Top Ten

April 1, 2011

Arrests made, pepper spray used at tuition hike protest in Montreal

A protest in downtown Montreal Thursday by over 2,000 students rallying against higher tuition fees turned uncivil as the demonstration started winding down. The Canadian Press reports that riot police used stun grenades and pepper spray to disperse a group of rowdy students after scuffling with them outside a government building. 5 people were arrested throughout the demonstration. Police say the arrested individuals face charges of assault, mischief, and uttering threats. The protest coincided with a one-day strike by thousands of CÉGEP and university students. Students in Quebec have promised to fight the province's plan to raise university tuition fees by $325 a year for 5 years, starting in 2012. Canadian Press

Organizational changes at NOSM to result in 24 positions cut

The Northern Ontario School of Medicine announced Thursday it is undergoing a reshaping of its organizational structure, with changes resulting in a school-wide reduction of 24 management and staff positions. The Ontario Public Service Employees Union states NOSM's plan to layoff up to 17 of the union's members violates terms of their collective bargaining agreement. OPSEU says it will challenge "this unnecessary move." NOSM News Release | OPSEU News Release

Job cuts, program suspensions at Keyano College

Faced with a 0% grant increase, changing training requirements, and a ministry directive to review low enrolment programs, "we knew that we had to make some hard decisions coming into this budget planning process," says the chair of Alberta-based Keyano College's board of governors, which has approved a balanced budget of $73.5 million. As part of an organizational restructuring at the college, 8 staff members have received layoff notices. A number of programs are being reconfigured or changed, the Music (Certificate and Diploma) and Music Instrument Repair programs will be suspended and no longer offered, and the Computer Information Systems program will be adjusted to having an intake of students every 2 years. Keyano News

NDP pledges to hire, train more health-care professionals

NDP Leader Jack Layton announced Friday that a government led by him would work with the provinces and territories to hire 1,200 doctors and 6,000 nurses over the next decade. Layton said the NDP would also invest $80 million to upgrade medical schools, support physicians in remote areas, and forgive student loans to medical professionals who practice family medicine for at least 10 years. NDP News Release | Globe and Mail | CBC

Quebec public-sector psychologists' tactics affecting grad students

Hundreds of graduate students in psychology across Quebec are struggling to find a placement due to pressure tactics adopted by provincial public-sector psychologists seeking better wage and work conditions. In January, psychologists announced they would refuse to supervise doctoral students during their internships, a tactic chosen because it would not affect patient care, according to the association representing public-sector psychologists. While grad students say they sympathize with the psychologists' concerns, the tactic will only mean longer delays for patients seeking psychological help in the public sector, while putting the students' own careers in limbo. Montreal Gazette

Okanagan College's application to reclassify land for sports facility rejected

Okanagan College and its partners are considering their next steps after BC's Agricultural Land Commission turned down an application to reclassify 10 acres of the college's Vernon campus for a non-conforming use to allow development of a $7.8-million multi-use sports facility. In December, Okanagan College and the Regional District of the North Okanagan entered into a lease agreement giving the district the ability to affordably lease the college's land in order to construct and operate the facility. An Okanagan College dean says at this point the school will be consulting with all involved parties, including the board of governors. Okanagan College News Release

Queen's principal, fellow call for student-aid reforms

Canadian governments are setting ambitious targets for PSE, but owing to governments' fiscal woes, students and their families will continue to bear a rising portion of the total costs of a quality higher education, write Don Drummond, a fellow at Queen's University, and Daniel Woolf, principal of Queen's, in an op-ed for the Toronto Star. Without dramatic reforms to the country's financial supports for students, they write, more and more will find the path to PSE blocked by financial barriers. Woolf and Drummond argue that quality will erode if governments fail to at least maintain the current PSE spending growth rate and fail to give schools latitude on tuition. The writers suggest student-aid reforms include an increased support at the lower-end of the income scale, which should be done through a cooperative arrangement among the federal and provincial governments and PSE institutions. Toronto Star

Conestoga business degree earns international trade accreditation

Working in partnership with the Forum for International Trade Training (FIIT) -- a non-profit organization established in 1992 by Canadian industry and government powers -- graduates of Conestoga College's BBA in International Business Management will be eligible to complete a FITT skills assessment and receive a FITT Certificate in International Trade. "As this accreditation attests, our graduates have the skills and knowledge to truly compete in a global marketplace," says the chair of Conestoga's School of Business. Conestoga News Release

Lambton College announces winner in jingle contest

Lambton College has named Glen Teeple, a mature student in the school's Pre-Health program, as the winner of its jingle contest. One version of the jingle has a breezy pop sound, while another was recorded exclusively with mouth sounds for a more techno feel. In addition to awarding the $1,000 cash prize, Lambton has further hired Teeple, who has been self-employed as a sound producer in the community for the past 10 years, to produce a few more genres of the same piece of music for various advertising venues. The jingle package will be released in late spring/early summer. Lambton College News Release

Campuses celebrate April Fool's Day

On Friday, Mount Allison University posted a news release on its website announcing that Avril Lavigne would be performing at the university's Convocation Hall in August. The release said tickets for the show would go on sale at noon April 1, and could be purchased in person at the Convocation box office, by phone at 401-2011, or online at www.mta.ca/AprilFools. British Columbia Institute of Technology's website took on a black-and-white design Friday, and featured news items on the construction of a library, whose possession date is set for August 1, 1968; the institution's new IBM 360 computer; the good times at the nursing dance; and the Chemical and Metallurgical Technology department's new Tasmanian Devil mascot. Pennsylvania-based Bryn Mawr College announced April 1 a pact with Bithnian University of Science and Technology, making it the "first intergalactic partnership between a liberal arts college and an alien research university."