Top Ten

October 21, 2016

uOttawa newspaper editor receives online threats after reporting on pub crawl

The editor of the University of Ottawa’s student newspaper has reportedly received a wave of sexual and racist threats after publishing an exposé on a pub crawl organized by one of the school’s student bodies. Since the article’s publication, La Rotonde Editor Yasmine Mehdi has reportedly received hateful messages on social media. Kelly Gordon, who sat on the University of Ottawa’s Task Force on Respect and Equality, says that she is shocked by “how racist these comments were, implying that because she's a woman of color she doesn't have the right to speak out. It is appalling and unacceptable.” CTV reports that Mehdi has declined to discuss the online comments in order to focus on whether any sanctions will be handed down to the pub crawl’s organizers and participants. uOttawa has officially condemned the event and the university’s student union has launched an investigation into it. uOttawa | Ottawa Citizen | CBC

Dal, U of King’s College students protest tuition fees

Students at Dalhousie University and the University of King’s College protested Wednesday against rising tuition fees and called for free postsecondary tuition nationwide. The students reportedly handed out packages of instant noodles to represent the cost of rising tuition and student debt. “Tuition fees are so high that they [students] can't afford basic necessities like groceries,” said Charlotte Kiddell, the Nova Scotia chair of the Canadian Federation of Students. The protest comes in the wake of a decision by U of King’s College not to raise tuition, while Dal has raised general tuition by 3%. Students also pointed to Ontario’s recent shift toward free tuition for low-income families as a strong step toward a system of free tuition that NS should follow. CBC

SFU to host visiting Indian scholars with $500K donation

Simon Fraser University has received a $500K gift to provide students the opportunity to learn from world-class Indian scholars. Provided by Hari and Madhu Varshney, the gift will fund the Hari and Madhu Varshney Visiting Scholars Program in Indian Studies, which will help leading Indian academics come to SFU to share their knowledge and insights. “This wonderful gift will strengthen SFU’s commitment to engage the world,” says SFU president Andrew Petter. “Thanks to the Varshneys’ generosity, these scholars will enrich our educational and research environment, while deepening understanding of India’s rich culture and heritage amongst the communities we serve.” SFU

Ethics, business, liberal arts form basis of new Huron Core Curriculum

All students at Huron University College will now need to follow a core curriculum in addition to their chosen major or program. The move is part of a new direction in Huron’s institutional vision, which the university says will “[pair] the traditional advantages of liberal arts—communication skills, critical thinking, analytical insight—with the in-demand skills of business and management.” The new Huron Core Curriculum will reportedly be finalized following a consultative process with faculty, and is expected to roll out to students in fall 2017. Huron adds that underpinning all academic programming will be an ethical foundation that stresses corporate social responsibility, service to the community, and social justice. “No other university in the country does this at an undergraduate level, across the entire institution,” says Huron Principal Barry Craig. “This will be a cultural shift for our entire university, and it will be what sets our students apart in the job market.” Huron

Carleton faculty union calls for 20+ amendments to sexual violence policy

The Carleton University Academic Staff Association has responded to a recent draft of the school’s sexual violence policy with a list of more than 20 changes it would like to see made to the policy. The Ottawa Citizen reports that most of the changes revolve around three areas: prevention, confidentiality, and representation in hearings. According to the Association, the current draft contains no clear statement of how resources for education would be allocated, and is asking that the school fund a position whose sole purpose is to address and prevent sexual violence on campus. “We managed to turn the tide on racism. We managed to turn the tide on homophobia. We can turn the tide on sexual violence,” said Dawn Moore, associate professor of law and equity chair of the faculty union. “The teachable moments are fleeting. And now we’re in one. I want my university to be getting it right.” Ottawa Citizen

One bad year shouldn’t ruin your education: UBC staff make the case for transitional bursaries

“[How] do universities maintain high standards of excellence while acknowledging the existence of youthful indiscretion?” ask Julie Foran, Joanna Ludlow, Mandy Thiessen, and Erica Triggs for University Affairs. As staff members of the University of British Columbia, the authors highlight the importance of making sure that one bad year does not derail a student’s entire postsecondary journey. This is why UBC has introduced what the authors call a “transition bursary,” which is given to students who have lost their original scholarships but who are able to meet with advisors and develop a new plan for getting back on track. The authors note that since introducing the transitional bursary, UBC has seen half of the students who use it recover their original scholarships, avoiding what could have been a significant, permanent setback in their studies. UBC

Concordia to support children’s literacy, sustainability with new gift

Concordia University will have new resources to support literacy and sustainability thanks to a contribution from TD Bank Group. Half of the $600K donation will be used to support the ABRACADABRA literacy program, which was developed by researchers from Concordia’s Centre for the Study of Learning and Performance in the Faculty of Arts and Science and aims to help children acquire reading skills up to 20% more quickly. The other half of the donation will be used to support a new generation of business professionals at the John Molson School of Business through the Sustainable Internship Program, which provides work opportunities to Concordia students who lend their budding talents to small-sized, green focused companies. Concordia

McMaster receives $15M from chancellor for aging research

McMaster University Chancellor Suzanne Labarge has provided a gift of $15M to McMaster to help prepare for the oncoming “grey tsunami,” or overwhelming aging of the population. The donation will specifically be used to fund the Labarge Centre for Mobility in Aging. This gift comes in addition to $3.25M that McMaster will invest in its McMaster Institute for Research on Aging, which houses the Centre. “A big issue for our country is trying to find ways to help people age in the best way,” commented McMaster President Patrick Deane. “That's one reason why McMaster is focused on this.” The gift will support interdisciplinary research investigating how seniors can live more independently through greater mobility, better health and fitness, and increased social connection. Hamilton Spectator | McMaster

uToronto orders prof to use students’ preferred gender pronouns

The University of Toronto has ordered one of its professors to refer to students by whatever pronoun they wish and to refrain from making any further public statements about the issue, reports the Toronto Sun. Psychology Professor Jordan Peterson reportedly received a letter on Tuesday instructing him to respect students’ right to choose the pronoun they are referenced by. “They had to make their decision whether they were going to make a stand for free speech or whether they were going to censor me and they’ve decided,” Peterson told the Sun. “It’s unfortunate; I’m not happy about it; I’m disappointed.” uToronto spokesperson Althea Blackburn-Evans has said that while Peterson has a right to his opinion, he must also respect his obligation as a faculty member “to foster a learning environment that’s free from discrimination and harassment.” Toronto Sun | uToronto

Western Public Health Program accredited by CEPH

The Master of Public Health Program offered through Western University’s Schulich Interfaculty Program in Public Health has reportedly received accreditation for five years from the Council on Education for Public Health. Western states that it is the first program in the province and the fourth in Canada to receive this accreditation. “This program is unique in its case-based approach to education, and I feel it has strengths that no other program has,” stated MPH candidate Melissa Fernandes. “CEPH’s accreditation gives power to the program in a way that resonates with colleagues and employers.” Amardeep Thind, Director of the Schulich Interfaculty program in Public Health, noted that, “it is a huge pat on the back for Western to have received accreditation so soon after the development of the program.” Western