Top Ten

March 8, 2012

Arrests, injuries follow clash between student protesters and police in Montreal

5 people were arrested and several parts of Montreal's downtown core were subjected to traffic chaos Wednesday as hundreds of students protested increasing tuition fees. The protest began around lunchtime, when approximately 1,000 students marched to the Loto-Québec building and blocked its entrance, leading to a clash with the Montreal police riot squad. Police used tear gas and flash bombs to disperse the crowd, and several officers and protesters were injured in the confrontation. A Cégep de Saint-Jérôme student says his right eye was badly injured by the blast of a police stun grenade during the protest. Having undergone surgery for a detached retina, the student says he doesn't know if he'll regain vision in his eye. Approximately 200 students rallied in downtown Montreal Wednesday evening to protest what they called unnecessary violence on the part of the police. The Quebec government says its planned tuition fee increases will still leave the province with some of the lowest rates in Canada, and the new fees will help ensure the quality and sustainability of Quebec's universities. Protesting students call it a question of values; they say the fee increase would discourage some from attending university, and also believe funding to pay for better schools is available from other provincial sources. Montreal Gazette | CTV | CBC

Stolen UBC computer containing student, faculty information retrieved

The University of British Columbia is reviewing its security procedures following the theft of a laptop containing personal information on thousands of students and professors. The RCMP retrieved the laptop in February, 10 days after it was stolen from a car in Burnaby. The computer contained names, e-mail addresses, and student numbers for 50,000 individuals who attended UBC between 2007 and 2012. During the time the computer was missing, someone changed the username and accessed the Internet 15 times; however, the encrypted data was never touched or in danger. The RCMP has traced the stolen laptop to a Richmond man, but no charges have been pressed. The incident follows the theft of computer devices containing information on thousands of University of Victoria employees and the use of stolen Simon Fraser University student data to gain U-Passes. Meanwhile, McGill University is investigating the source of the leak of confidential donor information that was posted online. CBC

CAUT adds Providence to faith test list

The Canadian Association of University Teachers has added Manitoba-based Providence University College to its list of PSE institutions that have a faith or ideological test as a condition of employment. The action follows a report completed by an ad-hoc investigatory committee struck last year. While Providence does have a statement on academic freedom, the committee describes it as "significantly inconsistent" with that of CAUT and the majority of universities worldwide, and "assurances that free enquiry is still possible within its constraints are unconvincing." CAUT executive James Turk says "this is not about a university having a religious mission," but "about requiring that academic staff conform to a particular religious belief if they want to be hired or retain their jobs." A group of academics circulated a petition last year that called CAUT's investigations of religious institutions "unwarranted and invasive." CAUT later announced that it would revise how it conducts investigations of these schools. CAUT News

Ontario not considering standard arts and science tuition fees, says TCU minister

In a statement issued yesterday, Ontario Training, Colleges and Universities Minister Glen Murray said no changes are being considered that would require all provincial universities to set standard tuition fees for arts and sciences programs. The Toronto Star reported Thursday that the province was contemplating a set fee, which had some university presidents worrying about campus autonomy and loss of revenue by cutting fees to meet the set tuition, while others said they would welcome the increased revenue from raising fees to match the standard and the predictability of tuition. Murray said his government is extending for one year a 5% cap on overall tuition fee increases at PSE institutions, and will continue to provide its tuition grant. Minister's Statement | Toronto Star | Globe and Mail

Cambrian unveils 15% graduation tuition rebate program

Cambrian College announced Wednesday that it will offer eligible students who confirm their acceptance by May 1 the opportunity to receive a 15% tuition rebate upon graduation. "It's a bonus designed to reward those who complete their studies on time and on budget," and will put between $1,200 and $3,500 back in the pockets of eligible graduates, says Cambrian president Sylvia Barnard. Students must apply to one of the college's diploma or degree programs and confirm their acceptance by the aforementioned deadline in order to qualify for the Graduation Tuition Rebate program. Cambrian News Release

Boréal to give first-year students iPads

Starting this fall, all first-year students enrolled in a full-time PSE program at Collège Boreal will receive an iPad, part of the Ontario-based college's efforts to maintain state-of-the-art technology infrastructure. "We firmly believe that by providing (students) with this new tool, our institution will contribute to enriching their learning experience," says Boréal president Denis Hubert-Dutrisac. "This is another way for Collège Boréal to prepare its students for the job market." Boréal is a new member of the iTunes U network, and is working with a pair of CÉGEPs on a project that would allow the sharing of expertise regarding the iPad's educational applications and foster the development of institutional projects using the tablet. In September 2010, the Northern Ontario School of Medicine was the first Canadian medical school to give its incoming class iPads. Boréal News Release

St. Clair takes over Chatham's Capitol Theatre

St. Clair College has assumed ownership of the Capitol Theatre in Chatham, Ontario, and plans to house its school of dance there. Financial problems forced the theatre into bankruptcy last year and the institution is paying nothing for the property, simply assuming its assets. The theatre "will allow experiential learning for our students to learn new skills in their new home as they fill work positions to produce a quality performance," says St. Clair president John Strasser. He says the institution will be able to efficiently attract top-notch talent to perform both in Chatham and Windsor, where St. Clair operates the Chrysler Theatre. "We're convinced we can run the theatre profitably on the commercial side,'' Strasser says. "And we plan to get started immediately.'' Chatham Daily News | Windsor Star

Canadian university delegation heads to Mexico to discuss Indigenous PSE

The presidents of Lakehead University and the University of Regina are co-leading a group of Canadian PSE institutions (including FNUC, Nipissing, uManitoba, uLethbridge, VIU, and NVIT) on a trip to Mexico City to discuss Indigenous higher education. Canadian and Mexican representatives will spend March 11 and 12 establishing partnerships and gaining a better understanding of the complexities regarding the issue. Accessibility being one of his top priorities, Lakehead president Brian Stevenson says his institution has been "successful in removing barriers to education, including economic, geographic and cultural. Our proven and successful model is based on active recruitment and strong transition support. We hope to share our successes and challenges on this trip." Enhancing the university experience of Aboriginal students is a key component of uRegina's strategic plan. Students of Aboriginal descent now represent nearly 10% of uRegina's undergraduate population. uRegina News Release | Lakehead News Release

McMaster unveils 125th anniversary website

Like NSCAD University, McMaster University turns 125 this year and has created a website to mark the occasion. The site is the digital home for all things quasquicentennial, such as photo and video archives, trivia, and an events calendar. The site also features the People of Impact contest, which asks the McMaster community to help decide who has left the greatest mark on the institution. McMaster also has dedicated social media platforms on which university community members can interact and celebrate the 125th anniversary. For example, Twitter users are encouraged to use the hashtags #McMaster125 and #gomacgo to share memories and musings about the institution and its history. McMaster Daily News |

One-year specialized MBAs driving surge in women applying to business school

Fuelled by interest among young females in one-year specialized master's degrees, graduate business schools that have struggled for years to attract women are observing a slow but steady increase in their numbers, reports the Graduate Management Admission Council. After 6 years of modest increases, women last year accounted for 41% of those taking the GMAT, up from 34% in 1983. Women represented nearly two-thirds of test takers in China, and 39% of the total in the US. Many female applicants are in their early 20s and drawn to one-year MBAs in areas such as accounting, finance, and management, whose attractions include a faster start on a professional education and the allowance for an easier work-life balance for women who are planning families. The fact that women in China far outnumber men in seeking graduate business degrees could be partly "a legacy of communism," says the council's director of research communications. "There isn't as much a perception of a glass ceiling that women in other countries may grapple with." The Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required) | Women and Graduate Management Education (slides) | Women and Graduate Management Education (data sheet)