Top Ten

December 5, 2008

Apotex suit against uToronto researcher "attacks academic freedom"

The Canadian Association of University Teachers says a new lawsuit launched by generic drug maker Apotex Inc. against University of Toronto clinician Nancy Olivieri is "a blatant attack upon academic freedom." The suit claims Olivieri is in breach of a 2004 settlement of defamation claims by both parties in that Olivieri has "disparaged" the company. CAUT says Apotex appears to be defining disparagement broadly -- examples cited in the suit includes a Wikipedia entry on Olivieri, not written by her, describing her "protracted struggle" with Apotex. The suit comes at a time when Olivieri has been working through the courts to have the terms of the settlement enforced. CAUT News | Globe and Mail

NB economic stimulus plan focuses on college investments

Last Friday, the New Brunswick government rolled out the first of a series of new capital investments intended to stimulate the economy. PSE is the focus of significant investments, including a $35-million community college in Edmundston and nearly $45-million worth of community college facilities in Saint John. Premier Shawn Graham says the province will invest more than $160 million in facility construction and renovation over the next 2 years. A $660-million capital budget will be released Tuesday. CBC

Assault reported at UoGuelph

Police in Guelph say a female University of Guelph student was attacked while walking across campus around 6 am last Thursday. The woman was grabbed by the neck and then punched in the head, but was able to fight off her attacker. The suspect is described as a white man, 6-feet tall with a thin build. He was wearing dark clothing and a hoodie, and has a scar on his face. UoGuelph campus security is reminding community members to walk in pairs and along lit pathways after dark or early morning. UoGuelph Community Advisory | 570 News

Suspicious packages found at Sheridan College

Police were called to Sheridan College's campuses in Oakville and Brampton Ontario last Thursday afternoon following the discovery of suspicious packages at each campus. Oakville Today reported that the Iroquois Shore campus in Oakville was cleared of students as police were investigating. The mysterious packages were determined to be "care packages" containing "knick-knack" items. Each package was addressed to students who do not attend the college. In October, a suspicious package appeared at Ryerson University and turned out to be a hoax. Oakville Today | Update 1 | Update 2

MUN to examine campus crosswalk safety

Memorial University will review the safety conditions of a St. John's campus crosswalk where 2 people were injured recently. Last Wednesday evening, 2 pedestrians were struck by a car along a busy thoroughfare that runs between several buildings on campus. Police say driver inattention lead to the collision. Last year, a student was seriously injured at the same crosswalk. A MUN student union executive says the crosswalk needs to be more prominent. CBC

UWO, Queen's, York form neuroscience research partnership

Neuroscientists from the University of Western Ontario and Queen's and York Universities have partnered to form the Canadian Action and Perception Network (CAPnet), a major neuroscience research initiative. The consortium's research goal is to better understand how the brain works, especially in human movement control and perception, and how illness and injury can disrupt such functions. CAPnet held its first 2-day science and business meeting in Toronto last week. Western News | Queen's News Release | York News Release | CAPnet

Ontario students on social assistance to keep income

Post-secondary students in Ontario on social assistance will get to keep any employment income they earn, according to the provincial government's new anti-poverty strategy released last Thursday. Under the initiative, students' income won't be counted against any benefits they or their parents receive. The Ontario Undegraduate Student Alliance applauds the strategy, saying the government has signaled that creating access to education is an important step to reduce poverty in Ontario. Ontario News Release | OUSA News Release | Toronto Sun

"Water Cooler Gossip" offers guidance on life after graduation

McMaster University's Career Services has launched a student-written blog called "Water Cooler Gossip," which follows the academic life of Michael Pelt in his last year as an undergraduate student at the university. Pelt hopes his blog will assist fellow students in job searching, networking, and applying to grad school. The blog is running a contest in search of the worst summer job experience, with the worst story being awarded a $50 iTunes gift card. McMaster Daily News | Water Cooler Gossip

Trend in Canadian institutions experimenting with Second Life

A number of Canadian colleges and universities are exploring the use of Second Life for academic and recruitment purposes. An e-journalism course at Loyalist College is taught through Second Life, while Mohawk College runs a replica of its library in the virtual world. University Affairs cites another 10 schools that have "islands" in Second Life. The virtual world has potential for students with disabilities who might otherwise have difficulty accessing PSE. The learning curve associated with Second Life is an oft cited drawback to using it for teaching. University Affairs

Canadians use Internet to facilitate social and civic participation

According to a new Statistics Canada study, Canadian Internet users are at least as socially engaged as non-users, despite spending less time face-to-face with others. Almost 50% of users' time online is spent e-mailing or chatting with others. In 2007, 50% of home Internet users aged 16 and over used instant messaging, while 20% engaged in blogging, image posting, and group discussions. The study found Canadians used the Internet to research community events, as well as to connect with political and social issues. Statistics Canada | Read the full report