Top Ten

March 13, 2012

uWindsor pub under safety review following stabbings

University of Windsor president Alan Wildeman has ordered a safety review following a series of stabbings early last Friday at Thirsty Scholar, a campus pub. The institution and its students' alliance will decide whether to reopen the pub after the review. A 21-year-old Windsor man appeared in court Monday to face charges of aggravated assault, assault with a weapon, and breaching probation after turning himself in to police Sunday. The accused is not a student at uWindsor and was known to police. Wildeman says the campus safety policy review will be wide-ranging and done in conjunction with campus police, who were first on the scene after bystanders activated an emergency call button. Their response showed the effectiveness of uWindsor's emergency response system, says Wildeman. President's Memo | Windsor Star

Student-run publisher claims "intimidation tactics" by McGill administration over McGillLeaks coverage

As it investigates the source of a donor information leak, McGill University has written to the student-run Daily Publications Society (DPS), telling it to remove any link to McGillLeaks and to stop referencing the documents and data that were leaked. The letter said McGill would use "any available legal recourse to protect its rights and the rights of the third parties." The McGill Daily quickly removed the link, but it says it will continue coverage of McGillLeaks, while criticizing what it calls the university's "oppressive tactics." The DPS chairperson says the society "didn't steal the documents and we believe we were within our rights because the documents were already in the public domain." McGill's VP of external relations says having a live link to McGillLeaks "is not a matter of the exercise of freedom of expression, but it would help to disseminate information that invades the privacy of a great number of individuals -- without their consent -- and that contains information of strategic advantage to the university in matters of fundraising." Montreal Gazette

CFS criticizes UVic over barring education students from attending striking teachers' protest events

The University of Victoria administration recently e-mailed student teachers to inform them that they are not allowed to participate in protest events in relation to the BC teachers' job action. The e-mail, sent by the associate dean for teacher education, said: "Students are to maintain a 'neutral' stance; regardless of their personal feelings or alignments, as University of Victoria student teachers they are not to participate in protest events related to these negotiations during practicum time." The Canadian Federation of Students-BC's chairperson says "it reflects very poorly on the University of Victoria when the institution's administration attempts to intimidate students into not exercising free speech off campus in events that will directly impact their careers." He says the dean "has gravely overstepped her authority and should retract her bogus demand." CFS-BC News Release

UBC rejects Grade 12 marks for BC applicants during teacher strike

Due to the BC teacher's strike and contract dispute, teachers have not been issuing normal report cards, but have been giving marks to Grade 12 students directly so they can apply to PSE institutions. Without official report cards, UBC plans to wait until May when it can confirm grades for BC students with the education ministry. University officials say the marks are essentially self-reported by students on their applications, which could lead to irregularities on the 12,000 applications UBC expects this year. Students relying on grades from their final year of high school would still be considered on the Grade 12 spring marks once UBC receives those from the ministry in early May. UBC's senate will decide today whether to accept official grades from Grade 11 in applications this year. The BC Teachers' Federation's president says teachers have followed through on a commitment to issue students grades for university applications, and UBC should be accepting them. CBC

Concordia to disclose details of some severance packages

As it initiates an external review of its severance policy for senior administrators, Concordia University plans to publicly disclose information related to severance packages totalling approximately $2.4 million made to 5 senior managers over the past few years. President Frederick Lowy's statement on the matter did not extend to disclosures about the departure of former president Claude Lajeunesse, who left in 2007 with a $1.4-million severance 2 years into his contract. Quebec Education Minister Line Beauchamp has fined Concordia $2 million to signal her displeasure with the institution, where she has said "there is a problem of governance." One Concordia professor says the situation at the institution is "scandalous" and calls on the minister to dismiss Concordia's board of governors. Montreal Gazette

Report finds 5 Alberta PSE institutions lack basic financial controls

Alberta's auditor general states in a new report that the Alberta College of Art + Design, Grant MacEwan University, Northern Lakes College, NorQuest College, and Olds College each provided 2011 financial statements that had inaccuracies or were not timely. Some of the institutions continue to record a lack of financial controls that put them at risk of mismanaged funds, poor budgeting, and even fraud. The report's 15 recommendations range from enhancing "risk management systems" and "financial business processes" to properly securing computer servers and better managing donations and contracts. The auditor general says he feel confident the 5 institutions will fix their accounting issues within the year. Officials with these schools say they have made changes according to past concerns and have accepted the new recommendations. The report also cites NAIT, SAIT Polytechnic, and the Universities of Alberta and Lethbridge as having effective control environments. Grande Prairie Regional College has made significant improvements to its processes and internal controls over the past 2 years. Both Lethbridge College and Mount Royal University showed no significant problems. Auditor General of Alberta News Release | Calgary Herald | Edmonton Journal | Recommendations Summary | Full Report

Ottawa distributes more than $124 million for Canada Research Chairs

Speaking at the University of Ottawa yesterday, Minister of State (Science and Technology) Gary Goodyear announced a $124.5-million federal investment allocated to 132 newly awarded or renewed Canada Research Chairs to conduct new, cutting-edge research at 36 Canadian PSE institutions. The investment also includes an additional $6.3 million from the Canada Foundation for Innovation for research infrastructure associated with the new Chair awards. CRC News Release

RDC online quiz matches careers suited to prospective students' personalities

Red Deer College unveiled Monday RDCmatch.com, where prospective students can complete a quiz that provides them with careers suited to their personalities (and program matches at the college) and enters them into a contest to win one of five $1,000 RDC tuition vouchers. Each of the 62 questions in the 3-part quiz gives participants 2 options -- a word, phrase, or statement -- and asks them to select the one that better describes them or they find more appealing. Personality results appear afterwords along with a set of career matches. The site includes links to RDC's Twitter feed and Facebook page, as well as to its main website. RDC News Release | RDCmatch.com

Ontario high school graduation rate rises to 82%

The Ontario government states that 82% of provincial high school students earned their diploma last year, up from 81% in 2009-10 and 68% in 2003-04. The increased rate means that 93,000 more secondary students have graduated than would have had the rate stayed at the 2003-04 level. The government is aiming for a graduation rate of 85%. Ontario News Release

US News to gather more data for next year's college rankings

For the 2013 edition of its Best Colleges rankings, US News & World Report will collect and publish data in 3 new areas: differential graduation rates on income and race; information on the affordability of colleges; and information about each institution's Internet connectivity. The publication will not use the additional information in the methodology for total scores. US News blog | Inside Higher Ed