Top Ten

March 10, 2009

uManitoba sued over late fees

The University of Manitoba is the subject of a class-action lawsuit launched by a student over late fees charged on tuition payments, which are described as "excessive, harsh and unconscionable." uManitoba students who are late paying tuition are charged $50. If tuition is not paid after 2 weeks, students must de-register and pay another $40. A lawyer acting on behalf of the student who filed the suit says the interest rate the university charges is prohibited under the Criminal Code of Canada. uManitoba plans to file a statement of defence before the end of the month. Global Winnipeg

Sault College proposes $45-million "campus rebuild" project

Sault College plans to spend $45 million to tear down 200,000 square feet of existing college space and replace it with modern, sustainable facilities. The "campus rebuild" project would help attract students as the school aims to increase its enrolment from 1,850 students to 2,500. The college will seek funding from the Ontario and federal governments, and hopes to begin construction in 2011 to qualify for federal stimulus funds. Sault Star | Soo Today

Federal PSE infrastructure stimulus to be flexible

After sparring with some provinces and university officials over funding goals, Industry Minister Tony Clement said Monday that the federal $2-billion PSE infrastructure fund will not be limited to science and technology. Clement said the stimulus is basically for deferred maintenance related to research and development, which "can be very broadly determined and identified by the institution and by the province." Colleges and universities have until the end of the month to apply for the funding. Globe and Mail | CanWest News Service

McGill student injured in lab explosion

A McGill University student was sent to hospital with minor injuries to his face Monday afternoon after his chemistry experiment exploded, resulting in the evacuation of the Otto Maass Chemistry Building. The student was lifting the lid of a glass box containing the experiment when the explosion occurred, sending glass shards into his face and neck. Some papers and boxes in the laboratory caught on fire, but were quickly extinguished. Montreal Gazette

Layoffs part of measures to reduce deficit at Nipissing

In an effort to reduce a projected $4-million budget shortfall, Nipissing University has cut 10 support staff and management positions. In addition, all senior administrative salaries above $100,000 have been frozen, 5 sabbatical replacements will not be approved for 2009-10, certain positions and contracts will not be renewed, and service hours in some areas have been reduced. The budget shortfall comes as the result of annual increases in operating costs, a projected modest enrolment decrease, and the devaluation of endowment funds due to the economic downturn. Nipissing News | North Bay Nugget

NL asked to give up role in MUN presidential search

A report prepared by an ad hoc committee of Memorial University's board of regents recommends 4 amendments to the Memorial University Act, including one that would strip the Newfoundland and Labrador government of its authority in approving or rejecting an independent search committee's choice for a university president. The government was criticized for appearing to interfere in the search after the province's education minister rejected 2 candidates. Premier Danny Williams recently said that he would not change the law. MUN News | CBC | Canadian Press | Read the full report

uCalgary student on probation for Facebook comments about professor

In November, a 19-year-old University of Calgary student was placed on 24 months of academic probation for comments he wrote on the wall of a Facebook group criticizing his former instructor in a law and society class. The student, who claims his comments were neither threatening nor inaccurate, had his probation reduced to 6 months after he appealed. The student says he got a "raw deal" because the instructor was allegedly in a relationship with the program head, who took part in deliberations for the discipline. Calgary Sun

RDC marketing campaign promotes variety of education offerings

Red Deer College has launched a new advertising campaign highlighting its wide range of education offerings, from certificates and diplomas to apprenticeship and university transfer programs. Focusing on young children who already know their aspirations, the campaign states that "whether you know where you're headed or you don't, at Red Deer College you'll get the education you need to help pave your own career path." As part of the campaign, the college is waiving the application fee for students who apply before May 15. The campaign will run in central Alberta, Edmonton, and Calgary until May 1. RDC News Release

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Canadian institutions consider electronic acceptance letters

Like many US colleges, some Canadian institutions are experimenting with e-mail to notify applicants of admissions. Both Mount Allison and Carleton Universities e-mail students a heads-up that a decision has been made. Whether or not an online notification is used first, Canadian schools still send admission decisions through the mail. To add a personal touch, Mount Allison writes letters by hand, while York University hand delivers some offers of admission to students at their home or high school. CanWest News Service

Social networking surpasses e-mail in popular online activities

According to a new report by Nielsen Online, blogging and social networking are the fourth-most popular online activities, one spot ahead of personal e-mail. Time spent on these sites is growing twice as fast as any other category in the top 3 -- search, portals, and PC software. The report found that 67% of Internet users visit social networks and blogs, accounting for 10% of all time spent online. In 2008, the number of visitors to "member community" websites worldwide between the ages of 35 to 49 grew by over 11 million, the highest increase in any age group. Nielsen Online News Release | Globe and Mail | CTV | Read the full report