Top Ten

July 28, 2009

Carleton terminates professor charged in fatal Paris boming

Carleton University announced yesterday that it has dismissed Hassan Diab, accused of participating in a 1980 bombing of a Paris synagogue in which 4 people were killed, from teaching a part-time summer course. B'nai Brith Canada criticized the university's decision to hire Diab for the summer, stating that "the last place in the world where this man belongs is in a university classroom, in front of impressionable students." In a statement released yesterday, Carleton said it replaced Diab with another instructor, and took the action "in the interest of providing its students with a stable, productive academic environment that is conducive to learning." Diab is expected to face an extradition hearing in January. B'nai Brith Canada News Release | Canadian Press

Transsexual accuses Conestoga of failing to address harassment

Janet Merner, a transsexual, says she was forced to quit her studies at Conestoga College due to constant harassment, and in an e-mail to the college she accuses it of condoning the harassment by not doing anything about it. Merner wants Conestoga to better educate students about transgendered individuals and amend its policy so students harassing others receive a stringent punishment. A college executive says the school takes harassment cases "very, very seriously," and points to Conestoga's Respect program and gender-neutral washrooms as evidence of its efforts to make the school a welcoming place. The executive has asked Merner, who'd like to return to school, to meet with him to discuss the issue, but she'd rather discuss it through e-mail. Waterloo Region Record

Calgary commits $10 million to new Mount Royal Conservatory

On Monday, Calgary city council agreed to set aside over $10 million from its infrastructure fund for a new conservatory and performance hall at Mount Royal College. The city will free up $8 million of that funding immediately. Earlier this month, the Alberta and federal governments each pledged $20 million to the project. Calgary Herald

"Social distancing" part of Dal's H1N1 response plan

In an effort to fight the H1N1 virus, Dalhousie University is recommending students keep their distance from one another. The institution is advising students to avoid shaking hands, hugging, or kissing; hold meetings over the phone; and maintain a one-metre distance when meeting in person. Dal officials say these are suggestions, not rules. The university is also putting up posters around campus to remind students how to stay healthy. CBC

More uWaterloo students failing English proficiency test

More and more University of Waterloo students are not passing a written English test required in their first year -- even students for whom English is their first language and who have high school grade averages in the 90s. About 30% fail the test their first time taking it, up from 25% 5 years ago. The reason for the rising failure rate may be the elimination of Grade 13 in Ontario in 2003, and the lack of standardized university entrance exams in Canada. At uWaterloo, if students continue to fail the test, and no learning disability is detected, they will be asked to leave the university. Waterloo Region Record

Queen's to introduce GPA system

A student paper at Queen's University reports the school will implement a letter grade and GPA system on all student transcripts starting in May 2011, bringing the university in line with about 95% of post-secondary institutions in North America. Faculties at Queen's currently determine their own grading systems, whether numeric or alphabetic. The move is meant to accommodate the growing number of students taking courses across faculties, and to make Queen's transcripts more compatible with other schools. Queen's Journal (student newspaper)

AUCC to participate in copyright roundtable

Today, the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada will partake in one of the ministerial roundtable discussions on copyright reform. It is AUCC's position that students and professors need to know they are not violating copyright law when using publicly-available works on the Internet, and thus the law should be amended to clarify that publicly-available material online can be used for education and training purposed without violating copyright. AUCC also argues that copyright law should allow a student to watch a lesson live online or later through a recording of a lesson. CFHSS Newsletter | AUCC Background Information -- Copyright Reform

Online ad revenues in Canada surpass $1.6 billion

According to a report released yesterday by the Interactive Advertising Bureau of Canada, Internet ad revenues in Canada exceeded $1.6 billion in 2008, up 29% from the year before, and surpassing IAB Canada's estimation of $1.5 billion for last year. Online ad revenues placed third, following TV and newspapers. Spending on Internet advertising accounted for 11% of the $14 billion spent last year on media advertising in Canada. IAB Canada Newsletter | Marketing Magazine | Read the full report

Penn State named top party school in US

For the first time, Pennsylvania State University has been chosen as the #1 party school in the US in the annual Princeton Review survey. Penn State also placed first in the categories of "lots of beer" and students who pack the stadium (the college's Beaver Stadium seats over 107,000 for football matches). For the twelfth straight year, Utah-based Brigham Young University was the top institution in the "Stone-Cold Sober Schools" category. Princeton Review News Release | Canadian Press

Blackboard ordered to repay damages in patent case against D2L

A US federal appeals court ruled Monday that part of one of Blackboard Inc.'s course-management software patents is invalid, effectively reversing a lower court's decision which forced Canadian-based Desire2Learn to pay over $3 million in damages for patent infringement. Blackboard has been ordered to repay the damages. In April, Blackboard launched another lawsuit against D2L, accusing it of infringing new US patents the American company received on its software. Inside Higher Ed | The Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required)