Top Ten

March 20, 2015

Student arrested after attempted sexual assault at UBC

A 27-year-old student has been arrested at UBC following an attempted sexual assault. Campus RCMP said they responded to a report of a man choking a woman in a residence lobby and trying to drag her outside. "It would appear at the time of his arrest the suspect was under the influence of either drugs or alcohol," said an RCMP spokesperson. Campus Security Director Barry Eccleton said that the suspect is facing charges of attempted sexual assault and assaulting a police officer. "He did resist arrest and the officer was assaulted. He was finally overcome and they put the cuffs on him and took him into custody," Eccleton said. He added that this incident is not related to earlier reports of assaults on the UBC campus that occurred last month and in October 2013CBC

uSask agrees to take one-year, $20 M hit to help balance SK budget

Saskatchewan Finance Minister Ken Krawetz on Wednesday tabled a balanced provincial budget that includes a $107 M surplus. The budget allocates $20.2 M toward direct support for First Nations and Métis postsecondary education, as well as $46.6 M in infrastructure funding for SK’s PSE institutions to help meet growth challenges. SK will provide $477.5 M in capital funding to PSE institutions, including $23.6 M for preventative maintenance and renewal, $10.6 M for the renovation and expansion of Southeast Regional College, $7.9 M for the University of Saskatchewan’s health sciences facility, and $4.5 M for Parkland College's Trades and Technology Centre. SK has also allocated $6.5 M for the SK Advantage Grant for Education Savings and $88.1 M for tax credits available through the province’s Graduate Retention Program. Previously, the retention tax credit was refundable; under the new budget, it can be received only as an income tax reduction. Operating funding to technical institutions and federated colleges will increase by 2%, and operating funding for the University of Regina, affiliated colleges, and regional colleges will increase by 1%. To help SK achieve a balanced budget, uSask agreed to a one-time holdback of $20 M from its operating grant; uSask has accumulated significant operating savings that will enable it to manage the reduction without affecting services for students. The budget also includes investments in labour market programs, including increases to Adult Basic Education, the Provincial Training Allowance fund, and the SK Apprenticeship and Trade Certification Commission. SK News Release (Budget) | SK News Release (Advanced Education) | SK News Release (Training Programs) | StarPhoenix | CBC | uSask News Release

uWinnipeg launches sexual assault protocol

The University of Winnipeg has released a comprehensive sexual misconduct protocol, focused on creating a safe campus climate. The protocol, based on best practices from across North America, creates a 24/7 Sexual Misconduct Response Team and stipulates that uWinnipeg will publicly report aggregate information on sexual misconduct. uWinnipeg will also launch an awareness campaign that emphasizes affirmative consent. The protocol defines sexual misconduct as encompassing a range of behaviours, including sexual harassment, stalking, the threat of sexual assault, and sexual assault. uWinnipeg will also deliver training to staff and faculty so they will be prepared to offer support to affected individuals. “We are committed to ensuring there is a culture of respect and safety on campus that applies to everyone. By establishing clear procedures for disclosing and accessing support, and through a comprehensive awareness program that will begin right with first-year students during orientation, our ultimate goal is education and the prevention of sexual misconduct on campus,” said uWinnipeg President Annette Trimbee. The Association of Atlantic Universities recently announced the creation of a working group on campus safety and sexual assault. uWinnipeg News Release | Winnipeg Free Press (1) | Winnipeg Free Press (2)

Canada invests in programs to promote science to young Canadians

The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) has announced $3.6 M in grants through the PromoScience program to help young Canadians gain better access to skills and careers in the sciences. In addition, the federal government announced it will increase its support for science promotion activities to $10.9 M annually. PromoScience offers financial support to a number of organizations that encourage students to explore topics in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. Recipients of the new funding include 2 programs at Western University; Let’s Talk Science, which will develop national programs around space exploration; and members of the Actua network, which works to increase participation in the sciences by women and Aboriginal people. The University of Lethbridge’s Destination Exploration initiative, part of the Actua network, will use its funding to expand current outreach programs and to purchase new technology. “Science literacy is an essential part of the education of every citizen in the modern world today. PromoScience aims first to spark the passion of students for science and engineering and further boosts scholarly inquiry for the future of these fields,” said NSERC President B Mario Pinto. NSERC News ReleaseuLethbridge News

Canada, BC support skills training for older workers

Canada and British Columbia will invest more than $4.8 M in 14 skills-training projects designed to help older workers in small communities upgrade their skills. The funding will be provided through the Targeted Initiative for Older Workers and will benefit as many as 470 workers. Older workers participating in funded initiatives will benefit from training opportunities and work placements that will help them qualify for jobs and reintegrate into the labour market. “Through Targeted Initiative for Older Worker programs, unemployed, vulnerable workers can gain skills needed to re-enter the workforce or train for a new career. This confidence allows them to support their families, their communities, and help keep BC’s diverse economy strong and growing,” said Shirley Bond, BC Minister of Jobs, Tourism, and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour. Canada News Release

MUN’s Grenfell Campus opens Office of Engagement

Memorial University’s Grenfell Campus recently opened an Office of Engagement to help foster partnerships and collaboration with community members in Newfoundland and Labrador and beyond. The office is tasked with implementing MUN’s Public Engagement Framework. “Engagement events over the past few years have highlighted the strength of the relationship between Grenfell Campus and the broader community … The substantial amount of engagement and collaborative activity happening at Grenfell provides an excellent foundation for the work of Grenfell’s Office of Engagement, which aims to mobilize faculty, staff, and students in the public engagement arena,” said Mary Bluechardt, Grenfell Campus VP. MUN News

Waterloo officials look to capitalize on students’ annual St Patrick’s Day bash

Officials in Waterloo want to embrace future street parties held on St Patrick’s Day in an effort to control the event and potentially allow charities or other organizations to sell food. Waterloo Regional Police Chief Bryan Larkin said that if thousands of students are going to gather in one area to party, charities should be able to make money on food sales. Such a plan would have the added bonus of getting food into people who are consuming alcohol. City officials meet yearly with representatives from fire, police, and emergency medical services as well from local PSE institutions to prepare for the annual street party; the idea of providing food or portable washrooms will be raised at the next meeting. This year, police reported no major incidents, with most tickets being issued  for liquor offences. An email was sent to all Wilfrid Laurier University students encouraging them to act responsibly and to not attend classes intoxicated in order to avoid disturbing other students. The Record

VIU Instagram campaign featured in Communication World magazine

Communication World, the official publication of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC), has featured Vancouver Island University’s Instagram promotional campaign. VIU’s #ILearnHere campaign works to increase exposure of VIU’s brand and to reinforce VIU’s status as a university. VIU’s marketing team created a photo contest, asking students to share images that represent their answers to the question “where do you learn?” VIU embraced Instagram after their research indicated that it was a platform of choice for the campaign’s target demographic of 16- to 18-year-olds and that Instagram was underused in PSE marketing. VIU paid for 15 sponsored photos from 3 celebrity Instagrammers. While it was sometimes a challenge for the marketing team to maintain momentum, the campaign exceeded its goals, achieving 617,139 “reach” impressions, including 563,000 ad impressions and 54,139 #ILearnHere impressions; and 6,676 “rich” interactions, including 1,661 photo submissions, 499 followers, 4,326 likes, and 190 comments on VIU’s Instagram account. Communication World

Pearson monitored students' social media activity during tests

The Guardian (UK) reports that textbook and learning technology company Pearson has admitted to monitoring the social media activities of students taking its tests. Elizabeth Jewett, a New Jersey high school superintendent, was informed by the state Department of Education that Pearson was “monitoring all social media” during a testing period and had demanded that a student who tweeted about an exam be disciplined. Jewett also cited 2 other incidents in which Pearson had contacted district officials about cheating detected through social media monitoring. In a statement, Pearson said that it was “contractually required by states to monitor public conversations on social media to ensure that no assessment information (text, photos, etc) that is secure and not public is improperly disclosed.” The monitoring was performed by a third-party company called Caveon. Caveon founder Steve Addicott said, “our position is when someone posts information on Twitter, or some other publicly available website, by definition they want that information to be public." The Guardian (UK)

MRU students break Guinness record with toy pistol fight

Students at Mount Royal University have set a new world record for largest toy pistol fight. Members of the university’s ski club organized the event, which had 601 students and community members firing foam-rubber darts at one another at Wyckham House on campus. The combatants handily beat the previous record of 462 participants, set by students at Washington University in St Louis. Participants in the MRU event were encouraged to make donations to the Michael Huras Memorial Scholarship fund, named for a co-founder of the ski club who passed away last year. CBC