Top Ten

June 7, 2013

uMontréal sues alleged Maple Spring vandals

The Université de Montréal has filed a lawsuit with the Quebec Superior Court against 6 students allegedly involved in acts of vandalism on the university campus during last spring's tuition protests. Security guards were overwhelmed when peaceful demonstrations turned violent, with students smashing windows, scrawling graffiti, and splashing paint from the balcony of the newly renovated Ernest-Cormier amphitheatre. One guard was injured, and required stitches and time off work to recover. uMontréal is claiming a total of $100,383 in material and moral damages, including interest. The university says they used security camera footage and fingerprints to identify the alleged vandals, one of whom is the daughter of a Quebec politician. Montreal Gazette

Cyclotron construction to begin this summer at uSask

The University of Saskatchewan’s board of governors approved construction plans on the former Animal Resource Centre, which will house the cyclotron. The cyclotron will produce isotopes for medical testing, specifically for the new PET-CT scanner at Saskatoon’s Royal University Hospital. Isotopes can also be used for veterinary and agricultural research and testing. The Saskatchewan government and Western Economic Diversification Canada has provided a total of $25.5 million for the project. The facility, which will be managed and operated by uSask subsidiary Sylvia Fedoruk Canadian Centre for Nuclear Innovation, should be operational for research purposes by 2015, and in full operation by 2016. In addition to providing much needed isotopes for medical research, the facility will attract “innovative, world-class researchers.” uSask News Release | Saskatoon StarPhoenix | CBC

Postscript: April 24, 2014

The University of Saskatchewan accepted delivery of a 25-tonne cyclotron on Tuesday. Cyclotrons produce radio isotopes used in PET scans to detect tumours. uSask had been importing isotopes produced in Hamilton, but logistical issues and the short half-life of the material limited their value. Importation of the material was further limited by the weather. The machine will be operated by the Sylvia Fedoruk Canadian Centre for Nuclear Innovation. John Root, interim Executive Director of the Fedoruk Centre, said, “This facility, the first in the province, will advance medical research, diagnosing diseases such as cancer, and providing radioisotopes for other areas of scientific research.” It is hoped that the presence of a cyclotron in Saskatoon will encourage SK to invest in an additional PET scanner in Regina, reducing travel time for cancer patients. uSask News Release | StarPhoenix

uCalgary shutting upper floors of MacKimmie Tower over building code issues

The top half of the University of Calgary's MacKimmie Tower will soon be inaccessible, as the university lacks funding to bring the 13-storey tower up to code, reports Metro News. Municipal regulations for MacKimmie, which previously served as the campus library, have changed and estimates to fully restore it are pegged at $100 million, with $1.5 million needed to address "immediate issues" alone. The university has reached a deal with the City of Calgary in which access to the top 7 floors will be closed no later than January. The closure will mean uCalgary has 12,000-square-feet less space on campus, at least for the time being. Projections released last week found uCalgary to be operating at 9.4% above its existing physical-space capacity. The issues at MacKimmie come as uCalgary deals with a near-40% cut to provincial infrastructure maintenance funding. Metro News

TRU runs “Not far. Just far from ordinary.” marketing campaign

Thompson Rivers University has launched a new marketing campaign that aims to promote the university to parts of the Lower Mainland of BC and parts of Alberta, around the theme “Not far. Just far from ordinary.” The campaign, which is running from May 11 to June 11, focuses on the idea that TRU provides students with open access to exceptional academic programs, which is also reflected in the university’s Academic Plan. Messaging focuses on 3 distinctive “pillars” of TRU – its extensive variety of on-campus programs from the certificate to graduate degree levels; 57 programs and almost 600 distance learning courses offered through TRU Open Learning; and the fact that it is a Canadian leader in international and intercultural education. The campaign uses a mix of traditional and social media including: newspaper, interior and exterior transit, public facility (malls, airports) signage, social media and targeted e-mails. It also includes a web landing page, ‘,’ which gives visitors further information about applying to TRU. TRU Campaign Page

$3-million donation supports Mohawk College campus renewal

Senator David Braley announced Friday a $3-million gift to Mohawk College's Fennell Campus renewal project, which launched in summer 2009. In recognition of the donation, the Hamilton-based college is officially naming the newest addition to the campus in Braley's honour. Slated to open in September, the 64,000-square-foot David Braley Athletic and Recreation Centre will feature 3 gyms for varsity and intramural sports, an indoor running track, a fitness centre, and multi-purpose exercise studios. Mohawk College News Release

Dal to offer bachelor degree in Ocean Sciences

Dalhousie University has announced a new bachelor’s degree in Ocean Sciences, the first in Canada according to Dal News. Although Dal currently offers advanced degrees in Oceanography at both the master’s and PhD levels, this is the first bachelor’s degree that will offer full interdisciplinary study options, including a summer field course. “The program is designed to educate a cohort of scientists to participate actively in the field of ocean sciences,” and will take advantage of the establishment of the new Ocean Sciences Building. As well as covering topics like biology, chemistry, and physics, students will study specific oceanographic tools and instruments, and ocean history. The 4-year program will accept its first students in September 2013. Dal News

$1-million fundraising drive for NorQuest daycare centre

A non-profit group connected to NorQuest College is hoping to raise $1 million for a daycare centre on campus that will provide much-needed daycare spaces, lower-cost services for college students, and enhanced training for students registered in NorQuest’s day home provider program. The fundraising goal marks the second phase of a campaign by 1000 Women: A Million Possibilities, a group that began 4 years ago when several women got together to create an endowment fund to support the emergency financial needs of NorQuest College students. “A lot of [NorQuest] students, they’re living in apartments. They’re barely getting by,” said 1000 Women advisory committee chair Patty Taverner, referring to the students enrolled at NorQuest who are also parents. Taverner said the new centre will give NorQuest students access to quality child care that is also convenient and affordable. NorQuest News Release | Edmonton Journal

La Cité gets full accreditation for pharmacy program

The ‘techniques pharmaceutiques’ program at Ottawa's La Cité collégiale has received full accreditation from the Canadian Council for Accreditation of Pharmacy Programs (CCAPP) for a period of 5 years, ending December 2017. Graduates of the program will be eligible for the licensing examinations from the Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada to become registered pharmacy technicians. La Cité News Release (In French)

Employment rises among Canadian youth

Statistics Canada reports in its latest Labour Force Survey that in May, employment was up 54,000 among 15- to 24-year-olds, with gains in Alberta, Ontario, and Quebec. This growth pushed the youth unemployment rate down 0.9 percentage points to 13.6%. With the employment increase last month, year-over-year gains for youth totalled 48,000 (+2.0%). Statistics Canada also reports that the rate of summer employment of returning students ages 20 to 24 was 59.9% in May, similar to that of 12 months prior. Their unemployment rate was 15.5% last month, little changed from a year earlier. Statistics Canada

US public institutions increasingly conducting confidential presidential searches

The debate over the university presidential search process is being revived in many US states. 2 lawsuits have challenged the way Louisiana State University (LSU) conducted its most recent search, arguing that LSU violated state public-record laws by withholding the names of presidential candidates. Due to an increased reluctance among candidates to be publicly named, search committees and boards are trying to make the process more attractive, says a search consultant, which often means finding methods to ensure some confidentiality. One argument for confidentiality is that open searches dissuade top candidates as they are most likely to be concerned about how exposure could spark backlash at their current institutions. Openness might be an even bigger concern for the general public, suggests a senior faculty member at Florida's Poynter Institute. The public needs to see at some point what the search process looked like so they can have faith in the committees making the decisions, she says. Some confidentiality, such as limiting the names made public to a handful of finalists, is a reasonable way to reach balance among the needs of the public, institution, and candidates. However, some public universities go too far, she says, including those that create finalist pools of one, as in LSU's case. The Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required)