Top Ten

July 30, 2009

CAUT urges Carleton to reinstate professor accused of fatal bombing

The Canadian Association of University Teachers is condemning Carleton University's decision to terminate the employment of Hassan Diab, who is accused of participating in a fatal bombing of a Paris synagogue nearly 30 years ago. CAUT says Diab's bail conditions allow him to work as an academic, and Carleton administrators knew of his situation when his was hired to teach a part-time summer course. CAUT calls the university's action "a serious violation of basic rights and procedures," and urges Carleton to immediately reinstate Diab. CAUT News 

UBC student appeals decision in religious discrimination suit against university

A University of British Columbia student is appealing a BC Supreme Court judge's rejection of her $18-million lawsuit against the institution in which she alleged UBC discriminated against her as a Christian and subjected her to hatred and contempt in the school's graduate English department. In January 2008, the judge ruled there was no evidence to support the student's claim. The case is awaiting responses by August from UBC and 4 professors named in the suit. Xtra West | 2009 BCCA 326 Maughan v. University of British Columbia

Budget cuts at uSask lead to job reductions

According to a memo sent to the University of Saskatchewan community this week, some 60 positions will be cut as a result of a permanent $10-million reduction in uSask's budget over the next 2 fiscal years. Many of the jobs being eliminated are or will be vacant. The budget cuts may also mean larger class sizes, fewer course offerings, and reduced library hours, the latter of which will be offset by increased online services and extra safe study hours. Due to the Saskatchewan government's lifting of the tuition freeze, uSask students will face tuition increases ranging from 3% to 7.5%. The budget adjustments were prompted by significant devaluations of the university's key investments. Read the memo | Saskatoon Star-Phoenix

Support staff at McMaster vote to strike

58% of McMaster University support workers belonging to the Canadian Auto Workers Local 555 have voted in favour of strike action if necessary. The group, which includes 2,200 employees ranging from medical secretaries to bookstore staff, have another 3 days of contract talks scheduled before becoming eligible to strike on September 1. CAW-represented workers held a rally yesterday to protect the pension plan of current and future support staff at McMaster. CAW News Release | Hamilton Spectator

Acadia staff make concessions to help financial situation

To contribute to the financial well-being of Acadia University, 2 of the 3 employee groups at the university have agreed to participate in the federal government's Work-Sharing Program in which employees would work reduced hours while the remaining hours would be covered by Employment Insurance. Acadia hopes Ottawa will approve program funding soon as summer would be the best time to cut back on working hours. Senior administration at Acadia has already accepted a 5% reduction in salary. Kings County Register

WLU prof says first-year students lack basic math skills

David Vaughan, the head of Wilfrid Laurier University's math department, argues that many students coming out of high school do not have the basic math skills required for university programs such as science and business, and "the problems have gotten worse." Vaughan says the issue should be addressed at the secondary school level, and has spoken to high school math teachers about it. While one school board superintendent says there are many variables at play other than academic preparedness, Vaughn argues math deficiencies are evident before students even start university, as WLU requires that all students enrolled in first-year calculus take an online exam over the summer to demonstrate their math skills, and a quarter to a third of students fail the test. Waterloo Region Record

Concordia #1 Canadian university in MINES ParisTech world ranking

Concordia University is the top Canadian university listed in the École de Mines de Paris' third annual International Professional Ranking of Higher Education Institutions, placing 28 out of 377 post-secondary schools worldwide. Other Canadian universities listed include Queen's (42), uToronto (64), McGill (84), uManitoba (88), uMontréal and UWO (tied for 89), WLU and uWaterloo (tied for 216), and Carleton and uWindsor (tied for 343). The MINES ParisTech ranking is based on the number of alumni listed among CEOs of Fortune 500 companies. MINES ParisTech 2009 Ranking

SFU breaks ground for women's softball field

Simon Fraser University held a sod-turning ceremony yesterday for a playing field for its women's softball team, which has been without a home field since its inception in 1990. The project is being funded by a $500,000 donation from the Keith and Betty Beedie Foundation to SFU Athletics' "Bring Our Teams Home" campaign. The foundation has also launched a challenge to match dollar for dollar any gifts made towards the field construction, up to an additional $250,000. The team's coach says the field, to be named after the Beedies, will be well suited for hosting visiting NCAA teams. SFU News Release

Gender gap widens in record college enrolment for Boston high school graduates

College attendance among Boston public high school graduates is at a record high, according to a report from Northeastern University. 78% of 2007 graduates enrolled at 2- and 4-year colleges, representing a 9% gain over the class of 2000. The report also shows young women are far outpacing their male peers regarding college attendance. 82% of female graduates were enrolled in college, about 10% higher than male graduates. While efforts by state policy-makers and local schools are being credited for the overall rising college-going rate, the report recommends further research into strategies to improve the outlook for urban male high school students. [email protected] | Boston Globe | Read the full report

"Awkward turtle"

If you're not familiar with this expression, you can look it up in the sixth edition of UCLA's college slang dictionary, released Wednesday. The dictionary, launched in 1989 and produced every 4 years, is developed in conjunction with an undergraduate linguistics course. Entries appearing in the latest edition include "Schwa" (wow), "Napster" (to interrupt), and "Obama" (cool or rad). UCLA Newsroom | USA Today