Top Ten

September 14, 2021

First-year student death, student allegations of drugging and sexual violence at Western

Western University has launched an investigation into reports of drugging and sexual violence at its Sydenham Hall residence after students. The allegations reportedly began to circulate over the weekend on social media, mainly through Tik Tok. Western officials and the London Police Service have opened investigations, although both stated that they have not received formal complaints related to the allegations. Formal complaints related to separate sexual violence incidents were received over the past week, reports CBC, and resulted in arrests. “We are actively investigating reports from this weekend and have taken some immediate steps to ensure student safety, including an increased presence of special constables on campus and an increased presence of staff and security in the residences,” said Western AVP of Housing and Ancillary Services Chris Alleyne. The London Free Press also reports that a London man has been charged with manslaughter following the death of first-year student Gabriel Niel. Niel was assaulted near campus at approximately 2 AM Saturday morning. (ON) CBC (1) | CBC (2) | CTV News | City News (CP) | London Free Press (1) | London Free Press (2) | MSN | London Police

Postsecondary education should not be “neutral”: Opinion

University education should not remain “neutral” in the face of racial injustice, write Jennifer S Simpson (Provost and VP, Ryerson University), Sulaimon Giwa (Associate Dean of Undergraduate Programs, Memorial University), and Verna St Denis (Professor, University of Saskatchewan). The authors argue that universities should see education as a way to ensure graduates are prepared to contribute to an equitable society, and that the material presented to students and the way it is presented will inevitably influence the student’s understanding. “Knowledge acts in the world and has consequences for how people live,” write the authors, who argue that keeping a “neutral” classroom leads to missed opportunities for students. The Conversation (National)

UAlberta ACTM signs MOU to expand capacity for treatment, vaccine production

The University of Alberta’s Alberta Cell Therapy Manufacturing (ACTM) facility, The Ottawa Hospital’s Biotherapeutics Manufacturing Centre, and BioCanRx have signed a MOU that will expand Canada’s capacity for manufacturing vaccines, gene therapies, and cell therapies. The collaboration will provide vaccine makers, medical researchers, and pharmaceutical companies with the opportunity to have their products manufactured in Canada. “For Canada to play a key role in new breakthrough therapies and vaccines, we must invest in multiple facilities across the country and foster collaboration,” said ACTM scientific director Greg Korbutt. “This agreement sets the stage for a Canadian biomanufacturing ecosystem.” UAlberta (AB)

Langara, AFOA Canada, AFOA British Columbia partner to deliver Indigenous Financial Management certificate

Langara College has partnered with AFOA Canada and AFOA British Columbia on a program that will support a cohort of AFOA Canada’s Indigenous Financial Management Certificate. The goal of the pilot program is to provide students with a certificate program that will enable them to support their communities and Indigenous governments in self-determination. The program will see students from Indigenous communities or working in Indigenous governments completing both accredited postsecondary accounting courses and AFOA Canada’s Indigenous content courses. “At Langara College we are committed to supporting Indigenous students,” said Langara President Dr Lane Trotter. “We are honoured to participate in this unique initiative supporting Indigenous students throughout BC in obtaining critical financial management education.” Nation Talk (BC)

Academic conferences pivot, continue plans for conferences as COVID-19 situation develops

In a new article, Colleen Flaherty of Inside Higher Ed examines the plans and future of academic conferences. Some conferences are continuing to plan for in-person conferences, as participants have missed the in-person experiences. Flaherty describes the responses of various associations, which have had to plan and schedule conferences during COVID-19, and the reasons behind their planning process. Flaherty also discusses the challenges of hybrid models, which are often cost prohibitive and can become impossible from a logistics point of view. However, she notes that these models are welcomed by many scholars due to the flexibility and lower cost of attendance. Inside Higher Ed (Editorial)

Physiotherapy graduates, professionals questioning validity of CAPR licensing exam

Physiotherapy graduates and professionals are questioning the validity of the Canada Alliance of Physiotherapy Regulators (CAPR) licensing exam after half of the candidates writing the latest set of exams experienced technical difficulties that prevented them from completing the exam. Problems with the clinical exam have been ongoing since the COVID-19 pandemic began, which has resulted in a backlog of students waiting to complete the exam before they can start their careers as licensed physiotherapists. Researchers from Western University recently published an analysis of the exams that concluded that they are unnecessary, while members of the professional community such as Toronto physiotherapist Bahram Jam have publicly questioned the exam’s efficacy. CBC (National)

Fanshawe announces new scholarship, supports for Afghan refugees

Fanshawe College has announced that it has created a new scholarship program and offered supports for eligible Afghan refugees looking to pursue postsecondary education. The scholarship will provide five students with full tuition, funds for textbooks and supplies, and supports through Fanshawe’s Student Services program. Students can also choose to complete English for Academic Purposes. “A number of refugees from Afghanistan have arrived in London and are now looking to build a new life in Canada,” said Fanshawe dean of students Janice Lamoureux. “We know that access to post-secondary education can open up opportunities, and we look forward to welcoming these students to Fanshawe.” Fanshawe | CBC | London Free Press (ON)

QC creates working group as cégep students fail French test

The Government of Quebec has announced the creation of a working group that will focus on improving cégep students’ results on the French exam. The test is required for students to obtain a diploma, and the Journal de Montréal reports that 27.1% of cégep students fail the spelling and grammar section of the test. Some people, including Fédération des cégeps President Bernard Tremblay, have debated the use of correction software in class and evaluations, while others are questioning the relevance of the French test. Journal de Montréal (QC)

UoGuelph investigates party that led to damage to exterior of residence building

The University of Guelph is investigating a party that resulted in damage to the exterior of a student residence building. CTV News spoke to students who described seeing shopping cart races and someone climbing one of the residence’s eavestroughs. UoGuelph is investigating the situation. “The University condemns the behaviour that resulted in minor damage to the exterior of one of our residence buildings,” said UoGuelph in a statement. “The actions that led to this damage are inconsistent with the values of the University and the vast majority of our students. If U of G students were involved, we will enforce the University’s Non-Academic Student Code of Conduct.” CTV News (ON)

UNB, STU, NBCC evacuated Friday due to threat

The University of New Brunswick’s campuses were evacuated and closed on Friday due to a ‘possible bomb threat to campus.’ Police reportedly began searching UNB’s Fredericton campus at 12:30PM, and UNB evacuated buildings “based on their policies and procedures” around 20 minutes later. People were blocked from entering the campus and those living in residence were told to shelter in place. CBC reports that most officers had left by 5PM, and that the campus was closed until midnight. St Thomas University and New Brunswick Community College were also evacuated. All institutions have since reopened. CBC | CTV News (NB)