Top Ten

March 27, 2015

PEI student reportedly arrested, released due to suspected terrorism link

RCMP on Tuesday arrested Seyed Amir Hossein Raisolsadat, reportedly a chemistry student at the University of Prince Edward Island, on the suspicion that he might commit a terrorism-related offence. Raisolsadat was later released on the condition that he remain in the province, abstain from possessing a firearm, and that he report to RCMP on a weekly basis. UPEI has not released an official statement; however, the National Post reports that the institution sent a letter to faculty informing them that media reports had linked a student to a police investigation. The letter, from VP Academic Christian Lacroix, said that “at this time, UPEI has not been contacted by any law enforcement agencies about this matter.” Siavash Samei, President of UPEI’s Iranian Society, said that “in my personal knowledge, Raisolsadat is a good boy from a good, educated family. He is a talented person and I believe this recent issue is a misunderstanding.” The RCMP’s decision to pursue a peace bond in the case is unusual. University of Ottawa professor Wesley Wark said, “peace bonds are meant to be a more flexible tool so that you don’t end up putting someone behind bars who shouldn’t be behind bars. There will be cases where you have reasonable grounds to suspect a person might engage in terrorism but you don’t have all the evidence to bring to court to lead a successful conviction.” Raisolsadat is scheduled to appear in court on April 20. National Post | CBC

NSCC board approves tuition increase for most programs

The board of governors at Nova Scotia Community College has approved a tuition increase. For most programs, tuition will increase by 3%; this will amount to, on average, a $90 annual increase per student. Tuition will not increase for recording arts, health information management, certified welding, gas technician, heavy equipment operator, process operations 4th class, or aviation programs. NSCC President Don Bureaux said, “I know any increase makes a difference for our students. This additional revenue will help us to continue to provide high-quality programming that supports student success for years to come. As part of our commitment to maintain a balanced budget, we will also continue to find ways to reduce administrative costs without impacting our learning environment.” In a news release, Students Nova Scotia VP College Affairs Scott Byrne said, “it’s wrong that the provincial government continues to allow the cost of community college education to rise and it’s wrong that they do not consult student associations in advance of these decisions.” NSCC News Release | StudentsNS News Release

WLU Brantford students campaign for a library

A group of students at Wilfrid Laurier University’s Brantford campus have launched a campaign to raise awareness of the need for a library. Luc Daviau, who helped organize the campaign, said, “the main focus is to raise awareness. There are other schools with the same number of students who have a library structure.” Currently, the campus maintains a partnership with the neighbouring Brantford Public Library, which houses 10,000 volumes in the WLU collection as well as providing access to the combined catalogues of the WLU, University of Guelph, and University of Waterloo libraries. WLU Brantford also offers a digital learning commons, which opened last year. Daviau said that the current facilities are “fairly sufficient” but that there is still a need for a dedicated library space, as well as for more quiet study spaces. Brian Rosborough, Senior Executive Officer at WLU Brantford, said that a library had been identified by students as a priority, behind improved athletic facilities. “A library is the next big thing on our list of infrastructure that will make our campus complete,” he said; however, he noted that such a project is likely still a couple of years away. Brantford Expositor

BC expands student loan forgiveness program; offers new completion grant

British Columbia has announced that it is extending the BC Loan Forgiveness Program to additional occupations and that it will offer new completion grants to students training for in-demand careers. BC’s Loan Forgiveness Program will expand to include health occupations such as ultrasonography and medical laboratory technologists, as well as specialized occupations such as audiologists and speech-language pathologists. Additional changes to the program stipulate that recipients working for at least 400 hours per year for 5 years at a public health facility in an underserved or designated community or school district will have the outstanding BC portion of their student loan paid in full. Previously, this was available after 3 years. Recipients who work between 100–399 hours per year will be eligible to have their BC loans reduced by a prorated amount. The new BC Completion Grant program will offer students who have completed programs leading to an in-demand occupation $500 to reduce their BC student loans. The changes are intended to support BC’s Skills for Jobs BlueprintBC News Release

Entrepreneur Centre opens at Northern College

On Wednesday, Northern College celebrated the official launch of an Entrepreneur Centre at its Timmins campus. The Centre is the result of a partnership between the Business Enterprise Centre, Enterprise Temiskaming, the Nishnawbe Aski Development Fund, the Productivity and Innovation Centre, and NORCAT Innovation Mill. “We want all of our students, regardless of their field of study, to be aware of entrepreneurship as a viable alternative to traditional forms of employment. By encouraging students and graduates to start their own businesses, we’re supporting job creation and local economic growth,” said Northern President Fred Gibbons. Resources from the Centre will be available to students at all of Northern’s campuses. The Centre received funding from Ontario’s On-Campus Entrepreneurship Activities program. Northern News Release

Students present petition against BC plan to link loan repayments, license renewals

On Tuesday, a group of University of Victoria students presented BC NDP advanced education critic Kathy Corrigan with a petition in opposition to a government plan that would make students with unpaid loans unable to renew a driver’s license or insure a vehicle. Greg Atkinson, a spokesperson for the UVic Students’ Society (UVSS), said that the proposed legislation was “punitive” and “short-sighted.” BC Finance Minister Mike de Jong defended the plan, stating that “this would be a collection tool of last resort, where people are simply ignoring, absolutely, the debt they owe. We say a debt that they owe to to the government, but it’s really a debt they owe to other taxpayers as well.” The proposed legislation would apply to accounts that had been in arrears for a year or more. Corrigan planned to present the 3,000-signature petition to the BC legislature yesterday. Victoria Times-Colonist

Lower-income students may struggle with "success costs"

For many lower-income students, the cost of attending university doesn’t end with tuition and textbooks; there are also “success costs,” which are much more difficult to quantify, writes Alyssia Fogarty for University Affairs. Success costs, Fogarty says, include the price of engaging socially in a discipline, whether by attending an event, joining an academic organization, or paying for food and drinks at social gatherings. Success costs can also include the loss of income or opportunity that comes when students lack the time to earn a living wage while participating in extracurricular or volunteer activities. "Being socially familiar with your classmates grants you more confidence to speak up in class discussions, offer critical commentary and opposing perspectives, participate in study groups, and collaborate on additional projects,” Fogarty argues. Not having the time available to volunteer or participate in club activities can put low-income students at a disadvantage when applying for some scholarships and awards. Fogarty argues that institutions must work to identify success costs that affect the potential of lower-income students, and then make them part of the conversation about the overall cost of an education. University Affairs

AB students face challenging summer job market

The drop in oil prices could make things difficult for Alberta students looking for summer employment. Todd Hirsch, Chief Economist with ATB Financial, said, “a lot of [employers], if they’re not laying off people … they will be reluctant to be adding a lot of staff, including even summer positions, just because they don’t know if the demand will be there or if the work will be there for them to do.” Colleen Bangs, Manager of Career Services at the University of Calgary, said that she has noticed a decrease in job postings. However, she added that some larger companies have said that they will honour their commitments to summer hiring. “I don’t think the outlook is as grim for summer students or new graduates, but it’s definitely not as plentiful as it was in the past,” she said. Colleen Bradley, Director of Career Services at Mount Royal University, said that a recent campus career fair featured 85 employers looking to hire for 1,500 jobs, but that several oil and gas companies cancelled. “We know they’re coming from different sectors, but we’re still posting the same number of opportunities for students as we did last year,” she said. Calgary Herald

US fraternities, sororities lobby to limit institutions' powers to investigate rape allegations

Lobbyists representing US fraternities and sororities will be in Washington next month in hopes of making it more difficult for colleges and universities to investigate and punish rape allegations. Representatives of the Fraternity & Sorority Political Action Committee, or “FratPAC,” as well as 2 other groups, will ask lawmakers to introduce a requirement that the criminal justice system must resolve cases before institutions can themselves investigate allegations. “If people commit criminal acts, they should be prosecuted and they should go to jail,” said Michael Greenberg, leader of the Sigma Chi fraternity. FratPAC also plans to ask politicians to prevent institutions from suspending all fraternities or sororities on campus based on an incident at one house. FratPAC’s activities have prompted criticism from some student groups. “Adjudication on campuses is incredibly important for victims and survivors, to make sure they receive some sort of justice,” said Joelle Stangler, Student Body President at the University of Minnesota. National Post

MHC basketball player allowed to use "unprintable" last name

A basketball player with the Medicine Hat College Rattlers will finally be allowed to have his last name printed on his jersey and used by sportscasters and journalists. Guy Carbagiale F**k has been using his middle name since he arrived in North America from Brazil several years ago, first playing in a small town in Wyoming. But after moving to Medicine Hat to play for the Rattlers, his coach saw that it was an issue that was “extremely important” to F**k, and decided to allow the name to be used. F**k explains that his name—actually pronounced “Foo-key”—is of German descent and means “fox.” It’s my last name,” he said. “I’m proud of it. [It] doesn’t matter if it means something bad.” Vancouver Sun | CBC