All Posts Tagged With: "safety"
21-year-old Sydney Taylor falls from balcony
A Canadian tourist has died in the Mexican resort of Cancun.
Local media reports say the 21-year-old, identified as Sydney Taylor, died early Tuesday after apparently falling about 10 metres from the balcony of her second-floor hotel room.
They say the victim was identified by her Canadian roommate.
There was no immediate word on the woman‘s hometown, but a spokesman for Acadia University in Nova Scotia says the victim graduated from the school last month.
In Ottawa, Foreign Affairs confirmed that a Canadian had died in Mexico, but did not provide any details.
It says Canadian consular officials are in contact with local authorities to gather more information and that consular assistance is being provided both in Mexico and to the woman‘s relatives in Canada.
Video interview spreads across social media
A McGill student who was raped has told her story publicly for the first time to TV McGill. The video interview is spreading fast on Facebook and has already been viewed more than 5,000 times.
Sarelle Sheldon says she was out with a couple of friends at a Montreal bar when a guy who she had been “trying to give the cold shoulder” started talking to her. Her friends went upstairs. After that, things got fuzzy. She woke up in the hospital with police, doctors and social workers who said she was raped and found in an alleyway with almost no clothing. She remembers the man from the bar holding her against a wall. She remembers scratching him. That was only the beginning of the pain. She alleges that the police didn’t take her case seriously enough. The rapist wasn’t caught.
Sheldon says McGill refunded her courses and a university counsellor helped her work through the trauma. “It’s not something you can handle on your own and you may not be comfortable speaking with your friends and family,” she advises, “but you need to get it out.” Watch Breaking the Silence.
(Video credit: Cedric Yarish, Spencer Macnaughton)
Analyzing the many reports of sexual assaults on campus
I’ve covered student news for two years now. Time and again, I’ve seen headlines that looked like this one from yesterday’s Toronto Star: Police investigate alleged sex assault at York University.
It’s less common to see headlines referring to sexual assaults at other schools, so it’s easy to assume York has a worse sexual assault problem.
But this conclusion is probably wrong.
Five things students are talking about today (February 20th)
1. Elisa Lam, a University of British Columbia student reported missing Jan. 31st, has been found dead inside a water tank atop a Los Angeles skid row hotel. A hotel worker discovered the body while investigating complaints of low water pressure, reports to The Canadian Press. Guests told reporters gathered outside that they were disgusted by the idea they were possibly drinking water from the tank, reports CBC News. Lam, who was vacationing alone in California, was last seen on Jan. 31st in the hotel elevator. There were reports she was acting strangely.
2. The University of Colorado at Colorado Springs’ list of ways to deter a sexual assault includes the following tips: “Tell your attacker that you have a disease or are menstruating,” and “Vomiting or urinating may also convince the attacker to leave you alone.” The list was widely criticized by conservative and liberals pundits alike (finally—they agree!) on Twitter before the university took it down. The university says the list, which was first published in 2006 and provided to women who took a self-defense class, was taken out of context.
Blaze may have started on porch
This story was updated Feb. 17 at noon EST.
Horrified neighbours watched helplessly as a house fire in Victoria claimed the lives of three young adults early Saturday.
Fire Capt. Bob Jones said flames were shooting out from the back and front of the house and two vehicles in the driveway were ablaze when firefighters arrived at about 4:30 a.m.
“The house is only, literally, 50 feet away from the back of the fire hall,” Jones said.
“It really got going quickly and it was windy, and that really helped spread the fire throughout the house.”
The victims were a young man and two young women, Jones said, adding it’s believed they were all students who rented the house. The victims names have not yet been released.
Jones said there was a party at the house on Friday night and that several out-of-town guests were staying there.
“Our evacuee assistance program has relocated some of them from out of town and put them up in accommodation for the night.”
Steve Hicks, who lives next door, said he was among a group of people who stood on the street and watched firefighters carry a body out on a stretcher as the house burned down.
“My upstairs tenant’s son, I think, put in the first call to the fire department. Then my tenant banged on the door and woke me up and we got outside.”
Hicks said most of the people living in the house were in their 20s.
“There’s no official word, but the fire appears to have started on the side porch at the front of the house. It’s covered and they have a couple of couches there, where people would sit around and smoke.”
Hicks said he was watching firefighters investigating near the porch on Saturday afternoon as he tried to process what he’d witnessed just hours earlier.
“When you’re out there at four in the morning and there’s a blaze going you can’t really process it. It takes a few hours. I’m not feeling too good right now. When you know that people lost their lives right there you don’t think it’ll shake you up that much, but I think it has.”
What students are talking about today (February 7th)
1. About 1,000 people spoiled their ballots in the recent Carleton University Students’ Association elections, chief electoral officer Sunny Cohen told The Charlatan. Most of the ballots were disqualified because people wrote in more than one place, but more than 100 had penises drawn on them. A “Phallus Your Ballot” Facebook page and instructional video had proposed this act of protest. “If we’re going to elect dicks, we might as well get to draw them,” read the page. Third-year student Sam Corey told The Charlatan he voted for two candidates but drew a phallus on the rest of his ballots because CUSA is too concerned with issues like “safe space.”
2. A fraternity at Duke University threw an Asian-themed party on Friday. The Asian Student Association fought back on Wednesday with a protest after seeing photos of party goers in Japanese kimonos and dressed as sumo-wrestlers. The ASA released the photos but was kind enough to blur faces. Although kimonos and sumo costumes aren’t offensive on their own, The Duke Chronicle reports the party was advertised in an e-mail that started off “Herro Nice Duke Peopre,” a dig at some Asian accents. The frat has apologized.
Campuses divided on best approach
Up to one in four female students is sexually assaulted during university, according to the University of Alberta Health Centre. While there’s wide support for fighting gender-based violence, campuses are divided over who should provide the support and who should pay for it.
Some university clinicians want help to come from professionals in campus clinics, while some students want universities to also pay for peer-based support networks run by students. Meanwhile, some student unions, funded by mandatory fees, have taken up the prevention and support role at some schools.
The debate is playing out at Concordia University where a group called the 2110 Centre for Gender Advocacy (named after their main location at 2110 de Maisonneuve Blvd.) argues the university should provide funding for a student-run sexual assault centre to complement its health and counseling services. Bianca Mugyenyi, the 2110′s campaign coordinator, says that peer-based support is a model that’s worked well across Canada.
Study shows increased risk of sexual assault
Studying overseas is an overwhelmingly positive experience for most students, but it comes with some risks. A new study showed an increased incidence of sexual assaults, including rape, among undergraduate women from a U.S. school who studied in non-English-speaking countries.
It’s a shocking—although small—study. Out of 218 undergraduates surveyed, 60 (that’s 27.5 per cent) reported at least one experience of unwanted touching while abroad, 13 (6 per cent) reported an attempted sexual assault (anal, oral or vaginal) and 10 (4.6 per cent) reported rape. That risk of rape was five times higher during the semesters abroad than semesters in the U.S.
One of the study’s authors told Inside Higher Education he suspects “legal access to alcohol, lack of familiarity with the culture, maybe weaknesses in the language, and potentially even being seen as somewhat vulnerable within the country” may contribute to the higher incidence of assaults.
Students divided over ideas like key cards and more policing
After five crimes on campus at York University last week—two armed robberies, an assault where a student was struck with a piece of metal, and two sexual assaults—students gathered outside of York’s Vari Hall on Wednesday afternoon to rally for improvements to safety at the university.
Fewer than 100 people attended, a number much lower than the more than 1,300 who had confirmed on Facebook that they would attend.
Kasra Amidi-Rad, one of the rally’s organizers, gave the opening speech. “During the past few weeks there have been incidents that have occurred in a very, very rapid pace and we would like to come up with a list of suggestions,” he said, adding, “we will present them to the president during the open forum tomorrow.”
The President’s Open Forum on Campus Safety, on Thursday at noon in Founders College, will allow students, faculty and staff to offer safety ideas to administration and the Toronto Police.
A pro-choice club denied, Marc Garneau & safety at York U.
1. More than 1,300 people have confirmed on Facebook that they will attend a protest at York University on Wednesday demanding better security. “Over the past few months there have been many cases where assaults, robbery, and mischief have been happening with our students at York,” says the Facebook page. York officials reported earlier this month that they have implemented 70 per cent of the recommendations from a recent safety audit.
2. A Kwantlen University student is threatening to sue his student association after it cited a “pro-choice policy” as the reason for denying his pro-life group status as a club. Oliver Capko told The Province he believes the ban denies him freedom of expression. However, it’s not just his group that doesn’t get funding from the Kwantlen Student Association. Political, religious or “controversial” groups like the Muslim Association are also denied club status.
3. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas plans to ask the UN General Assembly on Thursday to recognize Palestine in the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem. The U.S., Israel, Canada and Germany are opposed. France, Spain and Norway are in favour. The U.K. is undecided.
Ontario study looked at 129 bicycle-related deaths
Cyclists who die of a head injury are much less likely to be wearing a helmet than bike riders who die of other injuries, a study has found, underscoring what researchers say is the need for mandatory helmet use for Canadians of all ages.
The study, which analyzed 129 accidental bicycle-related deaths in Ontario between 2006 and 2010, found cyclists who didn’t wear a helmet were three times more likely to die from brain trauma than those who wore protective head gear while riding.
“Helmets save lives,” said Dr. Nav Persaud, a family physician and researcher at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, who led the study.
“There are about 70 cycling deaths in Canada every year,” Persaud said. “And based on our study, we estimate we could prevent about 20 of them with helmets.”
Nintendo guns banned, the Turkey Dump & Hipster ads
1. Remember those orange Nintendo Zapper guns from the 1990s? Apparently they were okay for millions of children to use, but they’re too offensive to be viewed by grown-up students at Saint Mary’s University. Citing a postering policy, SMU’s student association told the campus gaming society to take down posters that used the guns to advertise an event.
2. You’ve made it to Thanksgiving in your first year of university or college, but did your relationship survive? On Twitter, students are talking about the Turkey Dump, the annual tradition of first-year students breaking up with their high school sweethearts on their first trip home from school.
3. The winner of a cockroach-eating contest in Florida (where else) has died. The Ben Siegel Reptile Store near Miami, which held the event, had offered the winner a pet python.
London shooting, Regina theft and Toronto mega-project
1. Students at Western University in London, Ont. had their homecoming weekend marred by the shooting death of 21-year-old Terrell Johnson off-campus early Sunday. A 28-year-old man was also taken to hospital. Joshua Carter, 22, is charged with second-degree murder.
2. Hannim Nur, the student who resigned from her post as president of the University of Regina’s Students’ Union (URSU), did so because she stole $700 of student money from the Canadian Federation of Students Saskatchewan by forging signatures on cheques when she was Chair. A statement from CFS-S says that the money was repaid and that they’ve updated procedures to reduce the chance of it happening again. Questions remain as to why Nur continued to work at URSU after she admitted the forgery to CFS.
3. A proposed mega-development on King Street in Toronto will house a whole lot of people in three 80-story condo towers. It will also include two museums and facilities for nearby OCAD University. The design is by Frank Gehry and the funding is from theatre king David Mirvish. Tweeters have compared the design to a tipped-over recycling bin, but Edward Keenan of The Grid points out that Gehry’s early sketch of the now-loved Art Gallery of Ontario once raised eyebrows too.
A grad’s survival guide
If you choose to drink, there are a few things you need to know. We’re not talking about the legal drinking age or the dangers of drunk driving, which society has justifiably drilled into your head since you were old enough to finger paint. Instead, Yuni Kim, a recent graduate of York University who is currently in teacher’s college, offers you 10 things every student should know about drinking.
1. Keep emergency cash for taxis. At some point, you will stumble out of a bar, feel the slap of the chilly Canadian air in your face and realize you’re nowhere near home. It will be 2 a.m. and public transit won’t be there to save you. Many cab drivers won’t take debit, and there’s not a single ATM on this sketchy street. You’ll be glad you have that spare $20 to whisk you away.
2. Pick up the tab once in a while. Be cool enough to buy a round of pints for your friends whenever you have the cash to spare. This ritual builds camaraderie and chances are the karma will come back to you just as your bank account hits zero around Thanksgiving. With that said…
Strip clubs say they’re recruiting students
The B.C. government is warning of a new kind of head hunter targeting Canadian campuses, but the job description requires skills not on offer at the institutions.
British Columbia’s advanced education minister has sent a letter warning post-secondary schools to keep an eye out for adult entertainment businesses that may try to recruit strippers in exchange for tuition.
Naomi Yamamoto wrote this week she’s concerned recruiters may attempt to set up booths at post-secondary job fairs across Canada this fall.
“Students, who often feel new stresses due to new living environments and managing their own affairs for the first time, may be tempted by these monetary inducements,” Yamamoto wrote.
A dreadlocks ban, failing law schools and a “video game bar”
1. A business school dean at the historically-black Hampton University in Virginia is standing by his ban on dreadlocks and cornrows for MBA students. The ban has been in place since 2001, but at least one new student is refusing to cut his dreads. Dean Sid Credle says the ban helps students get used to the corporate uniform.
2. Law school “cannot continue in its present form,” says a Saskatchewan law professor. Schools purport to be academic, but students expect to learn practical things like how to draft contracts. “Wouldn’t everyone be happier if law schools stopped trying to be all things to all people, and instead focused on being either vocational schools or academic institutions?,” asks Michael Plaxton.
3. Canadian universities lag behind when it comes to using less-expensive e-textbooks. In the U.S., 15 per cent of sales are digital. In Canada, it’s still less than 10 per cent.
University says health and safety risks forced action
Students from the University of Alberta say they were blindsided by changes imposed on the largest residence on campus, Lister Hall, which include a ban on drinking in common areas.
The administration says it discussed the issues with concerned student groups but health and safety risks meant it could no longer wait to act.
“There was an interim review done and a lot of health and safety issues came up,” says Deborah Eerkes, Director of the Office of Student Judicial Affairs and Acting Dean of Students. “They were alarming enough that some kind of change had to take place immediately.”
Students’ Union representatives and Lister Hall residents say that the banning of drinking in common areas is an overreaction and that there is no proof it will make students safer. “They’re using the veil of emergency,” said Petros Kusmu, Students’ Union VP External. “Every time we ask them to provide evidence that this is as severe as they say it is, they skirt around the issue.”
I would have appreciated a text message alert
Whenever I read news headlines that depict unpredictable or brutal violence, I think, that could never happen where I live… not to people I know… not in my community. Then, it happened.
I’m a second-year student at the University of Alberta. After midnight Friday morning, students found three people dead and one severely injured in the HUB Mall on campus where I eat lunch almost every day during the school year. Travis Baumgartner, 21, allegedly shot and robbed his fellow armed guards to steal ATM cash. He was arrested on Saturday in British Columbia.
We’re safe now. But I didn’t always feel that way.
Ximena Osegueda was killed in Mexico December
Police in the state of Oaxaca, Mexico say they’ve arrested three women and two men in connection with the December murder of University of British Columbia doctoral student Ximena Osegueda and her boyfriend Alejandro Santamaria.
Their bodies were found in January on a beach in the town of Huatulco with their throats slashed. The gruesome scene was replayed in a computerized reenactment released by Attorney-General Manuel de Jesus Lopez on Tuesday.
Police say the motive was theft of Osegueda’s 2012 Chevrolet. They tracked the car through its GPS system to Oaxaca City, 410 km from Huatulco. A butcher shop receipt inside the car pointed them to gang members, they say. Police are searching for three more men. Osegueda, 39, was in Mexico to work on her Hispanic Studies PhD.
Burning couches is dangerous and costly
Firefighters in Fredericton, N.B. want students to consider the financial costs and potential dangers of burning couches after two were found alight near the city’s universities on Friday. The end-of-year tradition among students from St. Thomas University and the University of New Brunswick is something the city has fought for years—apparently without much success. There were 19 furniture fires in 2008. Captain David McKinley told CBC News that there have been seven already this year.