Top Ten

August 19, 2020

ACFA files suit against U of A, AB over Campus Saint-Jean funding

The Association canadienne-française de l'Alberta (ACFA) has announced that it will be filing a civil case against the University of Alberta and the Government of Alberta over the “chronic underfunding” of Campus Saint-Jean. ACFA argues that the failure to fund the faculty appropriately amounts to a violation of a 1976 agreement between UAlberta, AB, and the francophone community as well as a violation of Section 23 Charter rights for instruction in French. The allegations have not yet been proven in court.   CBC  (AB)

Western, UWOFA establish Letters of Understanding to modify Faculty Collective Agreement

Western University and the University of Western Ontario Faculty Association have signed off on Letters of Understanding that modify the Faculty Collective Agreement. One LOU, focused on Implications of Technology, indicates that the move to online delivery will be called “emergency remote teaching” rather than online teaching. The terminology acknowledges the temporary nature and extraordinary circumstances of faculty work for the upcoming school year. The other LOU, focused on Annual Performance Evaluations, will see APEs not carried out in the 2020-2021 academic year. A Joint Working Group will also be created to identify how the institution can take into account the impact of emergency remote teaching during COVID-19 in subsequent cycles of evaluation.  UWOFA  (ON)

MUN students' union calling for better security for those who live in residence

Memorial University’s students’ union has called for improved security for those who live in residence. CBC reports that approximately 2,000 students live in one of MUN’s on-campus residences in St John, and MUNSU Director of Advocacy Katherine McLaughlin stated that the union has had reports from students about sexual assault and harassment. "It's something that is certainly not unique to Memorial,” said McLaughlin, “But it's something that Memorial has a lot of work to do to keep up with these instances that occurring right now.” MUNSU has issued 9 demands to the university, which include sexual assault training for all staff that work to support students, criminal record and vulnerable sector checks for all MUN employees, and survivor-centred policies that consider all complaints as equal.   CBC  (NL)

NWT encourages board, academic senate for future of Aurora College

A proposed governance model for Aurora College’s future as a polytechnic university suggests taking steps to ensure the institution is at an arm’s length from the government. The discussion paper, released last week by the Northwest Territories Department of Education, Culture, and Employment, suggests that the institution should have an academic senate populated by members of the institution, as well as a separate board of governors with members of the community and institution. CBC reports that the proposed senate would be in charge of class sizes, research policies, and conduct issues; while the board would handle finances and operations, legal duties, and the hiring of top administrators.  CBC  (NWT)

Ensure mental health is an integral part of EDI efforts: Op-ed

“Most people with a mental illness live in fear of others finding out," writes Stephanie Robertson, a US-based university director of community engagement and inclusion. “However, a large part of my role is to create a culture that is inclusive and welcoming to all, and I know that I need to share my truth to create a space where others feel they can do the same.” Robertson reflects on how a commitment to authenticity and vulnerability is critical to creating an inclusive environment in higher education. The author encourages senior leaders who have experienced mental health conditions to share their experiences; urges institutions to create opportunities for sharing stories through mediums such as group conversations and artwork; and calls on institutions to provide training around mental wellness and mental health conditions for students, faculty, and staff.    Inside Higher Ed   (International)

VCC launches Associate of Science degree

Vancouver Community College has announced a new Associate of Science degree that will enable students to analyze and interpret data collected through research or in a lab. The two-year program is a standalone credential that can be used to enter into a scientific career or to transfer into the upper years of a bachelor’s degree program. VCC Science department leader Jennifer Kelly explained that while the Associate of Science degree is common in the United States, they are not well known in Canada: “BC is the only province that offers them.”   VCC  (BC)

St Clair student tests positive for COVID-19

A student at St Clair College has tested positive for COVID-19. The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit has confirmed the case and determined that the transmission risk associated with the case is “low.” “On behalf of the entire St. Clair community of students and staff, I wish a speedy and thorough recovery to the student affected,” said St. Clair President Patti France. “The larger lesson we’re taking from this is that our pandemic plan and all of its related procedures have been put in place for a very good reason, demanding conscientious recognition and adherence by students and staff.”  Classmates of the individual have been advised to self-monitor for 14 days and are able to continue their attendance at the college during this time. St Clair  | CBC  (ON)

Health experts express concerns about students returning to residence

As tens of thousands of students return to their dorms next week, some health experts have expressed concerns that the safety protocols put in place are not enough to stop the spread of COVID-19. "As much as universities are going to have rules, there's going to be an element of wanting to socialize and interact with people," said University of Toronto epidemiologist Ashleigh Tuite, “Striking that balance may be challenging." The article describes the efforts that institutions across the country have taken, which range from closing common spaces to introducing take-out at cafeterias.    CBC  (National)

Partnership with Kingston Transit yields Queen’s, SLC student associations refund, discounted passes

Students at Queen’s University and St Lawrence College will have access to a discounted Kingston Transit bus pass, thanks to a new decision made in collaboration with the Alma Mater Society of Queen’s and the Student Association of St Lawrence. The city council also approved a refund of $355K to SLC’s student association and $495K to the AMS for the transit program, which covers the funds students paid for the 2019-2020 academic year before the transit system made rides free. “We have a long-standing partnership between the city and the student associations at both Queen’s University and St Lawrence College,” said the Transit Services director Jeremy DaCosta. “We know how important it is for students to be able to access public transit in our community.”  The Whig  (ON)

Students in QC, MB request service fees discount

With universities largely offering distance learning, students in Quebec and Manitoba are requesting refunds or discounts on fees for services that they will not be using. Student unions in both provinces have pushed for reduced or eliminated fees given students’ financial circumstances. Concordia University and McGill University told CBC that they plan to charge students non-tuition fees unless services become “completely unavailable” this semester. The University of Manitoba and University of Winnipeg described how they are waiving or reducing select fees, and reallocating other fees to support online services. Brandon University stated that all of its fees will be similar to the previous year.   CBC (QC)  | CBC (MB)  (QC | MB)