Top Ten

August 31, 2012

Quebec students file class-action lawsuit over class boycotts

A group of young Quebecers has organized a class-action lawsuit against 25 universities and CÉGEPs, as well as the provincial government, claiming that they were hurt by the student strikes. The plaintiffs argue that not enough was done to let them have access to their classrooms and complete their courses. The group's lawyer is not setting a figure on the amount sought, stating that the financial impact varies from one individual to the next. He says the damages include loss of salary, lost work experience, lost tuition fees, and lost summer jobs. The case may wind up determining whether the right to strike, as stipulated by the Labour Code, applies to students. The plaintiffs' lawyer says he will argue that there must be some distinction made between the rights of workers and those of students. Canadian Press

UBC releases report on research animals' care

On Friday the University of British Columbia released the Canadian Council on Animal Care (CCAC) assessment report on the institution's animal care and use program. UBC is the first Canadian university to release the results of a comprehensive CCAC inspection, a review conducted for research universities every 3 years. The report was based on a June 2010 visit to UBC's animal care facilities, which comply with CCAC guidelines and hold a CCAC Certificate of Good Animal Practice. The report makes recommendations and holds up UBC for "excellent progress in its animal care and use program," and for investing over $100 million to update existing animal care facilities and construct new ones. The institution has decommissioned outdated laboratories and completed new, centralized state-of-the-art facilities, enhanced systems for facility management, and added to its veterinary services. UBC Media Advisory

Carleton launches sexual assault awareness campaign

In partnership with student groups and other institutional departments, Carleton University's Department of Equity Services and the Department of University Safety have produced 3 public service announcements dealing with sexual assault. "We need to be talking about it and we need to be educating people," says Carleton's coordinator of sexual assault services. "This project was just a wonderful way to bring together students and staff on our campus to start having this conversation." 5 years ago, a coalition of Carleton students started lobbying for a new student-run, university-funded sexual assault centre. Last January, campus administration announced it would open one, but it will be operated by university staff instead. CBC | Carleton Sexual Assault Awareness Campaign

Leveraging skills of all university graduates should be a top priority

Writing for the Globe and Mail, TalentEgg founder Lauren Friese has serious concerns about the way Canada prepares its young people for the labour market. "Most distressing is the consistent devaluation of education in the arts, a process that is robbing the Canadian public of their investment in higher education, denying graduates the opportunity to contribute to the economy and effectively silencing an entire cohort of bright young minds," Friese writes. Leveraging the skills of all Canadian university graduates should be a top priority, irrespective of their area of expertise, states Friese. The reasons are threefold: we're all investors in PSE; employing graduates stimulates the economy; and if we can't employ arts graduates, we lose their skill sets and potential. "The current system -- where students choose university pathways without enough information about their future prospects, or return to school to avoid a stagnant job market, and so build up mountainous debt -- needs to change," Friese writes. "The consequences of doing nothing not only represent a poor financial investment on the part of the government and taxpayers, but more troublingly, the waste of the potential economic impact embodied by the currently young and unemployable." Globe and Mail

RDC summit identifies key educational priorities

Last Monday Red Deer College welcomed representatives from the Alberta government and central Alberta school districts to an Educational Summit, which identified key issues educators in the region face and explored opportunities for collaborations among the school districts, RDC, and the community. The summit resulted in the establishment of 2 different working groups that will examine 4 key areas where RDC and school districts can collaborate: seamless transition to PSE; administrative efficiencies; building on the success of the Reading College by expanding to all districts in Central Alberta; and dual credits where a student can graduate with a high school diploma and a PSE credential at the same time. RDC News Release

Laurentian opens new residence

On Thursday Laurentian University held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for its new $20-million residence at its Ramsey Lake Road campus. Providing accommodation for 236 upper-year students, the 12-storey complex features 62 self-contained apartments, and each unit has 3 or 4 single bedrooms, 2 washrooms, and shared living room and kitchen. The apartments are wired for cable TV, high-speed Internet, and telephone service. The new residence brings total campus housing capacity to 1,600. Laurentian News

Winnipeg university residences at capacity

Some students at the Universities of Manitoba and Winnipeg are scrambling to find accommodations before the new academic year begins. All 426 student-housing units at uWinnipeg are taken. uManitoba's residences are also at capacity and have a waiting list with approximately 300 students on it. Complicating matters further for students is the fact that Manitoba has the lowest apartment vacancy rate in the country. As of April the province's vacancy rate was 1.2%, up from 0.7% in April 2011, according to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. CBC

Rotman launches new website

The University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management recently unveiled its redesigned website. Visitors to the new-look homepage are greeted with bold colours, a clean design, and dynamic images. Featured links and videos, infographics, and expanded navigation menus provide users with a web experience that reflects Rotman's mission of innovation and new thinking. Divided into 4 main sections (Degrees, Professional Development, Faculty and Research, and Connect), the website allows users to quickly and easily access information based on their needs. The Connect section features a social media hub called Rotman Now, which includes student blogs, videos, and Twitter feeds. Rotman News Release | Rotman Website

uWaterloo "dear first year me" video campaign unlocks campus perks

The University of Waterloo's Student Success Office asked 18 upper-year students what advice they would share with their first-year self if they could go back in time. Their "dear first year me" video responses had everything from a Mission Impossible-style dash to class, a Dr. Seuss rhyme, and a fourth-year ghost who goes back in time to save his first-year self from a studying dilemma. The videos were also produced as part of a challenge put to the incoming class to share, support, and watch the videos to unlock a great prize during Orientation or Welcome Week. The 3 possible prizes are a hot fudge sundae bar at Orientation Week (500 shares and views), a blockbuster movie showing on BMH green (1,000 shares and views), and a huge concert during Welcome Week (2,000 shares and views). Over the summer, the videos reached more than 3,691 unique views, 74 supports, and 432 social media shares. Students, staff, faculty, and campuses sent in their dear first year me advice via Twitter using the #dear1styrme hashtag. uWaterloo Daily Bulletin

NAIT alumnus develops athletics-oriented mobile app for institute

Northern Alberta Institute of Technology alumnus Lyle Mozak has created a free mobile application dedicated to NAIT athletics. Available for Apple and Android-operated devices, the app's features include Ooks results, team schedules, game day reminders, and fan rewards. The app was unveiled in April, with an updated version released in June. This athletics season will be the first where the app is fully functional with updated content. Starting in October, app users will receive QR codes that can be redeemed for vouchers for Ooks merchandise and concession specials at games. A rewards program will outfit loyal fans with Ooks-related gear thanks to a feature that tracks attendance. NAIT News Release