queen's. It may be yet another example of the trend toward what we called "Precarious Presidents" in our 2007 Year in Review.  Globe & Mail

Atkinson heads to Kwantlen, 2 years later

Former president of Carleton University, David Atkinson, made headlines in 2006 when he resigned suddenly from his post, only a year into his 5 year term.  Starting July 1, Atkinson will be the new head of Kwantlen University College in BC.  Atkinson remained a tenured professor in Carleton's English department, and planned to continue teaching.  The Ottawa Citizen reports that Atkinson received a $519,000 severance package and 18 months of expenses, including a car and housing allowance -- on top of his $91,000 professor's salary.  The Ottawa Citizen

Pellet gun causes security lockdown at La Cité

Ottawa francophone college La Cité Collégiale, and a nearby Catholic high school, were briefly locked down at noon Thursday when police received 911 calls from a bus driver and a teacher reporting a youth with a handgun.  Police arrested and charged a 15-year-old boy, confiscated a pellet gun, and no shots were fired. CBC | Ottawa Sun

UCFV confident in the new BC plan for education

The University College of the Fraser Valley is undergoing an institution-wide review to adjust to the recent budget changes in BC.  The review found early on that UCFV is "ahead of the curve" to meet the province's priorities, and that the school may ultimately find opportunity in the new budget.  New funding emphasizes training, health sciences and aboriginal programs -- and UCFV has Canada's newest trades training facility, very strong health sciences programs, and growing commitments to aboriginal communities.  UCFV received the highest percentage of new seats in the province.  UCFV News Release 

Algoma expects independence this spring

A "hastily" produced update to Algoma University College's board may have "exaggerated" when it suggested the institution would receive its independent charter "within a few weeks." President Celia Ross says the school hopes to see legislation during the spring session of Ontario's parliament.  The Minister announced Algoma's independence from Laurentian University last June. Algoma has submitted their 5-year business plan to the province, has issued an RFP for rebranding, and is already hiring new staff.  The Sault Star

Is medicare owed to international students studying in Canada?

While Canada fights for a piece of the international student market, hoping to lure bright young minds that will fuel our knowledge-based economy and replace our aging workforce, many international students are denied "one of the most alluring and defining aspects of Canada."  Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, PEI, Yukon and Nunavut systematically deny medicare benefits to international students attending colleges and universities in these provinces. Students are legally obligated to purchase private insurance during their studies.  A researcher at Memorial University points out that to tax these students but deny them medicare is "a classic example of taxation without representation."  The Globe & Mail

UPEI to lead Atlantic study of Aboriginal student retention:

UPEI will lead a one-year Atlantic study on Aboriginal student retention for the Association of Atlantic Universities.  "Aboriginal students face a multitude of challenges when attending post-secondary institutions, which means their concerns and stories need to be told and heard in order to inform future program and service delivery."  The study will be released to the AAU, an association of 17 universities in the Atlantic region.  UPEI News Release

uCalgary students say "don't swipe our cards!"

The University of Calgary will stop accepting tuition payments by credit card, following in the footsteps of several other Canadian universities.  More than 600 uCalgary students have signed a petition, and about 60 marched last Friday to protest this decision.  Cutting credit cards will save the university up to $700,000 per year in transaction fees, which they say could be channeled to scholarships.  Students are frustrated that they were neither consulted, nor given notice of the decision.  The new policy goes into effect on July 1, and was announced in mid-March.  Many students say they will have no way to pay, if credit cards are cut. CBC

OCAD powers student centre with 100% green energy

The Ontario College of Art & Design has announced a new partnership with Bullfrog Power.  OCAD's Student Centre has been "bullfrogged" with clean, renewable electricity provided by Bullfrog Power, a provider of 100% green electricity. The result will reduce OCAD's carbon footprint by saving 24 tons of CO2 emissions annually.  OCAD News Release