Top Ten

February 24, 2009

$34 million for campus infrastructure in NL

The Newfoundland and Labrador government announced last week that its forthcoming budget will include a $285-million increase in infrastructure spending over last year, resulting in a total of $800 million for the 2009-2010 fiscal year. The College of the North Atlantic will receive $9.5 million for its new Labrador West campus, while Memorial University and Sir Wilfred Grenfell College will be getting $12.5 million. Another $12.3-million is earmarked for repairs and equipment for post-secondary institutions. NL News Release | The Aurora

Hydro-Québec donates $8 million to UQAM

The Université du Québec à Montréal recently held a ceremony to celebrate an $8-million gift from Hydro-Québec to the university's "Prenez position pour l'UQAM" campaign, making the company the largest donor in the university's history. To recognize Hydro-Québec's contribution to scientific culture, a multi-purpose space in the UQAM Coeur des Sciences building has been named the "Hydro-Québec Agora." The gift will support scholarships, research projects, and institutional development projects. UQAM News Release

$6 million to improve PSE access for Aboriginal students in Ontario

On Tuesday, the Ontario government announced several new initiatives to provide more opportunities for Aboriginal students in the province, such as $6 million in funding from the Access to Opportunities Strategy to improve access to higher education and boost the number of Aboriginal graduates in Ontario. Other initiatives include working with the federal government and First Nation partners in talks about the future of Aboriginal post-secondary schools in the province. Ontario News Release

Students sue uOttawa over Rancourt case

A group of University of Ottawa students have launched a joint lawsuit against the university and the dean of graduate studies for breach of contract and malfeasance in public office following the recent suspension of tenured professor Denis Rancourt. A former graduate student of Rancourt's claims university administration has been "bullying" him into abandoning his NSERC-funded research project he was pursuing under Rancourt. Another graduate student claims Rancourt's suspension has resulted in him losing nearly 6 years of specialized research. Ottawa Sun

Postscript:Aug 27, 2009
On Tuesday, a University of Ottawa researcher who was terminated when the lab she worked in was shut down following the suspension (and subsequent firing) of professor Denis Rancourt settled a lawsuit against the university. The researcher's 2 fellow plaintiffs, both graduate students, allege uOttawa used "financial threats" to force them to drop their claims. Ottawa Citizen

Immigration minister calls for CUPE Ontario president's resignation

Immigration Minister Jason Kenney is calling on members of CUPE Ontario to get rid of president Sid Ryan over critical comments he made earlier this year about Israel, for which he later apologized. Kenney says Ryan is "using totally irresponsible language which is reinforcing a very dangerous opinion environment for many Jewish students on our campuses," citing a recent incident at York University. Over the weekend, CUPE Ontario passed a motion to boycott Israeli academic institutions. Ottawa Sun

Students' information potentially exposed in Ryerson software error

Ryerson University plans to notify nearly 600 individuals whose personal information may have been exposed due to a glitch found in the school's course registration system. Ryerson became aware of the incident after 3 students contacted the university in late December and early January after encountering an error in the system. An investigation has found that up to 363 other individuals may have viewed the exposed information, and those people will be contacted about their experience using the system. Ryerson News Release | Toronto Star | National Post | Canadian Press

Delay in Grenfell autonomy questioned

Students and faculty at Sir Wilfred Grenfell College are frustrated that the Newfoundland and Labrador government has not yet delivered on its promise to make the college independent of Memorial University. Last July, Education Minister Joan Burke announced a delay in Grenfell's autonomy, saying there was insufficient time to properly debate the legislation. A Grenfell professor and member of MUN's senate says it's "inexcusable" that the province will not say when changes are coming. The professor says that without autonomy, the college cannot create degree programs or recruit students and faculty. CBC

BCIT launches Rivers Institute

Through a $1-million donation from environmental philanthropist Rudy North, the British Columbia Institute of Technology has established the Rivers Institute, the first of its kind in the province. The institute will conduct state-of-the-art river-related research, as well as work to increase public awareness about the importance of waterways. The Rivers Institute will play a leading science-based role in key management issues while partnering with existing programs at BCIT, such as Canada's first stand-alone Ecological Restoration degree. BCIT News Release

uToronto, McMaster included in bids for 2015 Pan Am Games

Toronto city council has put up a $49.5-million bid to host the Pan American games in 2015. In a near-unanimous vote, council agreed to help fund a new aquatics and athletics centre at the University of Toronto's Scarborough campus. The university will commit $37.5 million as its share of the swimming facility. Meanwhile, the City of Hamilton has made a $60-million bid, with a new aquatic centre planned for McMaster University. Globe and Mail | McMaster Daily News | Hamilton Spectator

Waterloo approves Balsillie School of International Affairs

On Monday evening, Waterloo city council unanimously approved the Balsillie School of International Affairs project. "This has a wow factor. It will attract international attention." Construction of the campus, which will be built on land once belonging to the Seagram distillery, will begin next year. RIM co-founder Jim Balsillie is donating $33 million to the graduate school, while the University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University are contributing $25 million over 10 years. Kitchener-Waterloo Record