What students are talking about today (January 25th)
1. “Alcohol overconsumption = sexual assaults,” Tweeted University of New Brunswick Security last week. Anyone who has followed the issue of sexual assault lately can imagine the indignation that followed. Lee Thomas of The Brunswickan put it this way: most reported sexual assaults have male perpetrators, “so I would expect UNB Security’s “Males = sexual assaults” Tweet any day now.” Except, of course, that would be a crazy generalization. Thomas goes further pointing out that “it’s not the victim’s responsibility to ensure that they don’t get attacked; it’s the rapist’s responsibility to ensure that he or she does not rape.” He’s obviously right that it’s wrong to blame the victim. A better Tweet would have been “Alcohol overconsumption = occasional bad decisions,” although that’s a separate issue.
2. Universities often add mandatory fees in order to squeeze every possible penny from students, who tend to notice and become enraged. At Brandon University the current outrage is over the $35 dollar Healthy Living Centre fee, a mandatory payment they must now make for their new athletics facility. The Brandon University Students’ Union has voted unanimously to condemn it. (That’s a bit rich coming from a group that charges endless mandatory fees, but it probably does reflect the common view.) There are, however, more outrageous fees. At Worcester State University in Massachusetts students now pay a “parking/pedestrian access fee,” reports The Telegram. The university says the fee helps maintain parking and walkways on campus. Now that is creative.
3. At Western University students got their annual multifaith Holy Book Day this week (sounds thrilling, doesn’t it?) despite learning last-minute that it wouldn’t be funded by the University Students’ Council, reports The Gazette. Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Jews, Mormons and Baha’i set up their booths side-by-side and held a discussion panel anyway, thanks to funding from the Chaplains’ Services for Western. The USC says it has a policy against funding cultural groups.
4. Every year an eager student government candidate somewhere in Canada breaks one of many esoteric campaign rules and get disqualified. Usually it’s for such minor things as incorrect poster placement. This year it was Caroline Wong’s turn at UBC, although her mistake sounds more serious. Wong, a current student union vice-president, was suspended for “misuse of AMS [Alma Mater Society] resources” after one of her volunteers e-mailed club presidents’ personal accounts asking them to meet with Wong. Wong told The Ubyssey she gave a volunteer access to her computer and asked her the send out messages to publicly available e-mails, but the volunteer instead sent the message to private emails Wong only held access to because of current student union position. Wong has apologized. She was fined $250.
5. There was a victory for students at the University of Saskatchewan on Thursday. Two task forces that will look into ways to combat the school’s projected $44.5 million deficit will now include undergraduate and graduate student representatives after University Council voted to include them, reports The Sheaf. TransformUS, the initative that will review what programs should be merged or cut, was conceived without student representation because administrators said it would take too much time away from their studies.