Top Ten

September 22, 2011

McGill student files human-rights complaint over blackface incident at HEC Montréal

A McGill University law student who filmed a group of white HEC Montréal students in blackface during orientation week is filing a complaint with the Quebec Human Rights Commission. The incident at a school sporting event involved students dressed in Jamaican colours with their skin painted black and chanting in mock Jamaican accents. The Université de Montréal affiliated management school has formally apologized and acknowledged the incident showed ignorance. The McGill student, who is of Jamaican descent, welcomes HEC's apology as a sign the school "is handling this as a serious matter," but he believes a complaint will be instructive. HEC officials say they are not surprised the McGill student is going ahead with the complaint. The management school is conducting its own investigation to prevent similar events in the future. Business experts say HEC should act quickly to maintain its academic reputation. CBC | HEC Montréal News

Group of Mount Allison alumni aim to save historic campus library

Some Mount Allison University alumni plan to meet with the institution's board of regents today in the hope of saving the old, vacant Memorial Library, which the university wants to demolish in order to build a $30-million fine and performing arts centre. Proponents of saving the historic facility have begun an online petition that has garnered over 1,500 signatures and "some very heartfelt comments." One organizer says he has an issue with the fact Mount Allison raised funds from alumni by promising to save all or part of the library. Noting that it would have cost an estimated $5 million to save the building, a Mount Allison official says the institution has tried to find a compromise. Plans for the arts centre include saving the library's main entrance. That compromise is not good enough for the organizer, who says the facility is too important to be torn down. CBC

Fanshawe purchases first building as part of downtown arts campus project

Fanshawe College announced yesterday it has bought the former Royal Trust building in downtown London, Ontario, which comprises the first phase of the college's proposed $40-million plan for the School of Applied and Performance Arts. Over the next decade, Fanshawe will acquire other facilities -- potentially including heritage properties -- in the downtown core, developing approximately 110,000 square feet of learning space that will ultimately accommodate over 1,000 students and 75 staff members. Detailed designs for renovations on-site will start almost immediately after the sale of the former Royal Trust building closes next month, with the goal of welcoming 200 students in September 2013. Fanshawe News | London Free Press

Keyano opens Fort Chipewyan campus

Northern Alberta's Keyano College celebrated the grand opening of its new campus in Fort Chipewyan Tuesday. The $3.5-million campus features 7 classrooms than can accommodate 70 to 100 students, and is the college's permanent home in the hamlet. A Keyano official says the new campus has been a long time coming, and is an important step in the expansion of the institution's educational reach. The facility will give more Wood Buffalo residents the opportunity to obtain education and training, through traditional classroom lectures and online and distance learning. About 50 students are currently enrolled at the campus, whose resources include a library, a student reception area, and a student lounge. Keyano News Release | Fort McMurray Today

SAIT receives combined $4-million gift for Trades and Technology Complex

SAIT Polytechnic announced Wednesday a combined $4-million donation to the institution. Alumnus Doug Ramsay and his wife Susan have made a $3-million donation, and their friend and business partner Ron Mathison has also pledged a $1-million contribution toward SAIT's "Promising Futures" Campaign for its Trades and Technology Complex, set to be completed in 2012. In recognition of the gifts, the third floor of the Johnson-Cobbe Energy Centre in the complex will be named the Ramsay Centre for Petroleum Engineering Technology. The 57,000-square-foot Ramsay Centre will feature the Mathison Drilling and Geosciences Lab Suite, which will house a state-of-the-art drilling simulator. SAIT News Release

Manitoba Green Party proposes free PSE

As outlined in its election platform, released Wednesday, Manitoba's Green Party pledges to reduce tuition fees and improve education quality by redirecting post-secondary tax credits, with a long-term goal of eliminating tuition fees to create universally accessible higher education in the province. The party also proposes creating training programs in eco-trades, such as community composting and green building, with the possibility of launching a special Sustainability College under The College Acts of Manitoba. Platform Summary | Full Platform

Sault College grows 30% since 2008

Sault College reports that first-year enrolment is up 5%, with 1,462 first-year full-time post-secondary students now on campus. Health Sciences leads in enrolment growth at the Sault Ste. Marie-based institution with a 17.8% rise in first-year registered students. Other fields seeing marked increases include pre-trades (10.7%), and engineering, skilled trades, and aviation (7.4%). Overall enrolment at Sault College is up 2% in all years across the institution. Since 2008, the school has grown by 30%, with a total of 2,439 current full-time post-secondary students, compared to 1,887 in 2008. Total enrolment has now surpassed 4,000 students, including apprenticeships and adult training programs, as well as the Aircraft Structural Repair program being delivered at the college's London site. Sault College News Release

Animated video outlines new service model for UBC Enrolment Services

The University of British Columbia's Enrolment Services (ES) department has produced a video, directed primarily at ES staff, that explains the department's plan to implement a new service model, whose defining feature is that, starting in September 2012, every student at the Vancouver campus will be assigned an Enrolment Service Professional, who will be trained and authorized to offer a wide range of ES services, and will stay with that student for their entire student career at the institution. In the video, animated in the style of educational films from the 1950s and 60s, UBC's registrar uses a health-care analogy to describe the current operation as a collection of "walk-in clinics," with long line-ups. ES plans to replace that model with the assignment of a "family physician" to each student, allowing for a continuous relationship. A New Perspective

New graduate enrolment in US drops

According to a new report by the Council of Graduate Schools, the number of new students enrolled in US graduate programs in fall 2010 fell for the first time in 7 years, despite an increase in graduate programs that started that year. Between fall 2009 and fall 2010, new-student enrolment dropped by 1.1%. By comparison, enrolment in fall 2009 had risen by 5.5% from the year before. Applications to US graduate schools for fall 2010 rose by 8.4% from the previous year. While the report does not explain why the decline in enrolment happened at a time when graduate programs would usually be packed, given the economic downturn, the council's president says anecdotal evidence, from graduate students and council member institutions, point to the lingering recession as the likely culprit. The Chronicle of Higher Education (free access)

Oxford dons criticize launch of branded furniture collection

Oxford Limited, a University of Oxford subsidiary that manages the institution's logo and rights, has negotiated a deal with a Hong Kong-based company to manufacture a range of furniture and interior accessories bearing the institution's name to capitalize on the university's ties with the Harry Potter movies. Manufacturers hope the items, which are named after famous Oxford graduates and landmarks, will prove a hit with alumni and wealthy Chinese consumers. But some of Oxford's own dons have deemed the furniture "inappropriate." An emeritus professor says the deal "does absolutely nothing for the university other than cheapen its image." While one tutor thinks "it might be time for a note of caution to be sounded about selling (Oxford's) brand too freely and too meretriciously," she says dons will be more sympathetic to the collection if it makes money to be invested in bursaries and teaching. The Telegraph