Top Ten

June 25, 2010

McMaster clinical faculty members sue university over pension plan

McMaster University is facing a $31-million class-action lawsuit launched by its clinical faculty members, who claim the institution has committed a number of improprieties and breaches of trust over the last 37 years related to pension plan contributions. The allegations, which have not yet been proven in court, are contained in a statement of claim filed in April 2007. The suit seeks $30 million in restitution and $1 million in punitive damages against McMaster. While the university has not filed a statement of defence in the case, a McMaster spokesperson indicated that negotiations are taking place between the university and the clinical faculty members. Hamilton Spectator

Supreme Court dismisses UBC class-action suit on parking fines

The Supreme Court of Canada has rejected a class-action appeal against the University of British Columbia, which challenged the university's parking enforcement policies. The decision means UBC does not have to repay $4 million in parking fines collected since 1990. Last year, the BC Supreme Court ordered the fines returned, ruling that UBC had been collecting them illegally. However, the province later introduced legislation to give universities authority to issue parking fines. CKNW AM 980

CAUT launches inquiry into firing of Balsillie School director

The Canadian Association of University Teachers has created an ad-hoc investigatory committee to inquire into the firing of Ramesh Thakur as director of the Balsillie School of International Affairs, a collaboration between the University of Waterloo, Wilfrid Laurier University, and the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI), a private think-tank founded by RIM co-founder Jim Balsillie. In a letter to the presidents of uWaterloo and WLU, CAUT expresses concern about their decision to dismiss Thakur without any stated cause, without any fair procedure, and in violation of his contract, which last year had been extended to 2013. CAUT is concerned because Thakur's termination as the school's director and subsequent termination as Distinguished Fellow by CIGI appear to be related, at least in part, to his opposition to giving CIGI a larger role in governance at the school. A report on the inquiry is expected to be prepared by September 1. CAUT News | Read the letter

Manitoba rejects most tuition hike proposals for professional programs

Manitoba's advanced education minister has turned down 10 of 12 requests from the Universities of Manitoba and Winnipeg for tuition cap exemptions. The minister accepted tuition increases for uManitoba's MBA program and faculty of dentistry. Dentistry tuition will go up by 20% in each of the next 2 years, the amount the faculty had requested. uManitoba's business school will get an additional 25% for its MBA program in each of the next 2 years, for future students only -- well below the 88% increase requested over 3 years that would have included current students. Manitoba News Release | Winnipeg Free Press

Club status for uCalgary pro-life group maintained

A University of Calgary pro-life group, of which 6 members had been found guilty of non-academic misconduct, will be able to keep its status as a club. In February 2009, the club committee of uCalgary's student union moved to revoke Campus Pro-Life's standing. The group appealed the complaint, allowing it to keep its standing during the review. The pro-life club plans to appeal the misconduct decision by uCalgary administration. Calgary Herald

St. Clair opens mediaplex

Last Thursday, St. Clair College celebrated the opening of its new mediaplex, which occupies the renovated former Salvation Army building in Windsor. The 16,000-square-foot mediaplex includes 2 computer labs, 4 classrooms, 4 television edit bays, a radio control room, and a television control room. It's expected that about 120 journalism and tourism and travel students will move into the new facility in September from the St. Clair Centre for the Arts, where classes have been held up to now. Last September, the federal government pledged $5 million for enhancements to St. Clair's journalism program. The college plans to add a public relations course next year, with publishing and media convergence studies being added in 2012. Windsor Star

Revival of football at Carleton depends on fundraising

A Carleton University football team will play in the fall season of 2012 for the first time in 13 years if the university's board of governors can reach its fundraising goal of $5 million and convince senior administration the team is financially sustainable in the long run. Carleton scrapped the football team in 1999 because it was draining a large portion of the athletics budget without producing a lot of wins. A former Ravens cornerback has pledged his support as the lead donor, and the board has already raised at least half of the $5 million required to revive the team. Carleton president Roseann O'Reilly Runte hopes renovations to facilities paid for by the donations will help the university attract a top-notch team. Ottawa Citizen

Donations to uWindsor from alumni up 17%

The University of Windsor reports a 17% increase in alumni donations over last year. A total of $928,000 was raised this academic year, $142,000 more than the previous year, and uWindsor exceeded the provincially set ceiling by 13%. The funds go to the Ontario Trust for Student Support, which is in turn matched one to one by the province. Because the university surpassed its donation ceiling, the Ontario government will match this year's donations 1.5 to 1. 41% of the donations came from Windsor, which has 36% of the alumni population, while 36% of the donations came from the Greater Toronto Area, home to 16% of the alumni population. Windsor Star

Annual-fund revenue, participation in US declines

Fewer individuals gave money to American colleges last year, and those who did donated less than usual, according to the 2009 Index of Higher Education Fundraising Performance. Although participation in annual funds has been on the decline for a few years, 2009 marked the first time that annual-fund revenue dropped as well. Surveyed institutions reported an average drop in revenue of 8% per donor. Overall, annual-fund revenue dropped 13%. These numbers are consistent with the results of this year's Voluntary Support of Education survey, which observed a record 11.9% drop in donations in 2009. The Chronicle of Higher Education (free access)

Survey finds pronounced gender gap in scientists' salaries

According to a new study published in the journal Nature, male scientists across several countries, including Canada, earn up to 40% more than their female counterparts. The survey of 10,500 scientists found that 6 to 10 years after completing their PhDs, men's salaries start to increase relative to women's. The gap also widens over time, with men's salaries 18% to 40% higher than women's. In Canada, the average salary for male scientists is around $80,000, compared to $65,000 for females. The other countries included in the study were Australia, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Spain, the UK, and the US. Maclean's OnCampus | CanWest News Service | Read the study