Ronald Leung/ Silhouette Staff

U of A next in line for spending cuts

After last week’s announcement of massive spending cuts by the University of Saskatchewan, the University of Alberta is the next school to report budget constraints, facing a structural deficit of $12 million and possible cuts to the province’s funding. With bad news on the horizon, the U of A has no choice but to implement reductions. The first response by the governing board is to implement program cuts and increase fundraising initiatives, especially from alumni. The administration declared that they have no intention of instituting a hiring freeze.

U of O students raise puppies for the blind

The University of Ottawa has responded to the Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind (CGDB) after the group reached out looking for students to temporarily house puppies who will be trained to become guide dogs. Starting in 1984, CGDB has nurtured over 700 seeing-eye dogs and in 2010 they expanded their services to also provide canines for other mobility-related disorders. Steven Doucette, CGDB special events manager, says that the idea behind the Puppy Walking Program is for volunteers to raise a ‘good dog’ and teach basic obedience and socialization.

Wilfred Laurier holds $4 million of WLUSU debt

The Wilfred Laurier University Students’ Union (WLUSU) has racked up a debt load of $4,250,156 to Wilfred Laurier University according to a 2012 auditor’s report. Although the WLUSU streams most of their board meetings, financial issues often carry heavy confidential baggage, preventing live cameras of those particular discussions. The auditor’s report also noted a 54 per cent fall in revenue for the WLUSU in 2012, from $14,497,956 in 2011 to $7,890,159. Roly Webster, WLUSU executive director, says that the board is going through a budget process and that this situation should not impact services provided to students.

Canadian Federation of Students fights blood donor policy

A detailed questionnaire preludes every donor session, but the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) feels that the male-donor specific question “Have you had sex with a man, even one time since 1977?” is outdated. If the answer is yes, potential donors will be turned away. This strict policy originates from Canadian Blood Services and Héma-Québec, the two groups responsible for blood collection in Canada. The CFS feels that this policy is outdated and discriminatory, without any further differentiation for usage of protection or a male’s knowledge of his sexual partner’s background being accounted for.

Memorial University investigates possibility of law school

Without any law schools in Newfoundland, Memorial University (MUN) located in St. John’s is studying the feasibility of introducing one by looking at the demand of lawyers, demographics of current law schools and the benefits this move would bring to MUN. The university originally examined the possibility 25 years ago, but the 1976 Harris Report stated that there was no need for a law school at MUN. The Newfoundland and Labrador branch of the Canadian Bar Association and the Law Foundation of Newfoundland support this current review into the possibility of a law school.

Author/ Ronald Leung/ Silhouette Staff

Students back at table in Lakehead University tuition hike discussion

The chief representative for students at Lakehead University has regained the right to vote on tuition hike issues. Student governor Daniel Basca was originally muzzled in an April 2012 ruling that declared student governors in a conflict of interest and stopped them from participating in any meaningful matter at board of governor meetings regarding tuition hikes. This outcome was swiftly met with challenge from the Lakehead University Student Union (LUSU), which threatened legal action. The Lakehead Board of Governors reversed their decision at a Feb. 1 meeting.

Gender neutral washrooms introduced at University of Regina

After two years of campaigning by the group University of Regina Pride, talks about choosing the location of ten gender neutral washrooms on the UR campus are underway. While not new to Canadian institutions of higher learning, with universities such as Dalhousie having their own gender neutral bathrooms, the introduction of these spaces represents the fruits of the labour of student-administration communication at UR. The new project is aimed at reducing harassment and providing an alternative to those who find it uncomfortable to use washrooms for men or women.

Sexual complaints arise over Greek Organization at MUN

The Memorial University of Newfoundland Students’ Union (MUNSU) is dealing with controversy over whether it should officially recognize the Greek Philanthropy Society (GPS). Although the GPS pledged to focus on raising funds for charitable causes, allegations of sexist behavior clouded its case. One MUNSU board member brought up an example of parties hosted by the GPS that charge a lower cost to women, who are then encouraged to wear togas. The MUNSU purports to expect all member clubs to support sex and gender equity.

B.C. research universities feel left out over large grants for nearby trade schools

The B.C. provincial Liberal government is sticking to its plan to support trade and technical programs at key schools, in spite of growing complaints from the province’s research university brass. Faced with an overall $41 million in cuts for post-secondary grants, administrators such as University of British Columbia president Stephen Toope have argued that trade schools, while helpful in addressing unemployment, don’t help students become “versatile and agile leaders.” However, B.C. Liberal Minister of Advanced Education John Yap told The Ubyssey that “Taxpapers invest $5 million … to support the B.C. post-secondary system,” and that the four major research universities – UBC, Simon Fraser University, University of Victoria and University of Northern British Columbia – “receive more than half of the operating grants provided to 25 institutions.”

U Ottawa lecture series spotlights bilingualism and biculturalism in Canada

The University of Ottawa has worked with the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism in Canada. Originally established in 1963 by André Laurendeau and Davidson Dunton in order to address language issues between Anglophones and Francophones, the Commission led to the establishment of the Official Languages Act and the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages (OCOL). U Ottawa, being a strongly bilingual institution, sees itself as a child of the original commission. The lecture series will be featured all across Canada in Ottawa, Toronto, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Montreal and Moncton.

Ronald Leung

Silhouette Staff

Ontario teacher’s college applications drop by 50 per cent

The Ontario Universities’ Application Centre (OUAC) reports that only 8,199 applications have been filed for teacher’s college in the 2012-2013 cycles, compared to 16,042 in 2007. The University of Windsor has been especially hit hard, with a downward trend starting in 2008 resulting in almost a 75 per cent reduction in applications. The shrinking job opportunities in Ontario for newly-graduated teachers are most likely to blame. Doing part-time supply teaching has become a reality for new teachers while they wait for full-time position opens up.

Dead ducks sent to Memorial University administration

For the past 15 years, approximately 50 ducks have lived on the Memorial University of Newfoundland (MUN) campus. Local community members have fed the ducks during the winter at the central campus pond, until MUN administration posted signs discouraging feeding due to an alleged rat infestation problem. Biology professor Ian Jones noticed duck carcasses appearing on the outskirts of the pond. He voiced his concerns to MUN admin, but without receiving a serious response he opted to send two dead ducks directly to the Administration. Jones has said he will contact the SPCA if no further action is taken.

B.C. Government gives more than $500,000 to trade school

The B.C. government has donated over half a million dollars to the University of the Fraser Valley in support of their Trades and Technology Centre (TTC). New equipment will give students more hands-on experience and will upgrade their skills to be more compatible with potential employers. This donation comes after several pledges by the B.C. government, including $1.5 million to three other B.C. universities and $113 million to the Emily Carr University of Art and Design for a campus makeover.

Outcry over million-dollar budget cuts at the University of Regina intensify

The University of Regina is facing multi-million dollar cuts and students have expressed their concern at the lack of transparency with the Academic Review process (ARP) that plays an instrumental part of determining what gets scaled back. Concerned students have formed the Students Against Austerity, a group that also encompasses the University of Saskatchewan, also facing multi-million dollar budget cuts.  Studentas and faculty are most concerned about the liberal arts, the department widely believed to be on the chopping block first.

HRSDC under fire for handling of student loan privacy breach

After a major security breach on Nov. 5, Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) has just introduced credit monitoring services starting at $14.95 a month. This service is targeted for those affected by the breach but students have argued that, “those affected should not be out of pocket for the way the government has mishandled their information.” One-third of those affected by the breach have still not been contacted because contact information is still missing.

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