Top Ten

December 1, 2008

CAUT censures FNUC

Over the weekend, the Canadian Association of University Teachers voted unanimously to censure the First Nations University of Canada because of ongoing failure to resolve serious governance problems. CAUT says the university has not implemented any of the recommendations from the task force set up in 2005 to review governance issues. The association is still willing to meet with FNUC's board to find a solution so that censure can be lifted. Censure means that Canadian and international academic staff will be asked not to accept positions, deliver speeches, or participate in conferences at the university. CAUT News Release | Regina Leader-Post | CBC

Okanagan College official sues international student

Michael Patterson, the director of international marketing and promotions at Okanagan College, is suing a student from Jamaica who also worked as his assistant, claiming she defamed him by making false allegations of sexual assault and harassment. In his statement of claim, Patterson alleges the defamation has harmed his reputation in the community, and that the college has started an investigation into his alleged conduct. College officials have not commented on the case in the press. Kelowna Capital News

Laurentian U students given 2-week deadline to pay school legal costs

3 Laurentian University students who lost their legal battle this summer over the school's decision to deny them entry into a graduate biology program received an e-mail last Friday from the university's lawyers giving them 17 days to pay $42,000 for Laurentian's legal fees. The students say that ever since they lost the appeal in July, they have not heard from the school's lawyers until Friday. The 3 are scrambling to raise money and hope Laurentian will allow them to pay back in installments. The students have spent about $25,000 to hire a lawyer for a separate, $30-million lawsuit against Laurentian for being locked out of the school's animal laboratory. Sudbury Star | Our LU

Fire hits Dal residence

An off-campus Dalhousie University student residence was evacuated early yesterday morning after a fire broke out at the 14-storey building. Fire officials say the blaze started in an apartment on the 13th floor of Peter Green Hall, which is reserved for married Dal students and their families. The cause of the fire is still unknown. 3 residents reportedly went to the hospital on their own. In October, a fire erupted at a student residence at McMaster University, and it was determined to be arson. A McMaster student has been charged for causing that blaze. Canadian Press | CBC

TRU set to construct House of Learning

Last Friday, Kamloops-based Thompson Rivers University held a groundbreaking ceremony for its $32-million House of Learning. The facility will feature a new library, learning commons, and space for Aboriginal programs and services. The BC government has invested $18 million into the project, while the university is committing $5 million. The school plans to launch a capital campaign to raise the remaining $9-million for the building. TRU News Release

uCalgary launches mental health research centre

The University of Calgary announced last Friday the creation of the Mental Health Centre for Research and Education. The facility -- a partnership between uCalgary, Alberta Health Services, and the Hotchkiss Brain Institute -- will focus on the prevention and detection of and early intervention in mental illnesses. The university is alloting $2 million to equip and staff the centre, while an additional $2 million has come from donations. The centre is expected to be operational within the year. uCalgary News | Calgary Herald | CBC

VIU unveils master plan

Last week we mentioned Vancouver Island University's forthcoming master plan outlines campus safety and security as a priority. The 3-phase plan has since been released, and among its goals are the reconfiguration of transit access to the university, a new athletics centre, new trades facilities, increased student housing, and "endowment housing" VIU can use to help raise money. Because VIU's Nanaimo campus sits above old mine shafts, the water in those shafts could be used to heat the entire campus. VIU Campus Master Plan | Nanaimo Daily News

Montreal residents worry about Concordia expansion

Although Concordia University's expansion plan for the historic Grey Nuns site is still in the concept phase, area residents are already up in arms about the proposal, as they fear it would mean more noise and less green space downtown. The vision for the property, which involves demolishing 2 buildings to create an arts complex, would mean cutting 45 trees, according to Montreal's heritage council. Residents say the site should not be touched. "Visually it's going to spoil the area." Montreal Gazette

UWO to offer gender-neutral washrooms

The University of Western Ontario will join a number of Canadian universities, such as UBC and Simon Fraser University, in opening 10 gender-neutral washrooms on campus. The washrooms are designed for transgendered students, but can also be used for those wanting to breastfeed or wash up before prayer. The washrooms will be concentrated in the University Community Centre and surrounding buildings. In January, UWO will start rolling out the washrooms, which are expected to be all functional by April. London Free Press

Universities go beyond academia for presidential search

With the current financial downturn, universities are being counted on to help fuel the economy. In response, universities have become more strategic in their selection of presidents, such as looking beyond the academic realm in favour of a candidate with a corporate or government background. Factors driving schools to consider such alternatives include a shortage of academics in mid-careers and the creation of new universities. Because presidents have become more involved in fundraising and labour relations, a career in academia is not likely to prepare someone for such responsibilities. Globe and Mail