Top Ten

August 24, 2017

Quebec City postsecondary institutions preparing for legal marijuana

With Fall 2017 just around the corner, CEGEPs in Quebec City are preparing for the 2018 back-to-school period that will see the legalization of marijuana in Canada. “It's five minutes to midnight,” said CEGEP Lévis-Lauzon communications director André Roy, who told Radio-Canada that the file related to marijuana legalization is much more complex than it seems. CEGEP Garneau has reportedly banned the use of tobacco and e-cigarettes as of this session, and a committee is working on a marijuana policy and roll-out plan this week. Université Laval is reportedly participating in the consultation with the Government of Québec in the capital, and will file an opinion on the management of marijuana on campus. CBC | Radio-Canada

“Prior restraint” not an appropriate way to police hate speech: Post contributor

“Any event can be ‘a platform for hate speech,’ if an organizer or attendee decides to make it one. The key, within reason, is that they be given the chance,” writes Chris Selley for the National Post. The author criticizes federal Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer’s commitment to work with universities “to prevent loopholes for events that risk violating Canadian law.” The statement, Selley argues, amounts to an endorsement of “prior restraint,” or the practice of cancelling events due to the possibility of an individual or group might utter hate speech. While Selley acknowledges the importance of hate speech laws as established in Canada’s criminal code, he argues that censoring speakers before they have had a chance to violate such laws is a suppression of free speech. National Post

It is not universities’ job to enforce copyright compliance: McMaster professor

In its recent copyright ruling against York University, the federal court went so far as to suggest that “universities should go beyond education and reminders and should monitor the activities” of students, staff, and academics, writes McMaster University professor Sara Bannerman. Yet there is a profound difference, Bannerman notes, “between educating — clearly an important role of universities — and the surveillance, monitoring and enforcement of copyright compliance on campus.” Bannerman argues that while universities are responsible for creating and sharing clear copyright compliance guidelines, they are under no legal obligation to enforce copyright compliance on their campuses. To suggest otherwise, Bannerman argues, “can easily slide into over-enforcement that impedes speech.” The Conversation

Debate emerges in US on whether grad students should publish

The question of whether graduate students should be expected to publish has sparked debates among professors in philosophy and the natural sciences. J David Velleman, a professor of philosophy at New York University, recently wrote of the “deleterious effects” that have come from the growing expectation for graduate students to publish, noting that the volume of article submissions to philosophy journals has “exploded” and the attention given to each article has declined substantially. Critics, however, contend that peer-reviewed publications remain the greatest differentiator among graduate students who have recently entered the academic job market, and that outright bans on grad student publishing—which Velleman recommends—are ill-advised. Inside Higher Ed

The $20K mistake that many PSE student, parents make

Many postsecondary students and their parents are about to make a $20K mistake without even knowing it, writes Rob Carrick for the Globe and Mail. This mistake, the author adds, is choosing the wrong program—both for the student’s interests and for the demands of the job market. Students need to think of PSE as one of the biggest investments they will ever make, adds Carrick, adding that “students need to be exposed starting in Grades 10 and 11 to data showing where the jobs are and which programs will prepare them to work in these areas.” While it might be asking too much to suggest that high school students commit to careers for the rest of their working lives, the author argues that “looking at jobs with bright prospects reminds us that today’s employment opportunities require some strategic thinking about what to study.” Globe and Mail

Tips for a more effective PSE orientation

“The first days of college serve as a rapid introduction to campus culture and a crucial opportunity to teach lessons on health and safety,” writes Kathryn Masterson, but “while colleges have always had orientations for new students, the calls to educate students on some issues, such as racial diversity, sexual assault, and mental health, have grown in recent years.” The author offers tips on how schools can offer orientations that provide students with lasting knowledge and support. One such example is the University of Oregon, which has implemented an extended six-week orientation period known as “starting block.” Other tips include helping students make meaningful face-to-face connections and ensuring that orientation activities and content are up-to-date with changing times. Chronicle of Higher Education (Subscription Required)

UWindsor to create PhD program in argumentation

The University of Windsor has announced that it plans to launch a new PhD program in Argumentation Studies this fall. A university release states that the goal of the program is to address the vital role of argumentation “in everything from getting groceries to avoiding nuclear war.” “People argue in every aspect of their personal and professional lives – it is central to how we relate to each other and it plays a key role in getting to the truth – such as when we debate the value of a political plan or a democratic candidate,” says the program’s Graduate Coordinator, Catherine Hundleby. UWindsor

Closure of Confederation bubble means no more indoor tennis in Thunder Bay

The shutdown of Confederation College’s existing sports complex and fitness centre “will effectively mean the end of indoor tennis in the northwestern Ontario city,” reports CBC. The college’s new wellness centre, slated for completion in Fall 2017, does not include new indoor tennis courts. “There's really no options, unless parents are going to take them down to tournaments in the United States, or travel to Winnipeg or travel to Toronto, there's not really anything you can do for indoor tennis,” said Jamie Grieve, Thunder Bay Community Tennis Centre club pro, who highlighted the impact this would have on aspiring competitive tennis players in the city. “It's pretty hard to go and compete at a good provincial level if you're not practicing between tournaments.” CBC

McGill acquires full ownership of one building, faces unique restoration challenges with another

McGill University's Macdonald Engineering Building is presenting unique challenges during its masonry restoration, which include the need to take research laboratories into consideration and the fact that the building’s weight is supported by the exterior walls in need of restoration. The McGill Reporter notes that the university has also become the full owner of the building at 680 Sherbrooke Street West in Montreal, which it has co-owned with Industrielle Alliance insurance company since 1999. The Faculty of Arts, School of Continuing Studies, Human Resources and IT Services are currently housed in the building. The purchase will reportedly help reduce the university’s space deficit and allow for the relocation of other units to the building McGill (1) | McGill (2)

Students need better understanding of benefits of government vs private student loans

Being unaware of the differences between private loans and government loans can be costly for today’s students, writes Erica Alini. While student lines of credit offered by private financial institutions can have much lower interest rates than government student loans, many students and parents are not aware that the interest paid on government loans is tax deductible. Further, students will not need to start paying back government loans until they are earning more than $25K per year. That said, experts note that students may be better off with a private line of credit if they expect to earn a strong salary shortly after leaving school. Global News