Top Ten

December 1, 2011

Kwantlen students oust student association members

Students at Kwantlen Polytechnic University in Surrey, BC voted Wednesday to turf their student association at a special general meeting that was disrupted by people who pulled fire alarms and used pepper spray. More than 350 students voted for the removal of 5 Kwantlen Student Association (KSA) executives and 8 voting council members over allegations of financial mismanagement. Students were upset that the association raised the salaries paid to its executive members, spent over $100,000 on a concert, and filed expensive lawsuits. The meeting was called after a 277-name petition was presented earlier last month, demanding the removal of the 12 KSA members from office, placing them in bad standing so they may never run for the association again, and to install a new set of bylaws. Interim directors have been appointed and a new election will be called in the new year. KSA Langley Campus Council News Release | Vancouver Sun | Surrey North Delta Leader

uToronto TAs vote in favour of strike action

Members of CUPE 3902, which represents all teaching assistants, graduate-student instructors, lab demonstrators, invigilators, and writing instructors at the University of Toronto's 3 campuses, have voted 91% in favour of a strike should university administration fail to offer them a reasonable contract, the union announced Wednesday. "We have been trying to negotiate a fair contract for five months, but the University administration still refuses to address the core problems facing graduate-student teachers and undergraduate students," says the spokesperson for the union's bargaining committee. "We are fighting for a better quality of education for our students, and better working conditions for our members." The union members' previous contract expired on April 30, 2010. CUPE 3902 News Release

CFHSS outlines priorities for international education strategy

In its submission to the expert advisory panel to Canada's international education strategy, the Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences cites Brazil, China, India, and Turkey -- all rapidly expanding economic powers -- as potential markets of interest in international-student recruitment. The CFHSS says Canada must also pursue new partnerships with other nations that are establishing their strength on the world scene, including Columbia, Indonesia, Mexico, the Philippines, and South Africa. The federation suggests the government continue to promote the relative affordability of a Canadian higher education to prospective students from the US and Europe, especially as certain regions many be suffering from cutbacks in PSE. The CFHSS says that establishing Canadian institutions in countries such as India, where demand for university education is high, can fill a gap for students while also boosting the profile of Canadian research, scholars, and institutions. Read CFHSS' submission

Dal board approves construction of mixed-use facility

Dalhousie University's board of governors has passed a motion to build the new LeMarchant Street Mixed-Use Facility -- which will feature 326 residence beds and several student services -- but to construct the building, the Memorial Arena will have to be taken down, leaving Dal without an arena for approximately 4 years. At 7 stories, the Mixed-Use Facility will cost $48 million and, in addition to the residence spaces, will also house Health Services and Counselling Services, International and Black Student Centres, and the Student Recruitment & Welcoming Centre. The arena is slated to come down after exams next April. Dal's athletics director says the university is working on a solution to house its varsity and recreation programs and is close to finalizing details. Dal News

UNBSJ students protest lack of quiet study space

With final exams approaching, students at the University of New Brunswick in Saint John held a protest earlier this week about a lack of quiet study space on campus. Organizers say UNBSJ's new Hans W. Klohn Commons is more of a social gathering place than a library, and not very functional for students looking to study quietly or work on an assignment. The VP of the Saint John campus says the institution is considering its options for creating more study space, but that the Ward Chipman library, which the Commons replaced and is now sitting mostly empty, won't likely be reopened as a place where students can work, even temporarily. Some faculty members are expressing concerns about the Commons. "The library is the physical heart of the university," says one professor. "This is a very stressful time for students, and we are selling our students short by not providing them the proper facilities." Telegraph-Journal | CBC

SFU Beedie launches Canada's largest undergraduate investment fund

Simon Fraser University's Beedie School of Business has created the Beedie Endowment Asset Management (BEAM) fund, whose value is $5 million, making it the largest undergraduate-student management fund in the country. Students participating in BEAM will be allowed to manage $5 million of the business school's endowment fund, created this year with philanthropists Ryan and Keith Beedie's $22-million donation to the school. 10 to 15 third-year undergraduate finance students in the university's Bachelor of Business Administration program will be admitted annually to the investment initiative for a 2-year term. SFU News Release

$1.5-million donation to McGill supports football program

McGill University announced Tuesday that alumnus and entrepreneur Robert B. Winsor and his wife Susan have pledged $1.5 million to support the Redmen football program. The donation -- the largest ever to any McGill varsity sports team -- will create the new Bob and Sue Winsor Redmen Football Program Endowment. To be invested by McGill to create an income stream in perpetuity, the funds will support coaching, player recruitment, and program development. McGill Athletics News

Queen's releases results of 2011 Undergraduate Exit Poll

According to an exit poll administered to Queen's University's 2011 graduating class, respondents were satisfied that Queen's met expectations in providing a learning experience that was intellectually stimulating and enjoyable. Surveyed students agreed that instructors took an active interest in student learning and demonstrated a positive attitude toward students. 85% of the 2011 poll respondents -- the first to benefit from access to the university's Athletics and Recreation Centre for a full year -- were satisfied with the athletics facilities, up from 71% in 2010. The vast majority of students surveyed said they intend to seek employment or further study toward advanced or professional degrees following graduation. Queen's News Centre | Exit Poll 2011 Results

Saskatchewan, Jilin Province sign student exchange MOU

On Tuesday, Saskatchewan Advanced Education Minister Rob Norris signed a memorandum of understanding with the vice-governor of the Chinese province of Jilin to establish a program for academic exchange between the 2 jurisdictions. Saskatchewan and Jilin Province will each invest $45,000 over 3 years in the program, which will see the Universities of Regina and Saskatchewan each receiving $7,500 annually to receive an exchange participant from Jilin. One Saskatchewan student from each university will study in Jilin Province annually. Saskatchewan News Release

Canadian Grade 8 students faring well in math

Results from the Pan-Canadian Assessment Program 2010 show that more than 90% of Canadian eighth graders are achieving at or above their expected level of performance in math. Nearly half are achieving above their expected level. The report found no significant difference in the performance of girls and boys at the national level with regard to math; however, more boys than girls were able to demonstrate high-level math knowledge and skill proficiency. For Canada overall, girls outperformed boys in both reading and science. In most jurisdictions, students in minority-language school systems outperformed their peers in majority-language systems in math. Students in majority-language school systems performed better than those in minority-language systems in reading. CMEC News Release | Read the report