All Posts Tagged With: "Dawson College"
Literature and life lessons help to understand activists
In Timothy Findley’s The Wars, a young officer, Robert Ross, defies orders and releases horses confined in a barn. It is WW1 and he is in an area of France being shelled by Germans. Releasing them is a way of saving them as the structure is an obvious target. Ross is an officer with the Canadian Field Artillery and it’s his love of animals and justice that motivates him. It’s also his last act before desertion.
Findley’s assertion was that Ross’ actions were heroic in context. His liberation of the horses is cast against the shadowy psychopathy of WW1, a psychopathy so hideous it kept high-ranking military men from touring the front. Had they done so, the carnage of the Somme, Ypres and Passchendaele might not have materialized. More soldiers, from all forces involved, might have made it home.
The Wars is timely because it seems conventional ideas about heroism are atomizing before our eyes. More relativistic ways of seeing things, perhaps brought on by the pervasive use of the internet, are transporting us to a world where the bad guys are everywhere and they’re usually in charge. It’s created some odd bedfellows and even odder instances of cross-pollination. The Arab Spring, a political uprising with some very discernible causes, was replicated in Quebec by the Maple Spring, a student uprising that had a lot of us here scratching our heads. Many were puzzled by the students’ adoption of a name whose power was clear but whose basis for comparison was wildly inaccurate.
Dawson College explains expulsion
A student expelled from a Montreal college for hacking into its computer system says he is considering a job offer from the firm that provided the cyber information program.
Ahmed Al-Khabaz says he has been offered employment by the president of Skytech Communications.
Dawson College held a news conference today where it justified its expulsion of the computer science student, saying he breached its code of professional conduct.
Student groups reject gov’t offers as deadline approaches
The student strike in Quebec, ignited by a $1,625 tuition increase over the next five years, is now the longest in provincial history—and participants may soon pass a point of no return.
Professors’ contracts require the semester to end by June 15 and some universities are hinting that the entire semester will be in jeopardy for students who don’t go back in time to meet that deadline.
The Université de Montréal, Quebec’s largest, announced Wednesday that it will extend the term into May for students who have already returned to class.
At the same time, it said it can no longer guarantee students who haven’t returned that they will be able to finish their semesters. Groups representing around 25 per cent of U de M are still on strike.
Nothing to gain
University students in Quebec continued their fight against annual $325 tuition increases on Nov. 10, protesting in large numbers by skipping classes. Classes were even cancelled at Dawson College and students marched in the streets of Montreal.
It was well organized and peaceful. To get a sense of that, consider that marshals in fluorescent vests helped defuse the tense moments between protesters and police outside Charest’s Montreal office where things might have become violent. Although the sight of riot police on campus is always disturbing, there was only a small cadre of roughly 100 students outside the McGill Administration building when police moved in.
But as big and peaceful as the demonstration was, will it change anything?
Although the 2005 student strike ended with the government giving in to some student demands, Thursday’s much shorter “strike” takes place in a much less friendly political climate and a much more uncertain economy. Even as students were marching in Montreal, education minister Line Beauchamp stood up in the National Assembly to reiterate that students must pay “their fair share.”
It’s easy for her to have such bravado. Premier Jean Charest faces no threats on the left who might gain from angry student voters. The Parti Québécois, the only other party to have formed government in this province since the 1970s, is tearing itself apart.
At the moment, Charest’s biggest political threat comes from the right. François Legault, a former PQ cabinet minister, and his centre-right Coalition pour l’avenir du Québec (CAQ) are leading in recent polls. The Action démocratique du Québec (ADQ), a right-wing party with four seats in the National Assembly, is entering into formal negotiations with the CAQ concerning a potential merger.
Legault is on the record saying that students in programs which lead to higher paying jobs should pay more tuition. Considering that kind of thinking, it’s safe to bet that students wouldn’t find a CAQ government any more supportive of their demands.
Groundbreaking study finds that students and staff at Dawson College twice as likely to suffer psychological stress after 2006 shooting
Nearly a third of students and staff at Dawson College experienced psychological trauma in the weeks and years after the 2006 shooting, according to a groundbreaking study published Wednesday. The three year study, conducted by researchers at McGill University, was presented to the provincial government this week.
In Sept 2006, Kimveer Gill opened fire at the Montreal college, killing 18-year-old Anastasia De Sousa. Another 19 people were injured before Gill committed suicide.
The study that surveyed 1,000 students and staff at Dawson found that 30 per cent experienced mental disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder, major depression, alcohol dependence, and social phobia following the shooting. Lead researcher Alain Lesage says that it is double the rate for the Quebec population as a whole. About 13 per cent of Dawson’s population sought professional psychiatric help, while another 14 per cent looked for health information online. Those closest to the incident, who witnessed it or heard shots fired, were as much as four times more likely to suffer a mental disorder.
“Despite over 60 school shootings since the 1999 tragedy at Columbine High School in Colorado, there have been few empirical studies on the psychological effects of these incidents and no study until now that evaluated the effectiveness of psychological intervention,” Warren Steiner, a member of the research team said.
The authors recommend recommend that every high school, college and university implement emergency response protocols to address mental health issues. Hospitals were also encouraged to integrate psychological intervention when responding to crises.
Three years after shooting, 40 per cent of students, faculty suffer mental-health problems
A new study shows the psychological impacts of the 2006 Dawson College shooting in Montreal still run deep in students and staff affected by the deadly rampage.
Eighteen months after the assault that left one student dead and 16 other people wounded, researchers from the McGill University Health Centre and Montreal’s Louis-H. Lafontaine Hospital surveyed 949 members of the Dawson community.
They found that 40 per cent of respondents suffered from mental-health problems.
The researchers also revealed that two per cent were in a state of post-traumatic stress due to the attack, while seven per cent were still experiencing post-traumatic stress symptoms.
Richard Boyer, a researcher with the Louis-H. Lafontaine Hospital’s Fernand-Seguin Research Centre, said Monday that 12 per cent of respondents suffered from severe depression and close to seven per cent had seriously considered suicide.
“There was a heightened risk of major depression or suicidal thoughts if they developed post-traumatic stress during this (18-month) period,” Boyer said in a phone interview from New York, where the preliminary findings will be presented Tuesday at New York University.
“What’s surprising is that the post-traumatic stress problems and the other (psychological problems) persisted for so long after the event.”
On Sept. 13, 2006, gunman Kimveer Gill stormed the college, killing 18-year-old student Anastasia De Sousa and wounding 16 other people. Previous reports had said 20 people were injured.
During the wild, 20-minute shootout that sprayed more than 70 bullets inside the school, students and staff scrambled for cover.
Montreal police shot Gill in the elbow moments before he took his own life.
Officer says found objects indicated an armed person might have been in building
Montreal police rushed to a downtown university on Thursday afternoon after reports of a loud noise that some people believe may have been gunshots.
Reports that an armed man was inside prompted rifle-toting police officers to enter the building.
Montreal police spokesman Raphael Bergeron said there were no injuries and no signs of blood. He said objects were found that indicated an armed person might have been in the building.
Ambulances also rushed to the Universite du Quebec in Montreal in case of casualties.
Police say they received calls about a loud bang inside the building housing the university’s education faculty, which is near the busy Berri-UQAM subway station.
“What is important is everyone is safe and no one is hurt,” said UQAM spokesman Daniel Hebert. “Police are sweeping the building and, if everything is fine, we will resume as usual this evening. If there is a risk, the building will remain closed until further notice.”
Jonathan Hille, a communications student, said he heard a message over the intercom but that he didn’t see anybody panic.
“Then I saw 20 policemen and I thought ‘This is a big deal’,” Hille said. “We thought this is like Dawson. I was pretty worried because a lot of my friends were studying for exams when this happened.”
Hille was referring to the shooting at Dawson College in Montreal in September 2006 when a gunman killed one student and wounded about 20 others.
- The Canadian Press
CFS referendum voting underway at Dawson College
The Canadian Federation of Students is looking to expand into Quebec’s Collège d’enseignement général et professionnel. The first stop in their campaign to gain members in this sector is Dawson College in Montreal. The CFS “referendum” is being held this week with voting today and tomorrow.
A large number of students have been trying to run a NO campaign at the college. They put up posters over the weekend stating reasons for not joining the CFS. The posters were promptly removed Monday morning.
They weren’t approved by the Canadian Federation of Students-mandated referendum oversight committee. The students have to get the CFS-mandated committee to approve NO campaign materials. Sources say that the NO campaign can’t get the posters approved through the committee because the committee considers their main points to be “unfactual.”
Melanie Hotchkiss, a student at Dawson College who is one of the leaders of the unofficial NO campaign, said that students are putting up the posters as fast as they are being taken down. The posters consist of a “Vote NO banner” on top and then quotations from student papers. “They are not approving our materials because they disagree with the opinion,” says Hotchkiss. “The information is all from respected student newspapers.” She noted that the committee is made up of four members, two of whom are CFS reps and two of whom are actively campaigning for the YES campaign.
The students involved in the NO campaign feel that CFS is ineffective – especially compared to more effective Quebec student associations – and that they are also a lot more cost-effective.
I estimate that the CFS stands to gain more than $80,000 a year from Dawson students. (NOTE: There are at least 7,500 full time students at Dawson and Concordia students pay $12.30 per year to the CFS.) What Dawson students will get in return is anyone’s guess.
According to Charlie Brentchley, a member of the referendum oversight committee, the NO posters were not approved because they used “out-of-date” citations from student newspapers. “The quotations are six months out-of-date and do not reflect the current reality of the Federation.”
The NO posters are also “unfactual,” according to Brentchley. The posters asked students: “Why pay for an ineffective student lobbying organization?” Brentchley says this is untrue and “misleading the student body.” The oversight committee exists to prevent misinformation according to Brentchley.