Top Ten

September 18, 2008

Kwantlen student union GM threatened over lawsuit

The general manager of the Kwantlen Polytechnic University Student Association received a death threat last Friday, warning him to stop a lawsuit against former association executives over fund mismanagement. The letter says if Desmond Rodenbour doesn't do anything about the lawsuit, police will find another severed foot washed up on BC's coastline. Police and Kwantlen security are taking the matter very seriously in light of the suit. College security is escorting Rodenbour to and from campus, and police have given him 911 priority response status. Vancouver Province

Concordia projects $4-million deficit

Concordia University will be making programming and hiring cuts as university administrators are predicting a $4-million deficit. The deficit for the 2008/2009 was originally projected to be $14 million, but after a series of reductions, the shortfall was lowered to under $4 million. The Corcordian, a student newspaper, reported that teaching and research assistants would be affected, but Concordia's vice-president of academic affairs says that won't be the case. After the Quebec government changed the funding formula for university programs in 2006, Concordia experienced a $11-million drop in its revenues. The university's operating costs are rising twice the rate of increase in government funding. A Concordia official says that low tuition is one factor inhibiting the university's growth. The Concordian (student newspaper)

Postscript: The following letter was sent to The Concordian:

Dear Editor,

Concordia's financial situation is complex and difficult to understand, and while I am grateful to Andrew Haig for interviewing me, some key statements in his lead article of September 9 are erroneous and do not reflect what I said during our interview.

What I actually said, simply stated, was as follows.

Concordia University originally projected a budget deficit of approximately $14 million for 2008-09, after a similar deficit in 2007-08. The implementation of a series of focused reductions in some areas allowed us to reduce this projected deficit to some $10M. A further across-the-board 2% reduction, uniformly applied to administrative and academic operations, achieved a further saving of $6M, leaving a final projected shortfall of just under $4M, which was approved by the Board of Governors at its June meeting.

As I said during the interview, Concordia administrators are now having to make some very difficult decisions. One principle we have all applied is to do our utmost to minimize the impact on students and on core academic operations. Inevitably, despite our best efforts, there will be some impact both direct and indirect. To say that teaching assistants are on the chopping block, however, is both wrong and irresponsible.

In closing, I do want to thank Mr Haig for underscoring my remarks concerning the need for students to take some ownership of our structural budgetary problem, which can be permanently solved only if we all work together.

David Graham -- Provost and VP, Academic Affairs

CAUT may censure uWindsor over strike-related memo

The Canadian Association of University Teachers may censure the University of Windsor over a memo sent to professors prior to them going on strike. In the memo, uWindsor's vice-president academic told staff that if they wanted to have research grant applications signed by school deans, they must sign a form indicating they are abstaining from the strike. In a statement, uWindsor president Alan Wildeman says the university will re-evaluate its position on the matter. Windsor Star | uWindsor Strike Info

Ryerson students upset over non-academic code of conduct

Ryerson University students are denouncing the school's latest version of its non-academic code of conduct, calling it "paternalistic" and a violation of their privacy. The code applies to student conduct whenever they "represent the university." In addition to criminal acts, students are forbidden to consume illegal drugs, engage in excessive drinking, or spread malicious gossip. "We feel it's an infringement on the privacy of students in order to uphold the Ryerson brand." Last month, the University of Ottawa withdrew its controversial draft non-academic code of conduct. Toronto Star | Ryerson Student Code of Non-Academic Conduct

Centennial sets sights on operating Guild Inn site

A City of Scarborough committee has approved Centennial College's proposal to convert the historic Guild Inn into a think-tank and administrative hub for a Culture and Heritage institute, to be run by Centennial's School of Hospitality, Tourism and Culture. If the plan is accepted by city council, Centennial may enter into a deal with a private developer to build a boutique hotel and conference centre on the site. The college plans to offer a degree in cultural tourism by 2010, when it hopes to have completed the deal and redevelopment.

Postscript: Aug 7, 2009
On Wednesday, Toronto city council endorsed the terms of a Letter of Intent with Centennial College, putting the school a step closer in its bid to restoring the Guild Inn property in Scarborough. The college can now enter into binding lease negotiations with Toronto city staff to finalize a 76-year sub-lease agreement for the site. Centennial plans to redevelop the site as a new hotel and conference centre complex. Centennial News Release

uManitoba opens Centre for Creative Writing and Oral Culture

Last Wednesday, the University of Manitoba opened its Centre for Creative Writing and Oral Culture, the first of its kind in Canada. The centre was created to provide a space for students, scholars, and visiting artists to collaborate and design works of verbal art, as well as study the relationships between oral and written culture. The CCWOC will offer a series of lectures, workshops, and public events designed to bring oral stories and literature into Manitoba communities. uManitoba News

Lindros Legacy Research building sign unveiled

On Tuesday, the London Health Sciences Centre's University Hospital unveiled the signage of its Lindros Legacy Research building, named after former NHL star Eric Lindros. In November, Lindros contributed $5 million to the facility and the Fowler Kennedy Sports Medicine Clinic, both affiliated with the University of Western Ontario. Plans for the research building's interior are awaiting approval from the Ontario Ministry of Health. Once approved, construction of the interior should be completed within a year. London Free Press |

Website, book celebrates uAlberta centennial

In preparation for the 100th anniversary of its official first day of classes on September 23, the University of Alberta has unveiled 2 new resources to commemorate uAlberta's centennial. On Tuesday, the university launched a new multimedia website, detailing uAlberta's history through video and audio clips, photographs, and archival documents. The website launch coincided with the unveiling of the official uAlberta history book All True Things, writen by former uAlberta history professor and alumnus Rod Macleod. Edmonton Journal | All True Things | U of A Centenary

Yukon College drops general mechanics program

Yukon College has cancelled its general mechanics program because of a lack of interest, despite a seemingly high demand for mechanics in the territory. While the college's other trades programs are full, the mechanics program had just 1 applicant by August. The college is contacting schools in northern BC and Alberta to see if similar programs are experiencing dropping enrolment. The college is considering overhauling its trades programs, in part by envisioning what industry demands would be like in 5 years. CBC