All Posts Tagged With: "Brock University"
Where to catch USS, Propagandhi, Teenage Kicks, Arkells…
Last Sunday, J. Biebs was booed by thousands of Grey Cup spectators in Toronto. Here are five shows near Canadian campuses this weekend where the crowds should be a little friendlier.
1. USS (Ubiquitous Synergy Seeker) has a knack for crafting dance-ready hits. The Toronto two-piece is teaming up with Hello, Click for a string of dates including at the Seahorse Tavern in Halifax on Dec. 1. Ticket info here.
2. Toronto singer-songwriter Reg Vermue has been performing under the pseudonym Gentleman Reg for more than a decade. He takes his unforgettable folk-pop-dance tunes to Kingston’s Grad Club on Nov. 30 where he’ll be joined by folk-pop gems Inlet Sound. Ticket info.
3. Seven-piece ensemble The Tom Fun Orchestra, self-styled “world famous musicians,” use an eclectic mix and electric and acoustic instruments. These East Coast indie rockers play The Gateway at SAIT in Calgary on on Nov. 29. Ticket info here.
5. Teenage Kicks, Young Rival, The Roxwells and Arkells are worth braving the throngs of extreme sports spectators at the Red Bull Crashed Ice party in Niagara Falls, Ont. not too far from Brock University, on Nov. 30. More info here.
Teenage Kicks offers some advice in this video that’s especially useful this time of year:
Did we miss a show? Let us know in the comments!
College students who transfer to university do well
From the 2013 Maclean’s University Rankings
Kristy Normore, 23, grew up in L’Anse-au-Loup, Nfld., and was one of 16 in her high school’s graduating class. (L’Anse-au-Loup has a population of 600.) She left to attend Memorial University in St. John’s, but found it wasn’t for her. “Some of my classes had over 300 people,” she says. “I absolutely hated it. No one knew your name.” Formerly a straight-A student, Normore found her marks began to drop. After her first year, she went back home and spent the year planning her next move.
Intent on a career in social work, Normore enrolled at Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC) in Sydney, “one of the best decisions I ever made.” Classes had 30 people—tops. Tuition was cheaper. She got As again. After two years, diploma in hand, Normore transferred to Cape Breton University (CBU), right next to NSCC, into the bachelor of arts community studies (BACS) program. She graduated in June. Starting university the second time, she felt better prepared. “I was used to helping myself. I found it much easier.”
Class cancellations and transportation woes
Brock University’s 38 English as a Second Language (ESL) instructors went on strike today, which has caused transportation woes and at least some cancelled classes.
Picketers from CUPE 4207-3 are blocking entry to campus, letting only two or three cars through at a time, reports NiagaraThisWeek.com. Niagara Regional Police have closed ramps from Highway 406 near campus as a precaution. Bus drivers are not picking up or dropping off at Brock Tower.
Although only 38 people are on strike, CUPE 4307 said Monday that members of the other two units of the union are not required to cross the picket line. As a result, some of the instructors who comprise unit one have cancelled classes in solidarity, according to several students on Twitter.
Brock released a statement Monday that says an agreement had been reached with the union and ratified on Feb. 28, but then the university discovered what it says is “an error in the text.” The two sides met with a mediator on March 25 to address the error, but were unable to resolve the dispute.
Academics debate whether to accept Chinese cash
When he first heard from a university administrator about a new Confucius Institute (CI) proposed at the University of Manitoba, Asian Studies professor Terry Russell asked for a meeting with the dean in charge. At that meeting, he asked her to carefully consider who was offering to pay for it. The money would come from the Hanban, an arm of the Chinese government that’s chaired by the minister of education. That’s the same government, as Russell put it, that jailed Nobel-prize winner Liu Xiaobo for 11 years, the same government who took the University of Calgary to task after it gave the Dalai Lama an honourary degree, and the same government that employs 50,000 citizens to scour the Internet in search of dissent. Russell says that Canadian universities shouldn’t take money from an education ministry that does such things.
Less than six months later, the university has announced that it will join a short-but-growing list of institutions that have decided against taking Chinese government money to set up CIs on campus. The university’s spokesman, John Danakas, says that “overtures were made” by Confucius Institutes earlier this year, but that “conversations have ended… for logistical reasons.” Pennsylvania State University, the University of British Columbia and the Republic of India, have also decided against CIs on campus.
But in the same month that Manitoba declined funding from China, the University of Regina and Brock University both inaugurated their new Confucius Institutes, bringing the total number at Canadian post-secondary schools to eight. More than 320 exist worldwide. China says that the funding of CIs—$150,000 initially and up to $200,000 per year after that— is meant to promote cultural understanding. But along with the money, schools, including Brock, have signed constitutions that says that “institute activities must … respect cultural customs, and shall not contravene concerning laws and regulations in Canada and China.”
Quite what that means is open to interpretation.
Russell says that means employees will feel dissuaded from mentioning Taiwan, Tibet independence, Falun Gong, or the Tiananmen Square massacre. If that’s true, the result could be an unrealistically positive view of China among the students who pass through the free language and history courses that they offer on Canadian campuses. He goes even further than that. “They’re nothing more than a propaganda and public relations exercise within the legitimizing framework of a university,” he says.
Sheila Young, Director of Brock International, takes the opposite view of their new CI. There isn’t any propaganda, she argues, but instead a fantastic opportunity for academic exchange with the world’s next superpower. “We’re in complete control of the curriculum and always have been, always will be,” says Young. The Chinese government offered to provide textbooks to them during at the Confucius Institutes Conference that she and other administrators attended in Beijing in December, but Brock has not decided which materials it will use. “Nothing has been shipped to us, where they said, ‘here these are prescribed texts,’” says Young.
Young stresses that the CI will allow them to offer many more Mandarin courses than they would be able to otherwise, plus teacher-training certification and possibly Chinese history and political science courses in the future. “There are a lot of cutbacks in the economy we’re in now,” says Young. “So the idea of getting some funding to teach in an area that hasn’t been taught [in] before is appealing.”
Student union only group that appears focused on what’s best for students
Tension is mounting at Brock University as the union representing Brock’s teaching assistants and part-time instructors has rejected entering into binding arbitration for the labour dispute that has been ongoing since the union’s contract expired in June.
In a March 3 press release, the university accepted the student union’s recommendation to submit all outstanding negotiation items to binding arbitration, but the union bargaining team has no intention of doing the same.
CUPE 4207, which represents more than 840 TAs, part-time instructors, marker-graders, lab demonstrators and full-time English as a Second Language co-ordinators, has set a strike deadline for March 14 at 12:01 a.m.
Even though two mediation sessions are scheduled to occur in the next 10 days, things appear to have hit a standstill between the two sides, with both groups going to the media to defend themselves. It’s no wonder students are concerned for their semester at this point.
“Our goal is to achieve a fair deal that enhances the quality of education at Brock,” Dan Crow, president of CUPE 4207, said in a media release yesterday. “For close to a year now, we’ve heard nothing from management that comes close to meaningful bargaining or fruitful discussions that build Brock’s reputation. Instead, the administration continues to focus on cuts and concessions — that is why we are facing a lockout or strike deadline.”
Meanwhile, in the same breath they used to accept the student union’s recommendation of binding arbitration, the university disputed every point of contention between the two sides, effectively digging in their heels.
“The union has talked about a lack of progress in collective bargaining. The union has sought more than 100 changes to the collective agreement, including proposals that would significantly raise the cost of salary and benefits,” the March 3 statement reads.
The labour union has claimed the university is allowing too many students to enroll in seminar classes, that TAs are being told to assign marks based on an essay’s first and last page only, that TAs aren’t being paid properly, and that management has come to the bargaining table unprepared on numerous occasions.
With such accusations flying around, I’m not surprised students are worried about a strike possibly disrupting their semester. And with the realities of the 2008-09 work stoppage at York University still fresh in their minds, students are likely preparing for the worst. The strike at York lasted a record 88 days and was only halted when the province ordered striking faculty back to work.
It seems the student union is the only group that actually has students’ interests at heart — and so they should. On top of encouraging both sides to work through their issues and declaring a strike “should not and cannot be an option,” they have set up several channels with which to disseminate information quickly and effectively to students.
As evidenced by York two years ago, a strike is not in anyone’s best interests, especially students’. Lets hope both the university and the labour union use the next 10 days effectively so students can get through the rest of their semester unscathed.
Photo: Staff at the Brock Press stage mock picket line, by Bethany Scholl, courtesy of the Brock Press.
Brock University called to investigate
St. Catharines city councilors are calling on Brock University to investigate an off-campus incident involving students alleged to be responsible for a home invasion last Thursday. According to the St. Catharines Standard, the so far unidentified culprits were having a snowball fight in the street after a house party. A local area resident shouted at the students to keep it down when he got up for work at 4:30am.
The man’s wife told the Standard what happened next:
The woman said after they were told to be quiet, the students began swearing and threatening the man, and then ran across their lawn to the house. She and her 14-year-old daughter slammed the front door shut, but before they could lock it, the students had shoved the door open and four young men were in their living room, swearing and throwing punches.
All three of the family members were knocked to the floor, and one of the men began pummelling her husband, she said.
Their daughter was screaming and crying and the woman tried to call police, but the phone was knocked out of her hand.
The incident occurred in an area where large numbers of Brock students are known to live, but the exact location has not been released to the public.
Although police are investigating the incident, city councilors say it is Brock University’s responsibility to also look into the home invasion. Speaking with Maclean’s, Brock spokesman, Kevin Cavanagh says the administration is “not sure” what the city councilors mean, emphasizing that the incident took place off campus. However, Cavanagh said that the university would be “eager” to assist the police with their investigation. Brock is also encouraging students with any knowledge of the incident to come forward. “We have strong links to the local police services,” Cavanagh said.
Brock has also indicated that it will consider disciplining any students found to have been involved in the home invasion.
Money will be result in new Health and Biosciences Research Complex
John Milloy, Ontario’s Minister of Training, Colleges, and Universities continues his tour of Ontario universities and colleges announcing projects receiving government funding.
The latest announce is $33.5 million for Brock University’s new Health and Biosciences Research Complex.
“The Niagara Health and Biosciences Research Complex along with the Centre of Innovation for Biomanufacturing will change the face of manufacturing in Ontario by creating a new economic cluster in biomanufacturing and health and wellness in Niagara,” says Jack N. Lightstone, President, Brock University. “This significant partnership between Brock, the Ontario government and industry will assist in the province’s transition from traditional manufacturing to profitable “green” opportunities, which will create good jobs and keep our graduates at home.”