Top Ten

July 5, 2021

Postsecondary institutions hold events, voice support for Indigenous communities

On July 1st, postsecondary institutions across Canada held events and made statements of support to acknowledge those impacted by the residential school system. Red River College’s campus marked the start of a walk to honour people affected by residential schools. A piece in the Ottawa Citizen by Carleton University professor Andrew Cohen reflected on Canada’s mourning over the unmarked Indigenous graves through flags flying at half-mast at the University of Toronto. Niagara College and Fleming College were among those that released statements encouraging community members to reflect, grieve, and stand in solidarity with Indigenous communities. Indigenous faculty from the University of Victoria released a statement noting that UVic will continue to have its flag at half-mast until local elders and leaders indicate it is appropriate to raise it, and called upon UVic to renew its commitment to the TRC’s Calls to Action. Portage Online (RRC) | Ottawa Citizen | Niagara | Fleming | Nation Talk (UVic) (National)

Federal Court rules CSJ unfairly denied Redeemer’s 2019 CSJ application

The Federal Court of Canada has ruled that the Canadian government unfairly denied Redeemer University’s Canada Summer Jobs (CSJ) program application in 2019. The CSJ program had reportedly found Redeemer’s application ineligible on the basis of discrimination and harassment, but Justice Mosley found that the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour had only conducted a “cursory review” of Redeemer’s application, had not provided Redeemer with relevant information, and did not provide Redeemer with the opportunity to give information that would clarify its application. Justice Mosley also found that Redeemer’s application was not reasonably assessed by CSJ. “[Faith-based] institutions must be treated not just with procedural fairness, but also with respect for their Charter-protected rights,” the Court cautioned the government. Redeemer | CBC (ON)

UBC, BOF partner to provide support, opportunities for Black UBC students

The University of British Columbia and Black Opportunity Fund (BOF) have partnered to provide support and opportunities to Black students at UBC. Through the partnership, students will be able to access a range of opportunities including awards, mentorship, internships, leadership conferences, and networking opportunities, as well as other opportunities to help them transition to life after graduation. BOF has also established two full-ride awards for Black students at UBC, and UBC is launching the Beyond Tomorrow Scholar Program to provide additional support and programming for Black Canadian students. “UBC is honoured to be working with Black Opportunity Fund to help give Black students access to a life-changing education,” says UBC President Santa J Ono. UBC (BC)

McGill janitor dismissed after allegedly spying on students

CTV News reports that a janitor working at McGill University has been fired after reportedly spying on students in the bathroom. The janitor was dismissed after a student shot a video of a man crouching to look under a bathroom stall door. CTV News says at least three other students have shared similar stories. Courtney Smith, a McGill post-doctoral graduate student, said that two similar incidents happened to her, and that “nothing happened” after reporting the issue in December. McGill indicated that it is not able to comment on the situation, but issued a statement that it “takes the issue of sexual harassment and assault very seriously and responds immediately when information is brought forward.” Montreal Gazette | West Island Blog | CTV News (QC)

Ontario Tech announces naming of newest building Shawenjigewining Hall

Ontario Tech University has announced the naming of its newest building, Shawenjigewining Hall, to honour kindness and friendship. The name Shawenjigewining is an Anishinaabe word that means “The Kind Place.” The name was announced at a traditional Indigenous naming ceremony which followed Indigenous protocols, including lighting a sacred fire, smudging, an honour song, a pipe ceremony, and a water blessing. “I am grateful to all those involved in holding Ontario Tech’s first Indigenous naming ceremony,” said Catherine Davidson, Co-chair of the President’s Indigenous Reconciliation Task Force at Ontario Tech. “Choosing an Indigenous name for the building reflects the university’s commitment to work towards reconciliation and celebrates Indigenous cultures and ways of knowing.” Ontario Tech (ON)

MB postsecondary institutions will not mandate COVID-19 vaccines for Fall 2021

Manitoba postsecondary institutions have decided that they will not be making COVID-19 vaccinations mandatory for the Fall semester. University of Manitoba, University of Winnipeg, Université de Saint-Boniface, University College of the North, Brandon University, Assiniboine Community College, and Red River College said that they are instead encouraging double vaccinations and are using a blended learning model rather than mandating vaccines for staff and students. BrandonU President David Docherty explained that they are aware of privacy limitations and rights issues. “We can’t demand anybody to get the vaccine,” said Docherty. “That’s not within our power or the province’s power.” UCN’s VP of academic and research Dan Smith explained that their lawyers have advised the institution not to implement a vaccine policy. CBC (MB)

Lambton celebrates leadership of retired President Judith Morris

Lambton College has celebrated the leadership of former President Judith Morris through a variety of initiatives honouring her contributions to Lambton’s community. Lambton held a virtual celebration with tributes, reflections, and messages and well-wishes from the Lambton community and others, and announced that it would rename its west entrance the Judith A Morris Atrium and Welcome Centre. The college also established the new Judith Morris Legacy Scholarship, which was created through donations from College partners and the Lambton community. “She set a standard for breaking down barriers when she became the first female President of Lambton College,” said Denise Amyot, President of Colleges and Institutes Canada. “Judith continued to break down barriers as she led a small college from rural Ontario to become a national leader in applied research and a popular destination for growing numbers of international students.” Lambton | Stratford Beacon Herald | Sault Star | Blackburn News (ON)

UCalgary pauses privatization of bookstore management after student opposition

The University of Calgary has paused the privatization of its campus bookstore’s management after a recent consultation with over 3,000 students. The consultation saw 89% of students providing feedback indicating that they opposed the bookstore’s privatization. “We’ve decided that with the strong focus we have on the return to campus post-pandemic, that we really want to put a pause on the bookstore and first off focus on returning to campus,” said Linda Dalgetty, vice-president of finance at UCalgary. “But most importantly, understand clearly what the bookstore operations look like in a post-pandemic world, to ensure that any decisions are made with updated and proper information.” CBC (AB)

Modeling “out” leadership in higher education can lead to systemic change: Opinion

LGBTQ leaders at postsecondary institutions can bring positive systemic changes and progress in inclusion and representation within the academic community, writes Dick Senese. The author explains that postsecondary community members benefit from having leadership that is open about their membership in the LGBTQ community, and that a climate of support as well as supportive policies lead to less discrimination, improved health outcomes, and increased job satisfaction and commitment. Senese calls for postsecondary leadership to acknowledge that “[t]he closet still exists,” that there is power in coming out, that invisible minorities and their allies must take action, and that leadership should inspire those who are not open about their LGBTQ member status with kindness. Inside Higher Ed (Editorial)

UManitoba re-introduces Department of Earth Sciences

The University of Manitoba has returned to the original name for its geological sciences department: The Department of Earth Sciences. The name was previously used by the department between 1967 and 2005. The release explains that the change better reflects the curriculum and future direction of the department. The change became effective on July 1, though students in the department will not see course or degree changes at this time. “As the study of the Earth has evolved, the Department is constantly exploring the dynamics and processes of these changes,” said Dr Stephan Pflugmacher-Lima, Dean of UManitoba’s Riddell Faculty. “The updated name recognizes this evolution in the field beyond classical geology and geophysics.” UManitoba (MB)