In their final game of the season, McMaster football loses by just three points to the University of Toronto, wiping away their playoff hopes 

The last game of the Marauder football season came down to a harsh ultimatum. They would either beat the University of Toronto and land a spot in the playoffs or they would lose and have the season come to an immediate halt. With home field advantage on their side, the Marauders suited up to take on the Varsity Blues on an unusually warm day of October

With both teams facing a similar ultimatum, the stakes were high. A Toronto win meant the Varsity Blues make the playoffs while McMaster would be eliminated. Meanwhile a McMaster win would lead to a tie in the standings for the final playoff spot between Toronto and McMaster. 

The Marauders made good on their first drive of the game as Andreas Dueck threw a 15 yard pass which Nicholas Adair converted to a touchdown.  

The Varsity Blues went on to convert three field goals, bringing their point total to nine just before the half. A field goal for McMaster’s kicker Micheal Horvat would bring the half time score to nine to 10, in the way of McMaster. Going into the second half with just the one-point lead, the Marauders needed to produce something more to bring them to the postseason. 

They ended up doing just the opposite. The second half of play saw McMaster produce zero points, while the Varsity Blues converted two safeties to bring the final score to 13-10. Just like that, with no points coming from touchdowns, the Toronto side secured a postseason berth.  

It a difficult pill for the team to swallow not only because of the lost playoff hopes, but also because the Marauders would snap a 26 year winning streak. This became the first time since Sep. 21, 1996 that McMaster lost to the Varsity Blues.  

It's difficult to pin the McMaster loss on any single factor but taking a look at their season as a whole, it has been very lackluster. Their two wins came against teams sitting at the bottom of the barrel, those being Guelph and Waterloo. Their only other win came against the York Lions, after which an ineligible player stripped the win away from the team, forcing them to forfeit their 39-one victory. 

The forfeited game had major implications to the Marauder season. This additional win would have put them in better standing and would have added a majorly needed win to the teams tally. Ultimately, their final game against Toronto highlighted some of the issues the team faced all season. 

Their lack of offensive efficiency costed them gravely. The Marauders failed to advance up the field this game discernibly. In some cases, the offensive line broke down rather quickly. In others, McMaster’s quarterback failed to connect with his receivers. It seems that offensively McMaster struggles to find consistency. 

Defensively, the Marauders seem quite sound. With no touchdowns coming from the Varsity Blues, they seem to be in fine form. The Marauders look as though they must put in lots of work in the offseason to bring themselves back to the level they once were at. This is the team’s first time since 1997 missing playoffs in an eight-game season (excluding the shortened 2021 season). 

If they hope to become the team they once were, they may need to take a closer look at their offense. With Dueck leaving McMaster after this season, the team will need to replace his quarterback position

More wins come with more points, which is exactly what the Marauders will be hoping for in their season ahead as they hunt for a return to the playoffs for the first time since winning the provincial championship in the 2019-2020 season.  

In a very one-sided game against the Waterloo Warriors, the Marauders gain momentum moving into homecoming weekend

Photo: Graphic request made week prior  

McMasters football team kicked off their Ontario University Athletics regular season with a dreadful losing streak. With their first three games all ending up as losses, they found themselves at the bottom of the OUA standings — an unfamiliar position for a team who is only one season removed from their provincial championship run.   

Making matters even worse for the Marauders, their second game of the year, a 39 to one win over York, was overturned due to a player registration violation committed by the McMaster team. As a direct result, the football team started their season with three games and three losses.   

On the weekend of Sep. 17, the Marauders rebounded with an impressive win over the Waterloo Warriors. With a final line score of 43 to zero, the team finally showed what they can do. It appears that despite the poor start, they have not given up.   

In all four quarters of the game, the Marauders dominated. The first quarter ended 14 to zero, the second 24 to zero, the third 34 to zero and finally ended with the 43 to zero score.   

Last season the Marauders dominated the Warriors with a 34-13 final score but they took it to a whole new level this time around, increasing their win margin by a whopping 22 points. It was also the first time that the Warriors had been shutout since 2016.  

This successful game should be a confidence booster for the Marauders, though there are still some challenging games ahead for the team, making them one to watch this season. 

C/O Jessica Yang/Production Assistant

Although they finished 6th at the OUA, the McMaster badminton team is full of talent 

Every sport at McMaster University is unique in its own way. Each sport has a backstory to it and every team member is talented in their own way. Badminton is just another one of those unique sports that McMaster has to offer. With over 20 competitors on the squad, it has so much to offer in terms of talent and individualism. However, there is one player who has impressed last weekend during the Ontario University Athletics Championships in Waterloo.  

Talia Ng is a third-year student currently studying life sciences and is expected to graduate this year. Nonetheless, she has been extremely impressive during this season’s badminton campaign, racking up a handful of awards during the weekend. Her first award came through at the end of the OUA Championships, where she was awarded the OUA MVP and was given all-star recognition. Although extremely impressive, her success did not end there. Just a day later Ng was named as the Marauder of the week along with Alex Drover, a runner on the men’s track team, which concluded a very eventful week for the badminton team.  

“Last week was overall a mixed experience for me. I think that as a team we have done our best, but I can't say that I am extremely happy with the outcome. We came sixth out of eight teams, so it simply isn't that great. As for the team, I feel that we are much closer altogether compared to the previous years. They are a great set of people and many of us are very supportive of each other, which is something I feel is really important for us,” said Ng. 

Ng is the first female Marauder to receive an OUA Championships Most Valuable Player Award since 2003.  

“I am really honored to have received all these awards. They certainly do bring me confidence, even though I didn't really expect it. To be honest, I think that it is unfair in a way because my team has done so much as well last week. We worked as a group together and I think that our team overall deserves the same accolades as I do,” explained Ng.  

Transitioning from a university into the world of professional sports can be a challenge, but Ng is ready to take it on. She hopes to continue her athletics journey and pursue further heights in badminton beyond her time at McMaster.  

“I am most definitely looking into starting a badminton career after school. My goal is to reach the Olympics someday, but I know that it will take a lot of hard work to get there,” said Ng. 

“I am most definitely looking into starting a badminton career after school. My goal is to reach the Olympics someday, but I know that it will take a lot of hard work to get there."

Talia Ng, 2022 OUA Badminton MVP

While the Marauders didn't do exceptionally well last weekend, the enthusiasm and closeness within the team has shown that there is a bright future ahead for the team. Its members can look forward to taking on a new set of challenges in the upcoming year and working diligently to reach their goal.  

Yoohuyn Park/Production Coordinator

Do grades have to be everything?

By: Hadeeqa Aziz, Contributor

This one is for all the first years. So you’ve heard your grades will drop and you’re rather terrified of what the next couple of years will bring. And rightfully so, because according to data collected by the University of Waterloo, the average Ontario high school student’s grades will likely drop by a factor of 16 percent. Some of you may not worry too much because you’re confident in the way your high school conditioned and prepared you for post-secondary education. 

After all, you’ve earned your way into your program, haven’t you? The feeling of accomplishment is even more incredible now, especially since admissions averages have been steadily increasing over the last few years. For example, according to student observations on r/OntarioUniversities, McMaster’s life sciences gateway program has seen an increase in cutoff averages since 2019, from high 80s to low 90s. 

There’s nothing short of a plethora of reasons to explain these increases, from larger applicant pools to better overall student performances, especially in light of online learning. There’s one factor, however, that remains prominent — one that we all know exists but seldom find the courage to thoroughly talk about: grade inflation. 

It’s a sensitive topic because implying the existence of grade inflation is an implication that not everyone sitting in your lecture hall has rightfully earned their way into their program. The onus, however, is not on the student, but seemingly on the high schools they come from. 

All Ontario universities value grades when assessing high school seniors for undergraduate admissions, taking the form of an average of your top 6 courses in Grade 12. It appears to be the most plausible evaluation tool, as it’s supposedly designed to gauge your competence as an academic. Here’s a shocking revelation though: not all students have been to the same high school. What does this mean? It essentially implies that a 95 percent average at one school may not hold the same value as a 95 percent at another. 

Grade inflation is often rooted in a decrease in academic standards or when faculty don’t have clear expectations of their students. This leads to grade inequality, meaning that equal qualities of work are assigned different grades across schools, departments or courses. 

Many speak to the problematic nature of grade inflation, while others outright deny that it’s even a problem. When inflation leads to increased admissions averages, it sets grade standards to an all-time high, so much so that some career prospects may be taken away from students who fail to reach those standards. 

The process of achieving the ridiculously high grade requirements for the University of Waterloo’s engineering programs, for instance, is not the same for all students. Those who don’t reap the benefits of grade inflation would have to work much harder than those who do. Here, universities risk being unfair to the students who have more rigorous marking standards. And we haven’t even touched upon other factors that contribute to student issues such as socioeconomics, race or geographics. 

Entering university with inflated grades isn’t all that fun either. If inflation leads to misinterpretations of a student’s competence and studying habits, perhaps it can lead to similar misinterpretations on a student’s fitness for their program of entry. Students unprepared for the demands of university education may be more vulnerable to mental health issues such as stress, anxiety and depression. 

In an attempt to be fairer to high school applicants, the University of Waterloo used data from their engineering program to develop a list of what they call “adjustment factors” for each high school. This factor uses a student’s admission average and their first-year average to gauge the effects of grade inflation by measuring the “gap” between the two grades. Essentially, the higher the gap, the higher possibility that the student’s grades were inflated in high school. The faculty supposedly take this adjustment factor into consideration during the admissions process. 

Schools at the top of the list argue that Waterloo’s student sample is too small to reflect the hard work of their teachers and students. From their perspective, it’s quite difficult to collect robust data on inflation and adequately prove such a claim. 
Instead, more individuals wish to see a discussion on whether or not standardized testing can play a role in the solution. Standardizing students, however, comes with its own set of issues and instead, I think most students would appreciate more individualized assessments of their accomplishments. If universities continue to treat grades as “everything,” they’re effectively missing the bigger picture.

Photo by Kyle West

By: Rida Pasha

McMaster Hospitality Services offers meal express plans for purchase to all students, staff and faculty. Users can swipe their McMaster University ID card to easily access the range of food choices on-campus, as well as at participating restaurants off-campus.

While this may be a convenient solution for those that want to purchase food on-campus, it can pose a problem for many students living in residence.

Each student living on-campus is required to purchase a mandatory meal plan ranging from $2,975 to $4,735. For many students who are unable or don’t prefer to cook or store food, this meal plan can be a relief.

Meal plan options range from minimum, light, regular and varsity, each increasing in price, allowing students to choose the option that best suits their needs. Each plan is suggested based on how often the student is on campus, how much they regularly eat and how much they can afford.

Since the meal plan is paid in advance, many students and parents feel a sense of security knowing that they food is always available throughout the entire academic year.

With tuition and residence fees on the rise, forcing the purchase of a meal plan places an unnecessary financial strain on students. This can create a boundary against students being able to live on-campus.

Additionally, mandatory meal plans limit students’ options to eat as the plan restricts students’ to eating on-campus with only a few participating off-campus restaurants.

While McMaster does try to offer a variety of food options, eating at the same places daily can be tiring for many students, especially for those that are on campus during weekends and only go home during long breaks.

The meal plan becomes an unnecessary hassle for those that seek to try out new restaurants, prefer to eat off-campus or even just wish to eat out less.

Looking more deeply into the structure of meal plans, the money within the paid meal plans are divided into two categories: basic and freedom.

The basic account is nonrefundable and is used for most on-campus locations. The freedom account is fully refundable and is used for specific off-campus restaurants, confectionary, personal grooming items and convenience products.

There is more money allocated to the basic account than the freedom account since students are likely to be on-campus more.

However, when the freedom account money runs out, students can’t transfer money from the basic to the freedom account in order to take full advantage of their meal plan.

This means that when the freedom account is depleted, students either have to add additional money into that account or can no longer use their meal plan at participating off-campus restaurants.

Students are then left with only on-campus food options, limiting the variety of food available using their already-expensive meal plan.

At the very least, students living in Bates and Mary Keyes residences should be able to make the decision to opt-out of mandatory meal plans, since they have apartment and suite-style rooms equipped with kitchens.

Each kitchen includes a fridge, stove, an oven in Bates, a microwave in Mary Keyes and cupboard space to store food, as well as a full-sized fridge shared amongst the roommates.

Although Hospitality Services offers a reduced meal plan for students living in these residences, the amenities provided make it reasonable for students to live on-campus without requiring a meal plan. Reduced meal plan are still, at a minimum, an added $2,975 cost.

Unlike McMaster, the University of Waterloo allows students with a personal kitchen in their residence to choose whether they would like to purchase a meal plan or not.

Following suit, McMaster University needs to consider the circumstances and preference of students by making all meal plans optional.

 

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Photo by Kyle West

Ameen Aghamirian, Men’s Wrestling

This weekend, the McMaster wrestling team attended the Ontario University Athletics Wrestling Championships and, for the fourth year in a row, the men took home silver overall. Aghamirian’s dominance on the mats earned him national recognition, as he was U Sports Male Athlete of the Week.

Congratulations to Ameen Aghamirian, our U SPORTS Male Athlete of the Week! 🤼‍♂️

Félicitations à Ameen Aghamirian, l'athlète de la semaine masculin de U SPORTS! 🤼‍♂️

🔗 EN: https://t.co/lK7hWCGOAs // 🔗 FR: https://t.co/neIdzK39lW pic.twitter.com/CFkke2MPeV

— U SPORTS (@USPORTSca) February 6, 2019

Aghamirian helped his team by winning gold in the 82 kg weight class. He defeated the Lakehead University Voyageurs’ Brody Evans and the York University Lions’ Jasman Gill due to technical superiority, and beat the University of Guelph Gryphons’ Simon Chaves 6-1.

This victory took him to the divisional final where he defeated the Western University Mustangs’ Brandon Amboto by tiebreaker after a 5-5 match due to a higher number of takedowns. His efforts from the weekend led him to be named McMaster’s Pita Pit Athlete of the Week. Next up, Aghamirian and the Marauders prepare for the U Sports championships on Feb. 22-23.

 

Ligaya Stinellis, Women’s Wrestling

Stinellis made Marauders history after taking home the OUA Rookie of the Year earlier this season. The Pita Pit Athlete of the Week is the first female wrestler to win the award since it began in 2008. Stinellis took the 48kg weight class by storm, pinning all three of her opponents: Voyageurs’ Megan Smith, Lions’ Gurleen Tak and former medalist, Western’s Christine Grafe. In the finals, she, unfortunately, was pinned by the Gryphons’ vet Natassya Lu, and walked away with a silver medal. Her efforts helped the Marauders place fifth overall and secured her spot at the U Sports Wrestling Championships.

 

Andrew Richards and Matt Passalent, Men’s Volleyball

This weekend, the men’s volleyball team’s victory had two co-stars leading it. The duo helped lead the Marauders to a 3-1 defeat over the University of Waterloo Warriors on the road. Both Richards and Passalent finished the game with 16 kills, with Richards adding four aces and one block assist to the stat sheet, and Passalet adding two aces and two total blocks. The defeat bumped the men up to fourth place nationally, improving to a 10-2 OUA regular season record. Up next, the team will host the Nipissing University Lakers and the Lions for their final home matches of the regular season. The Saturday, Feb. 9, will be a special Pride celebration, followed by a showdown with York the next day.

 

Sarah Gates, Women’s Basketball

Gates was once again an on-the-court leader this weekend in Mac’s 65-41 defeat over the Western Mustangs. With a game-high 19 points and 8 rebounds, putting her just two shy of a double-double. The 2018 OUA Rookie of the Year has been performing extremely well this season and is on track to being named an OUA all-star. The victory helped the team move up to third place in the U Sports national rankings, and first place in the OUA West, clinching a playoff berth. Gates and the Marauders will head to Algoma University this weekend to take on the Thunderbirds.

 

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Every year, Canadian postsecondary students are eligible for tuition, education and textbook credits that cost billions of dollars in funding. But, as it turns out, students from low-income households are least likely to benefit from the credits during school despite needing the money the most.

A recent study, conducted through the C.D. Howe Institute, found that tax credits “disproportionately” benefit students from well-off families in a given tax year. Most students from lower-income households benefit from the non-refundable credits only after they finish school and start earning enough taxable income.

Christine Neill, an associate professor of economics at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ont., authored the study. She found that the tax credit savings amount to about $2,000 per year for the average Canadian undergraduate student.

“For youth from relatively high income families, a couple thousand dollars per year may not change their decision to go to university or college, but it might change those from low-income families. The problem is, they tend to get the money later,” Neill said.

In 2012, households with family incomes below $30,000 used only 7 per cent of education credits transferred to parents in 2012, but made up about half of tax filers.

Households with an income above $80,000 used about 42 per cent of education credits transferred to parents but made up just 10 per cent of tax filers.

Neill recommended that simply making the credits refundable would vastly improve the program. Students not earning enough taxable income would then get a cheque in the mail for what they couldn’t claim on their taxes, instead of having to carry the credits forward.

The same recommendation has been made in the past by the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA) and the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA).

According to Neill’s study, undergraduate students in British Columbia save the least from the tax credits, followed by students in Ontario and Newfoundland. Students in Alberta save the most out of all the provinces, but by a small margin.

A 2010 study found that college students save a larger proportion of their tuition from the credits than university students. However, college students end up with a smaller dollar value from the credits because their tuition is, on average, lower.

Last year, the federal government spent $1.6 billion on tuition, education and textbook tax credits — more than the $0.7 billion it spent on the Canada Student Loan Program.

Tuition and education credits were first introduced in 1961, and the option to “carry forward” unclaimed amounts was introduced in 1997.

“Before the carry-forward was introduced, kids from low income families may never have been able to claim the credits — after 1997, the program became more expensive but it became better,” Neill said.

In 2006, a textbook credit was added, raising questions from the academic community on the efficacy of the program.

Whether to stimulate enrolment in postsecondary education or to distribute wealth to students from lower-income families, the purpose of the tax credits hasn’t been clearly articulated.

Neill argues that the credits currently fail on both efficiency and equity principles. She also made a point that the credits aren’t well-advertised on university and college web pages that display tuition fee information.

“One major issue is that many people don’t know about [the credits], and they don’t know before going through postsecondary education,” Neill said. “If you don’t know something exists, how would it affect your behaviour?”

Infographic by Ben Barrett-Forrest / Multimedia Editor

Devra Charney

The Silhouette

From Jan. 26-27, delegates from McMaster University’s Arts & Science and Integrated Science programs participated in the fourth annual Combining Two Cultures Conference, or C2C.

Established by Mac ArtSci students in 2010, C2C brings together interdisciplinary students from universities around Canada to discuss and develop interdisciplinary education through collaboration. While it originally focused primarily on interdisciplinary post-secondary education, it has grown to encompass the value of interdisciplinary studies in all aspects of problem solving in today’s world.

Leanna Katz, a recent ArtSci graduate, was part of the original steering committee that established the C2C conference. She recollected the initial enthusiasm for starting the conference and her astonishment that an interdisciplinary student-centred conference didn’t already exist.

“I loved so many aspects of the conference: the food was cooked from scratch by volunteers using ingredients from local farms, the working groups were developed and run by students from interdisciplinary programs across the country… All this gave the first C2C conference a distinctly McMaster ArtSci feel.”

Although Katz was part of the team who initiated C2C at Mac, she was also glad to see the conference through to its new hosts at the University of Waterloo.

“In the three years I was involved in planning C2C I was happy to see the conference move to another host university (the University of Waterloo, hosted by the Knowledge Integration Program) so that other interdisciplinary programs could take ownership of the conference for a period of time and give C2C their own flavour.”

This year, participants came from as far as McGill and University of British Columbia, as well as McMaster, Guelph and Windsor.

ArtSci and iSci students both engage in inquiry and problem-based learning that emphasizes cross-disciplinary exploration and coursework. Students at the conference spent their time thinking critically about why they chose to extend their focus across more than one area of study as well as the importance of interdisciplinary thinking in society.

Keynote speaker Payam Shalchian and panelists Tom Galloway, Vanessa Humphries, Jessica McEachren and Kathleen Beattie talked about their career paths in both arts and science disciplines, emphasizing that society has a demand for interdisciplinary perspectives. These individuals blurred the lines between seemingly distinct areas and made incredible innovations by combining their passions.

Working in the context of an overall theme of “boundaries,” discussion and problem-based learning facilitated insight into world issues, language, society and education. Discussion groups combined academics with inquiry in order to provide a constructive context for sharing and exploring diverse ideas. Skill sessions, new this year courtesy of Waterloo, provided an opportunity for hands-on learning.

Stephen Clare, a second-year Arts & Science student, felt that the conference presented a valuable opportunity to engage with highly ambitious students from across Canada.

“I attended the Creative Thinking skill session and we learnt practical ways of breaking through ‘mental boundaries”’ you may encounter working in teams or groups. It was very useful and a good way to break up the day.”

A panel for high school students was also added to the conference this year in order to investigate overcoming the difficulties of spanning across the disciplines while exploring the distinct opportunities it can bring to post-secondary education.

The C2C Conference will continue to run next year, being held at the University of Guelph. C2C 2013 provided a chance for students to engage creatively and discuss interdisciplinary studies in-depth in order to understand the benefits of breaking boundaries in both education and in the world.

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