Top Ten

August 3, 2010

Quebec siblings sue CÉGEP over fitness test

2 siblings are taking Cégep de Lévis-Lauzon to court and suing for $25,000 each, claiming the fitness test at the school is illegal, unreasonable, and violates their charter rights. Despite both being sports-minded and active, the siblings were unable to pass a cardio-respiratory fitness test, and did not improve their scores a second time. Because the test counted for half of their final physical education grade, they failed their course. As a result, neither sibling could obtain a college degree. The sister has since been admitted to Université Laval's law school this fall, pending receipt of her diploma, while her brother was given a one-year reprieve from uLaval to allow him to attend university last year. A CÉGEP spokeswoman told a Quebec City newspaper last month that the failure rate of the fitness test was "really not high." The test, introduced at the CÉGEP in 2000, was designed to give students a "healthy mind in a healthy body," the spokeswoman said. In a letter included in the siblings' lawsuit, Quebec's education ministry expresses "extreme concern" over the use of a tool measuring physical performance, which ends up worth 50% of a student's final grade. Globe and Mail

STU, students discuss policy on putting condoms in orientation kits

St. Thomas University students and administration will meet to discuss a policy on including condoms in Welcome Week kits distributed to first-year students. The Welcome Week organizing committee had put in a request to the university to add condoms to the kits, but the request was denied because condoms are already available in other parts of campus. While STU does not have a policy against the inclusion of condoms in the orientation kits, it has been a "long-standing practice." STU's president is considering the request through the creation of a sexual health committee comprising students, staff, and faculty. Daily Gleaner | CBC

uAlberta ramping up alcohol education following survey results

University of Alberta staff are preparing up for another round of alcohol education after a new survey revealed numerous cases of students drinking excessively, missing classes after drinking, and having non-consensual sex or sexual experiences they later regret. Of the 520 students who sought out the "Check Yourself" survey, 195 reported missing class after drinking, 66 reported regretting a sexual experience, 20 reported having sex with someone without consenting to it because they were drunk, and 11 reported being taken to a hospital emergency room. The survey also suggests that first-year students show slightly fewer drinking problems than other students. At orientation this year, new uAlberta students will be given cards bearing the survey's Web address, and asked to visit the site if they have concerns about their drinking. Edmonton Journal

US investigation uncovers deception in for-profit college recruitment

A US government report on the findings of an undercover investigation of for-profit colleges' recruitment tactics reveals admissions and financial aid officers engaged in unethical, sometimes illegal, practices. At 4 of the 15 for-profits visited for the investigation, officials encouraged undercover "applicants" to submit fraudulent financial information in order to qualify for federal aid. Representatives from 13 institutions provided applicants with false or misleading information about graduation rates, guaranteed them jobs after graduation, or inflated their likely earnings. The report, along with accompanying undercover footage, is the result of a 3-month effort by Congress's Government Accountability Office. The report will be made public today at a US senate committee's second oversight hearing on the for-profit sector. Inside Higher Ed | The Chronicle of Higher Education (free access)

Canada should do more to attract international students

While positive steps have been taken in recent years to attract top foreign students to Canada, more should be done, particularly with financial incentives, writes University of Western Ontario president Amit Chakma in a column published in Monday's Globe and Mail. Providing international students with access to affordable health care would eliminate another financial burden, he writes. Once these students graduate from Canadian universities, states Chakma, we must make it easier for them to make Canada their home. Meanwhile, he writes, Canadian universities, in partnership with government and the private sector, must find new ways to help domestic students overcome obstacles of studying abroad, at a time when fewer than 3% of Canadian undergraduates study overseas. Globe and Mail

Ontario needs to provide more answers on proposed wage freeze, says OCUFA president

The Ontario government still needs to answer some hard questions about its proposed compensation restraint, writes Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations president Mark Langer in a column published in Monday's Toronto Star. Provincial universities are being asked to accept a 2-year wage freeze. Langer states we cannot short-change Ontario's universities and its employees. Taking money out of the university system would erode the quality of education, he writes, and high-quality institutions are needed to produce the skilled workforce, research, and innovation required to get the economy moving again. We need to find a way to support a vibrant university system that delivers value to Ontario while providing fair compensation to its employees, Langer states. Toronto Star

Accreditation priority for new uSask business dean

In an interview with the Globe and Mail, Daphne Taras, the new dean of the University of Saskatchewan's Edwards School of Business, says she would like to see the school accredited. The school is looking at the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, and Taras plans to have the application done by September. She would also like to position the business school so that it is producing professionals, pointing to the school's reputable masters of professional accounting program. Taras says she'll make the integrity of Saskatchewan a competitive advantage at the school. By the "integrity of Saskatchewan," she is referring to the reputation of graduates of Saskatchewan as having a great work ethic and no entitlement mentality. Globe and Mail

UC Berkeley urged to end research partnership with BP

Activists and professors at the University of California, Berkeley are calling on the institution to end its research partnership with BP. In 2007, the oil company gave UC Berkeley a $500-million grant to establish the Energy Biosciences Institute, which works to develop new sources of plant-based fuel. The 10-year deal has outraged many students and faculty members who worry BP will exert too much influence over academic research and damage the institution's reputation. Now, as BP's oil spill devastates the Gulf Coast, some local activists and professors say it's time for the partnership to end. UC Berkeley officials say the institute has nothing to do with the oil spill, and the university has no plans to sever its research partnership with BP. Associated Press

U. of Georgia named top party school in US

The University of Georgia has been chosen as the #1 party school in the US in the annual Princeton Review survey, released Monday. Georgia replaces Pennsylvania State University, which took the top spot in the category last year. Brown University, in Rhode Island, placed first in the "happiest students" category. Utah's Brigham Young University remains the top institution in the "stone-cold sober schools" category, holding the title for the thirteenth straight year. Princeton Review News Release | Associated Press

University of Ottawa Press publishes collection of open-access books

Last Friday, the University of Ottawa Press (UOP) made 36 of its books available free to the online community, an initiative under the UOP's digital publishing plan. The collection consists of both English- and French-language in-print titles in the arts, humanities, and social sciences. In December, the University of Ottawa launched an open-access program, which includes a commitment to make research easier to consult through its institutional repository, to provide funds to researchers wanting to publish their work in open-access journals, and to award grants for research on the open-access movement. uOttawa News Release