Top Ten

April 15, 2013

Program intake suspensions, job cuts at Lakeland

Facing a deficit of nearly $4 million for the 2013-14 fiscal year, Lakeland College has made substantial changes in order to balance its budget. These include suspending student intake for several programs and employee reductions. More than 40 permanent positions that are currently filled will be cut during the next 2 years. Some non-permanent and contract positions will not be renewed. Other cost-saving measures to be implemented in 2013-14 include consolidating 2 departments and no longer operating the child development centres at the Lloydminster and Vermilion campuses. Lakeland News

McGill considers closing 2 libraries

McGill University is considering closing the libraries at 2 of its faculties in the face of a $1.8-million budget cut. The Faculty of Education's library could be shut down, and the Life Sciences Library could be merged with a library in another building. "Both faculty and staff are very shocked that this is happening without any consultation," says a Life Sciences librarian who has launched a Facebook campaign to try to prevent the merger. McGill administration says closing the libraries is only one possibility it's considering in the face of the cut. "We have to consider everything," says the dean of libraries. "What we have to do is look at all the library services that we have, because all of the branch libraries at McGill are considered to be part of one system." CBC

StFX offers staff buyouts

Approximately 135 St. Francis Xavier University staff members have been sent letters asking them to accept voluntary resignation with severance or reduced hours. The offer is in accordance with a 3-year contract signed last month by members of the Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union who work for the university. A StFX spokeswoman says the institution is seeking to cut costs in the wake of a directive by the board of governors to balance its books. According to sources, StFX is projecting a $5-million shortfall unless savings are found for the 2013-14 academic year. Chronicle Herald

Humber, police investigate Facebook boast of sexual assault

Humber College and Toronto police are investigating a Facebook page, claiming to be connected to the college, on which an anonymous user bragged about sexually assaulting a young woman. The page, called "Humber Epic Hookup Fails," featured the college's logo as its profile picture and went online last Wednesday. By Thursday morning its content prompted disgusted Humber students to complain to college officials, who contacted Facebook and had the page removed. A Humber official says the college reacted to the news of the post with shock and disappointment. "One of Humber's values is the value of respect," he says. "This type of activity or allegation certainly suggests there is less than respect for an individual." Humber is working with police to determine the identity of the poster and whether the account is true or not. Toronto Star | Globe and Mail | CBC

Judge rejects Saudi doctors' discrimination claims against uOttawa

An Ontario court judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by 3 Saudi physicians who claimed racial discrimination in the University of Ottawa's medical school. The judge calls the litigation against the medical school "an abuse of process" and says the allegations of unfair treatment were already dealt with in uOttawa's academic review process and the related appeals mechanism. The judge has upheld a motion brought by uOttawa's lawyers to dismiss the case. The 3 doctors had sued uOttawa in 2011, alleging discrimination, defamation, and "misfeasance in public office" and seeking more than $150 million in damages. Ottawa Citizen

Universities square off against Access Copyright

Some universities no longer feel the need to pay for Access Copyright services, opting to navigate intellectual property rights without a middle agent. Tensions are rising as Access Copyright takes York University to court, claiming the institution, which opted out, has improperly been reproducing and authorizing the copying of protected works. Much of the matter involving York U is over what constitutes "fair dealings" and the institution maintains it has done nothing wrong. "We are confident that we are operating within the law and we will actively defend this case," says a university spokeswoman. Access Copyright says "the majority" of PSE institutions have signed onto its new licence agreement. Those that haven't are tracked to ensure they are not violating copyright. Canadian Press

BC allocates $46 million for PSE capital funding

The BC government is providing more than $46 million in routine capital funding this fiscal year for public PSE institutions through Budget 2013. All 25 institutions will receive funds to help pay for maintaining and upgrading campus facilities. Through the budget, the province intends to provide more than $460 million over 3 years in capital spending at PSE campuses. BC News Release

uSask launches commission to improve efficiencies

In the wake of layoffs and financial challenges, the University of Saskatchewan is taking another step toward improving efficiencies. uSask has launched a 5-person commission aimed at streamlining processes and reducing red tape. The commission aims to identify barriers and bureaucracies that are burdensome, particularly when it comes to teaching and research. Students, faculty, and staff will have the opportunity to submit suggestions. uSask News Release | CTV

ACCC running campaign to double international enrolment

The Association of Canadian Community Colleges' board of directors has approved a new international marketing campaign aimed at doubling the number of foreign students enrolled at Canadian colleges. Recruitment efforts will launch in Brazil later this month at a forum between Canadian colleges and Brazilian Institutos Federais. In June, Canadian college representatives will travel to 8 Brazilian cities to work with their partners to recruit new students. The campaign will include a digital strategy and representation in Brazil to assist Canadian colleges. Additional international opportunities for colleges are planned for China, Francophone Africa, and India next year. Inside ACCC

Saskatchewan offers student-loan forgiveness to nurses practicing in rural areas

The Saskatchewan government announced last week a new program that will encourage nurses and nurse practitioners to work in rural and remote areas of the province. Funding from the most recent budget will support a program to forgive up to $4,000 a year in provincial student loans to a maximum of $20,000 over 5 years for nurses and nurse practitioners who work in under-served rural and remote communities whose populations are below 10,000. Registered nurses, registered psychiatric nurses, licensed practical nurses, and nurse practitioners may be eligible for the program. Saskatchewan News Release