Top Ten

July 2, 2015

Student alleges that YorkU’s sexual assault policy violates human rights

Mandi Gray, a PhD student at York University, has filed a complaint with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario alleging that the school’s sexual assault policy discriminates against victims, most of whom are women. Gray, who was allegedly assaulted by another PhD student in January, says that she had to disclose details to more than 15 YorkU employees to get information about how the university responds to such incidents, according to the Globe and Mail. Gray adds that she fought unsuccessfully for months to receive counselling through the school. YorkU’s Janice Walls told the Globe and Mail that services, including crisis intervention support, counselling, and academic accommodations, are available to victims. Globe and Mail

Canadian universities adopt new Indigenous education principles

Canada’s universities have adopted a new set of principles that formalize their shared commitment to enhancing educational opportunities for Indigenous students. The new Principles on Indigenous Education, developed by Universities Canada in partnership with all 97 member universities, will guide the institutions as they work to increase access for, and success rates of, Indigenous students. The Principles encourage greater dialogue and collaboration between Indigenous and non-Indigenous students, and between universities and Indigenous communities. Further, the Principles support enhanced indigenization of university curriculum and more Indigenous education leadership within institutions. In addition, university leaders have committed to five actions to support the Principles, such as communicating with other stakeholders and developing public-private partnerships to create opportunities for Indigenous students. News Release | Principles | Globe and Mail

Northern, AlgomaU adopt joint admission agreement

Algoma University and Northern College have signed a joint admission agreement that will make it easier for diploma grads to enter degree programs. The agreement will reduce the time, cost, and barriers involved in transferring to a degree program, allowing students the opportunity to boost their postsecondary education by combining their college diploma with a university degree. AlgomaU’s Academic Dean Richard McCutcheon said, “Algoma University is very pleased to be working with Northern College to create new pathways that enable students from our region, and beyond, increased access to university level studies.” COU News Release

uAlberta accused of using “canny tactics” to discourage pro-life groups

Canadian lawyer John Carpay writes in the National Post that the University of Alberta has used “clever techniques” to censor unpopular speech, especially concerning pro-life supporters on its campus. Among the techniques cited is the university’s alleged unwillingness to apply its Code of Student Behaviour to students who destroy the printed materials of pro-life groups. Carpay compares this action to that of the University of Calgary, which photographed and charged a number of pro-life demonstrators with trespassing and non-academic misconduct in 2010. Carpay says that like uCalgary, uAlberta is “a campus which does not provide a safe space for the free expression and debate of ideas.” National Post

TRU partners with Mexican university

Thompson Rivers University has signed an agreement with Mexico’s Universidad Autónoma de Guerrero (UAGRO) that may result in joint research, training and management projects, and academic programs. This marks the first formalized agreement that TRU has signed with a Mexican state university. Baihua Chadwick, Associate VP International at TRU, said, “we will begin a new chapter for both universities starting this summer when the first group of five students from UAGRO will arrive at TRU.” Javier Saldaña Almazán, rector of UAGRO, added, “this agreement is an historic moment in the advancement of UAGRO’s internationalization process.” Kamloops Info News | TRU Release

Retirement incentives help Trent balance budget for 2015–16

Trent University’s board of governors has approved a balanced operating budget for 2015–16. According to their news release, all academic and administrative departments at the university were consulted before the budget was submitted for approval. The same release noted that planning for 2015–16 was difficult due to the elimination of the Queen’s-Trent concurrent education program, which will result in a lost stream of student enrolment. However, projected total enrolment for 2015–16 is still trending slightly upward. Earlier this year, the school also implemented a one-time early retirement incentive offer for faculty and staff to help balance its budget. Trent News Release | Peterborough Examiner

WLU’s proposal to house Canadian PM statues generates controversy

Wilfrid Laurier University has agreed to house 22 life-sized statues of all past Canadian prime ministers on its Waterloo campus. The project is led by a private donor group that initially lobbied for the statues to be located in downtown Kitchener’s Victoria Park with city support in November 2013. But the plan was rejected by city councillors due to concerns about its aesthetic appeal and ability to represent the city’s multicultural community. The donor group has since reached an agreement with WLU, which will pay the cost of installing and maintaining the statues on its campus. WLU President Max Blouw said, “there is no better place to locate these statues than a university campus, which is dedicated to learning, scholarship, and the invigorating exchange of ideas and perspectives.” CBC | Waterloo Region Record

uPhoenix imposes deep cuts due to plummeting revenue, enrolment

The University of Phoenix announced on Monday that it would eliminate most of its associate degree programs, close more of its physical campuses, and establish its first admission requirements to ensure continued accreditation. The university will likely have just 150,000 students by 2016, down significantly from the 460,000 it reported in 2010. In the nine months leading to May 31, the school also saw its revenue decrease by $379.3 M, or 18.8%. The school’s parent company, Apollo Group, has also announced that it will lay off approximately 600 employees. The Chronicle of Higher Education | Inside Higher Ed

Berkeley sued by 3 women alleging improperly handled sexual assault complaints

Three current and former students of the University of California, Berkeley have sued the institution for allegedly failing to respond properly to complaints of sexual assault as mandated by Title IX. “There was deliberate and utter indifference to these girls,” said Irwin M Zalkin, attorney for the plaintiffs. Berkeley’s Janet Gilmore said the university was reserving comment on the lawsuit, but that a state audit had found their handling of sexual assault and harassment cases “reasonable and that sanctions were appropriate given the severity of the incidents.” Separately, Inside Higher Ed reports that more campuses are beginning to hire outside judges to adjudicate sexual assault hearings. LA Times | SFGate | Inside Higher Ed

US Supreme Court to revisit affirmative action debate

The US Supreme Court has announced that it has agreed to hear Fisher v University of Texas at Austin again. Two years ago, the case was sent back to the lower courts with the instructions to apply “strict scrutiny.” Supporters of race-conscious admissions have called the move “baffling and ominous,” speculating that the court may limit, or even end, all such affirmative action. Abigail Fisher, a white woman who was not admitted by UT Austin in 2008, said, “I hope the justices will rule that UT is not allowed to treat undergraduate applicants differently because of their race or ethnicity.” Chronicle of Higher Education (Subscription Required) | Inside Higher Ed | New York Times | The Guardian