Top Ten

August 30, 2016

UNB bans pub crawls, STU considering ban

The University of New Brunswick has reportedly announced that it will no longer allow student organizations to coordinate pub crawls. According to VP Academic Shirley Cleave, the reasons for banning pub crawls are typically related to insurance, risk considerations, and other universities no longer permitting pub crawls. “We were one of the last universities turning a blind eye to pub tours,” says Cleave, “so we talked to the students, we worked through an event process and decided that pub tours are far too risky.” UNB Student Union VP of Finance and Operations Grayson Beairsto noted that the student union worked with administration on the ban. St Thomas University Communications Director Jeffrey Carleton has stated that STU will consider a similar ban for its students. CBC

Dal faculty criticize school's $300K payment for executive training, Dal states it will be reimbursed

Members of the faculty at Dalhousie University have criticized the institution’s recent move to pay over $300K CDN to send executives, including Dal President Richard Florizone, to an entrepreneurship-based program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dal English Professor Julia Wright called the decision a “bad start to the year,” and stated that students will be vocal about the expense at a time when they will be facing a three-per-cent tuition hike. "The students have every right to find out why their tuition money is being spent for free tuition for some very wealthy people,” said Wright. Dal spokesperson Brian Leadbetter explained that Dal paid the fees to expedite enrolment in the program, and further noted that the school's administrators were “fully confident that we are going to raise those funds and secure that funding through private sector partners.” CBC

US dean’s letter to incoming students sparks international debate on free speech, safe spaces

The debate around safe spaces, trigger warnings, and campus protests has intensified following the publication of a letter to incoming students by a University of Chicago executive. Students entering the school recently received a personal email from uChicago Dean of Students John Ellison stating that the school’s “commitment to academic freedom” means that it “will not condone the creation of intellectual safe spaces where individuals can retreat from ideas and perspectives at odds with their own.” The letter has received praise from many who see it as a defense of academic freedom and the celebration of debate, while others have deemed the letter to be a “very callous” denial of the challenges faced by marginalized groups and individuals who have experienced trauma. Inside Higher Ed | Chronicle of Higher Education

CEGEPs to undertake cross-institutional campaign to combat sexual violence

Quebec’s CEGEPs are set to undertake a large-scale awareness campaign to fight sexual violence on campus. The campaign will draw on materials already produced by fifteen universities and student associations that have agreed to share their resources with the CEGEPs. Fédération des cégeps President Bernard Tremblay told the Journal de Montréal that the new campaign will aim to do “much more than put up signs,” insisting that the participating CEGEPs must have teams and resources in place to support victims who may come forward during the campaign and beyond. Journal de Montréal

UBC alleges former dentistry faculty member misused funds

UBC has stated that a former member of the Faculty of Dentistry misused funds for personal gain while participating in a pilot project in Haida Gwaii, reports the Globe and Mail. In November 2015, the federal government brought UBC and former faculty member Christopher Zed to BC’s Supreme Court with allegations that Zed had misused millions of dollars that were intended to improve dental care for residents of Haida Gwaii. The allegations have not been proven and criminal charges have not been laid, yet UBC has distanced itself from Zed, alleging that “UBC acknowledges that Dr Zed personally inappropriately enriched himself during the period in which he was involved in the project.” Globe and Mail

Queen’s releases preliminary report for TRC task force

A Queen's University task force has released a preliminary report outlining how the school will address the calls to action outlined by Canada's Truth and Reconciliation Commission. According to a Queen’s release, the report offers details on the information-gathering and consultation processes that the school will use for the initiative moving forward. “The TRC final report marked a significant juncture in Canada’s history, and responding to the calls to action directed toward the post-secondary sector, as well as contributing to the ongoing process of reconciliation, is a priority for Queen’s,” says Queen’s Principal Daniel Woolf. “We want the process and final recommendations to be as comprehensive as possible, and this preliminary report is a step toward achieving that goal.” Queen’s | Report

Business booming in higher ed’s “cheating economy,” writes CHE

“Just as higher education is changing, embracing a revolution in online learning, the cheating business is transforming as well, finding new and more insidious ways to undermine academic integrity,” writes the Chronicle of Higher Education. Through a series of interviews, the Chronicle speaks to both individuals who run “cheating companies” and those who use their services. The article offers analysis of why the majority of people who use these services are not caught, and how the view of higher education as a commercial transaction is threatening the traditional mission of universities as places of higher learning. Chronicle of Higher Education (Subscription Required)

MB pro-life group receives official club recognition as part of settlement

A pro-life student group at Brandon University has received permission to operate on the school’s campus after Brandon’s student union stripped it of official club status, reports the National Post. Last week, Brandon University Student’s Union reversed its decision to ban Brandon University Students for Life. The pro-life club pursued legal action against the union in July, and the Post reports that the union has agreed to recognize the group as part of an out-of-court settlement. “As students of Brandon University, we must have the same right as every other fee-paying member of BUSU to participate fully in campus life, like other student groups,” said Students for Life President Catherine Dubois. National Post

Here is how Canada will produce the 150,000 tech experts it needs, write Globe contributors

Canada will require a historic effort to supply the number of tech experts it needs to be a world economic leader in the 21st-century, write Stephen Lake and Sarah Prevette for the Globe and Mail. The authors outline four strategies that Canada can use to produce an additional 150,000 tech experts in the near future, which include making coding part of the education curriculum as early as elementary school; expanding postsecondary co-op programs; fighting for gender equality and parity, particularly in the STEM disciplines; and encouraging immigration. Globe and Mail

To teach students to ambitiously interact with the world, drop social media, says THE contributor

Academics would be well-advised to stay away from social media, according to Times Higher Education contributor Gabriel Egan.The author argues that using social media infantilizes students by “overfeeding their innate cravings” for acceptance and approval, and notes that this effect runs counter to the need for students to break away from the status quo to engage with new viewpoints and academic ideas. “Students must discover that it is OK not to be popular with the in-crowd,” Egan notes, “OK to be something of an oddball with unusual tastes.” With the mandate to teach students to think ambitiously about their interactions with the wider world, the author encourages academics to “stop using social media and to wean students off of them.” Times Higher Education