Top Ten

November 28, 2016

Debate surrounds campus speaking engagements featuring Ghomeshi lawyer

A speaking engagement scheduled by the Maple League of Universities has sparked controversy over its inclusion of Marie Henein, the lawyer who defended Jian Ghomeshi against allegations of sexual assault earlier this year. Lucille Harper, executive director of the Antigonish Women’s Resource Centre, has argued that inviting Henein sends the wrong message by celebrating a figure whose professional history and style of legal argumentation could retraumatize students who have experienced sexual violence. Bishop’s University Principal Michael Goldbloom has defended Henein’s invitation, however, asserting that she is “one of Canada’s preeminent defence attorneys. … [and] also a strong advocate for the advancement of girls and women.” Goldbloom adds that “[one] of the reasons that we so fiercely defend academic freedom is because we believe that a university must be a place where controversial ideas can be debated.” Toronto Star (Debate) | Montreal Gazette (Goldbloom) | Global News | CTV News 

UAlberta law faculty investigates allegations of sexism surrounding student article

The law faculty at the University of Alberta is investigating whether students who published a purportedly satirical article have breached the school’s code of conduct. A recent piece in the Canons of Construction student newspaper reportedly describes a fictional “desperate drunk girl” attending faculty events and making sexual advances to her classmates. “By making it a joke, it normalized that we can speak about young women in professional environments like this,” said third-year law student Lerina Koornhof. The paper's editors and article's author have published an apology and have reportedly removed the article from their website. “We take this situation very seriously and believe strongly in equality, diversity and inclusivity, and in fostering a culture and environment where all students feel welcome and safe to pursue their legal studies,” said law faculty vice-dean Moin Yahya in a statement. Edmonton Journal | Calgary Herald

QC higher ed minister pledges to have new CEGEP action plan in place for fall 2017

Quebec Higher Education Minister Hélène David has stated that she will look into the province’s CEGEPs in response to an unfavourable report by the province’s auditor general. The report said that it found serious flaws in CEGEPs’ management of contracts and expenses, flaws that have prompted David to announce that her office will devise an action plan for all CEGEPs and private colleges to be in place by fall of next year. David expressed personal reservations about whether CEGEP board members are properly prepared to govern, insisting that “that’s why training is so important. Training is about the consciousness that you have a responsibility. It’s a duty that you accept, and we have to be very careful about who’s on the board.” David added that QC will consider mandating three to six hours of management training for all board members in the education and health-care sectors. Montreal Gazette

SFU pledges to decrease carbon footprint of its investment portfolio

Simon Fraser University has announced that it will decrease the carbon footprint of its investment portfolio by at least 30% by 2030, which would put it in line with Canada’s national climate commitment. As part of this process, the university says it will measure and publicly disclose the footprint of its equity investments on a yearly basis. “The Board’s decision will enable SFU to take a more active role in encouraging companies to pursue lower carbon solutions while also reducing our investment risk,” said SFU Board Chair Bill Cunningham. The announcement builds on the efforts of the school’s Responsible Investment Committee, which was formed to determine how the university could adjust its investments to act on climate change while remaining fiscally responsible. SFU President Andrew Petter specifically commended the contributions of SFU350, a student organization whose advocacy was instrumental in encouraging the university to develop its new policy. SFU

Woman who accused Galloway of sexual assault issues statement

The former University of British Columbia student who accused Steven Galloway of sexual assault has released a statement contesting the claim that her involvement with Galloway was a “consensual affair.” Issued through her lawyer, the woman’s statement claims that she “has stayed silent since Galloway was suspended, out of respect for the process and the confidentiality of everyone involved,” adding that “the so-called ‘secrecy’ of the investigation process has protected Galloway, perhaps more than anyone else.” The statement also works to clarify the allegations brought against Galloway, insisting that his power as a professor made his involvement with the student more than inappropriate. “Mr. Galloway has not made clear to whom he is apologizing or what he regrets, other than presumably the consequences to him,” the statement reads. “His reference to the ‘tragedy’ of the events does not explicitly consider the devastating impacts of abuse of power on women affected.” Vancouver Sun | The Province

Mohawk receives $1M corporate donation to tech programs

Mohawk College’s Fennell campus will be able to renew its technology programs and build new facilities thanks to a $1M investment from ArcelorMittal Dofasco. The donation is reportedly the first corporate contribution towards a $54M project, which includes the construction and renovation of a collective 120,000 square feet of technology labs and classrooms over the next two years. The Spec also notes that the company has funded bursaries for 85 Mohawk students who are in financial need. Mohawk expects to grow technology program enrolment by 1,000 students over five years and expand research programs with industry partners by 50%. The Spec | Mohawk

Should universities punish students for off-campus behaviour?

A recent off-campus party held by students of Queen’s University has sparked a debate around how far universities can and should go in punishing students for off-campus behaviour, reports the CBC. Calgary-based lawyer Timothy Boyle argues that while it is fair for schools to hold students to certain codes of conduct while on campus, it “has to be a great concern” when schools “want to extend themselves past their university boundaries and start regulating [students'] affairs while they are off campus.” But Michael McDonald, executive director of the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations, says that there is also a danger in institutions doing nothing if their students’ off-campus behaviour negatively impacts the campus community. “We think that they can play important roles, especially when they're open, clear and they involve input from the rest of the community in those discussions and they are applied in a fair manner,” says McDonald. CBC

UWinnipeg, FortWhyte to collaborate on research, education

The University of Winnipeg and nature centre FortWhyte Alive have signed an MOU that will give faculty members access to the centre’s facilities for research and teaching purposes. “This partnership makes sense in so many ways,” said UWinnipeg President Annette Trimbee. “Not only does it build on The University of Winnipeg’s already strong relationship with FortWhyte, but it also builds on our shared goals of fostering innovative research, experiential learning, and sustainable practices.” A UWinnipeg release outlines some of the ways that the two parties have worked together prior to the formal agreement. UWinnipeg

The Atlantic looks to Canadian PSE as model for minority representation in US higher ed

Canadian approaches to supporting Indigenous learners could provide the US with a model to better serve underrepresented groups in higher ed, writes Jon Marcus for The Atlantic. The author highlights the efforts of the University of Saskatchewan as potential inspiration for American schools to boost enrolment and graduation rates for these groups. uSask President Peter Stoicheff says that “a lot of these things are transferable,” referring to strategies that can also help US institutions with their own diversity initiatives. Universities Canada President Paul Davidson also notes that “there is a combination of a moral imperative and an economic imperative” to better supporting Indigenous students, as helping Indigenous learners could help the province of Saskatchewan both socially and fiscally by cutting costs and improving the earning potential of Indigenous graduates. The Atlantic

Ryerson to expand co-op offerings with $1M gift

Ryerson University has received a $1M from the Birchall family to help expand co-operative education at its Ted Rogers School of Management. The donation also includes a $250K annual gift from Barrick Gold to support the expansion going forward. The Birchalls have noted that they hope the donation will help address a skills gap in the Canadian workplace and to give Ryerson graduates a competitive advantage in this regard. “There’s an opportunity to get industry and Ryerson to work together on how best to bridge the gaps so that a graduate could seamlessly make the transition to the commercial world,” says William Birchall, honorary Chair of the Ted Rogers Student Society. “We believe Ryerson has the right stuff, and the most relevant programs to get graduates prepared for their careers—that's in the Ryerson DNA.” Ryerson