All Posts Tagged With: "St. Thomas University"
Liberals and NDP want to ditch “parental contributions”
Jesse LaPointe is no longer a third-year English major at St. Thomas University. He lives in an apartment in downtown Fredericton, N.B. with his single mother. He worked all summer every summer and almost 30 hours per week during the school year to try to pay for his education. This year, he decided to apply for a student loan to supplement his income so he could cover his tuition. The loan only came to $2,000 which would not even cover half of his $5,195 tuition cost, never mind mandatory fees and living expenses. The reason? LaPointe’s student loan assessment said his mother was required to cough up $4,000.
“She works like a dog… Still, I can’t see any possible reality where she can fork up $4,000,” he says. He was forced to drop out of university in October. He will take a year off to work and try for a loan again next year but, at this point, there’s a lot of uncertainty. “I’ll try my luck,” he says.
Q&A with a professor after his outburst
At a recent lecture on democracy at St. Thomas University in Fredericton N.B., Globe and Mail columnist Jeffrey Simpson asked a room full of journalism and political science students why young people don’t vote. A journalism student raised her hand and said it’s because the political system is complicated and many don’t understand it. Shaun Narine, an associate professor and international relations researcher, blurted out that she should, “Read a book for God’s sake!” Some clapped. Some were angry. Jane Lytvynekno spoke to Narine over the phone from Ottawa.
You told [that student] to “read a book.” Why?
I was as surprised by my outburst as anybody else. I was listening to the student speak and I became increasingly frustrated with the fact that she seemed to be saying that she did not know anything about politics. It wasn’t the arcane facts [she didn't know]. It seemed to be the most basic things like what does it mean to vote? What is Parliament? All those sorts of things. My frustration was very great. I guess I felt that this was the sort of stuff that every responsible citizen should know. … Out of that frustration I ended up doing something which I sincerely regret doing. I apologized to the student. … I sincerely believe academia is a place where we should have rational and reasonable discussion. I don’t believe in heckling people and I don’t believe in embarrassing students and I don’t believe in screaming at people in frustration and in all of those respects I certainly did not live up to my own standards or expectations.
Plus six schools that are majority male
The Maclean’s Canadian Universities Guidebook keeps track of the male-to-female ratio on each campus. Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax been admitting men since 1974, but is still mostly female. The Royal Military College in Kingston, Ont. is the only one that’s strongly male. Of those aged 25 to 34 with university degrees, 59 per cent are women, so they’re (unsurprisingly) a majority on most campuses.
These 11 schools are more than two-thirds female (with the percentage female):
1. Mount Saint Vincent University, Halifax 75%
2. NSCAD University, Halifax 74%
3. Université du Québec en Outaouais, Gatineau, Que. 71%
4. Alberta College of Art + Design, Calgary 70%
4. Université du Québec à Rimouski, Rimouski, Que. 70%
4. Université Sainte-Anne, Church Point, N.S. 70%
7. Emily Carr University of Art + Design, Vancouver 69%
7. OCAD University, Toronto 69%
9. Brandon University, Brandon, Man. 68%
9. Nipissing University, North Bay, Ont. 68%
9. St. Thomas University, Fredericton, N.B. 68%
And here are 6 with more men than women (with the percentage male):
1. Royal Military College of Canada, Kingston, Ont. 82%
2. University of Ontario Institute of Technology, Oshawa, Ont. 59%
3. University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ont. 57%
4. Algoma University, Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. 52%
4. Carleton University, Ottawa 52%
4. Saint Mary’s University, Halifax 52%
Buy the Maclean’s Book of Lists, Vol. II online, from the iBookstore, or on newsstands now.
Aboriginals report racism and discomfort but also support
New journalism school graduate Frank Molley, of the Listuguj Mi’gmaq First Nation in Quebec, recalls a humiliating experience while studying at St. Thomas University in Fredericton, N.B.
“There were two Native journalists in the class [and] one of them did a story about a Native woman who was beaten up,” he says. When someone explained that the Native woman had been called a squaw, some students in the back of the class started laughing. He walked out.
He was also offended when a professor told him First Nation stories weren’t “newsy” enough.
Another time, he asked peers to help cover a story about the Assembly of First Nation Chiefs in New Brunswick’s plan to address poverty. No one showed up, he says, “as breaking and important as it was.” Molley says he felt ostracized, but he hasn’t given up on his chosen profession.
Despite challenges like accessibility and racism, Indigenous students are graduating and working as journalists. Exactly how many is unknown, but mediaINDIGENA.com, an online magazine, recently counted more than 60 working Indigenous journalists in Canada.
On Judith Butler’s honourary degree from McGill
Every convocation season, some group somewhere in Canada protests an honoury degree recipient or commencement speaker. This year, the controversy is over the honourary doctor of letters that McGill University will bestow upon feminist scholar Judith Butler on Thursday.
Butler is well-respected by those who follow gender theory and perhaps equally despised by supporters of Israel because she calls the nation an “apartheid state” and seemed to sympathize with the terrorist groups Hamas and Hezbollah when she called them anti-colonial and anti-imperialist forces. She later clarified that she doesn’t support “violent resistance,” but that’s not good enough for McGill Hillel and McGill Students for Israel who want the honour reconsidered.
The fact that these students are speaking out against her degree is a healthy sign. Nonetheless, the honourary degree should go ahead. I say bring on the controversial thinkers. That’s what university is all about. Or supposed to be about, anyway.
Scott Hems overcame bullying and lost 100 pounds
This story originally appeared in The Aquinian, the student newspaper at St. Thomas University.
In high school, I was a typical big guy. I took a lot of shit from people. I got teased and laughed at. Girls wouldn’t talk to me. I could never eat enough, and I never felt good about myself.
There was one thing did make me happy, though, and that was hockey. I loved hockey in high school, but couldn’t make the high level teams because of my weight. During AAA tryouts one year, the coach called me. He wanted to tell me I was a fantastic goalie and had the heart of a champion.
He followed up the pep talk by saying I was “too fat to present the image we want on this team.”
Bieber in Maclean’s, Rihanna in Toronto & the Middle East
1. The conflict between Israel and Gaza is exploding again. Gaza sent hundreds of rockets at Israel in recent days, prompting the Israeli army to strike back. A precise operation took out more than 100 rocket launchers and killed at least 13 in Gaza, including Hamas military mastermind Ahmed Al-Jaabari, six Hamas fighters and, sadly, six civilians. A Palestinian rocket killed three Israeli civilians. The U.S. and Canada have declared their support for Israel’s right to defend itself.
2. In less stressful news, Justin Bieber gave an intimate interview (that sounds so wrong) to Brian D. Johnson, a Maclean’s columnist who was, for a guy who’s quizzed Jagger, Richards and Madonna, surprisingly intimidated by the idea of speaking to the 18-year-old star. Some of the tidbits that didn’t make it into the magazine include a tense moment when Biebs is asked “What are your views these days on premarital sex?” More here.
3. Still on the celebrity beat, we have more evidence that Rihanna is a robot. She’s doing seven shows in seven days in seven cities. Tonight she’s at Toronto’s Danforth Music Hall. “Yo Toronto. I’ll be at The Danforth tonight. Will you? #777Tour #HTC #2ndStop #UNAPOLOGETIC,” she Tweeted. There are some fun shots of her getting mobbed at Pearson Airport over at CityNews.ca.
Inside the war against risky drinking on campus
From the 2013 Maclean’s University Rankings
When outraged members of Pi Kappa Alpha at the University of Tennessee called a news conference in September to protest the suspension of their fraternity due to allegations of strange and excessive alcohol abuse, two words sprang to mind: Animal House. The news conference, immortalized on YouTube, is so unintentionally bizarre that it could be mistaken for an outtake from the subversive 1978 frat-boy comedy that launched a million toga parties and countless hangovers. The press conference—featuring a bow-tied, dead-serious Southern lawyer backed by an angelic legion of fraternity members in their Sunday suits—was called to refute allegations that one of their own, 20-year-old Alexander P. Broughton, had indulged in “butt-chugging” massive quantities of wine. While there was no denying that Broughton was hospitalized with alcohol poisoning after a night of fraternity drinking games, the idea of an alcohol enema is “repulsive” to Broughton, his lawyer said. “He is a straight man.”
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 timeline of injuries, deaths, scandals and crackdowns
Graphic by Jessie Willms. Text by Josh Dehaas.
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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.
School offers money, food and shelter
Three students who were the victims of an apartment fire in Fredericton in November have received generous help from their school, St. Thomas University. All three have been offered $750 to use however they like, a meal plan worth $350 and free residence for the rest of the semester. The STU Alumni Office also gave each student a $200 Visa gift card. Even faculty chipped in, giving the students hoodies after learning that their clothing was damaged. Perhaps the best gift of all: students will get extensions on their coursework and postponed exams, reports The Daily Gleaner.
Follows apparent drunken vandalism
Alcohol has been banned at the Harrington Hall student residence at St. Thomas University in Fredericton for an indefinite period. The decision was made after fire extinguishers were discharged and glass was broken in apparent acts of drunken vandalism. Larry Batt, Dean of Students, told CBC News that the prohibition is meant to be a wake-up call for residents. The ban will last at least until the end of the calendar year. Many students were defiant as the ban came into effect on Sunday. Ryan Walters, a 19-year-old student, said that on the first night of the alcohol ban, “everybody just got wasted.” St. Thomas developed a strict behaviour code after student Andrew Bartlett hit his head and died last year after an off-campus party where hazing occurred.
Why students are flocking to Memorial University
The 21st Maclean’s University Rankings includes a close look at Atlantic Canada’s schools. To read more, buy your copy today.
Amber Haighway, a fifth-year music education student at Memorial University (MUN) in St. John’s, Nfld., has many jealous friends studying in places like Toronto, New Brunswick and back home in Nova Scotia. They say things like, “I can’t believe you pay that little for a whole semester—that’s the price of one course at my school.” It’s not far from the truth. As the Glace Bay native explains, “it’s more affordable to travel from Nova Scotia and pay for school, books and housing in Newfoundland than to go 10 minutes down the road to Cape Breton University and live at home with my parents.”
Accused of recruiting on campus
Four members of the Delta Kappa Epsilon (DKE) fraternity have been charged under the University of Alberta’s Student Code of Conduct for attempting to recruit pledges on campus, reports The Gateway. That’s in violation of the five-year suspension DKE received in January after alleged hazing. The investigation and charges came after the apparent recruiting was recorded by students, who then gave their recordings to the Dean of Students. Universities have been taking incidents of hazing very seriously lately. St. Thomas University’s new code of conduct allows for punishments as harsh as expulsion for off-campus hazing. The tough new rules were in response to the death of Andrew Bartlett, who hit his head after being at a party where hazing took place. The University of Guelph’s men’s rugby team was suspended in October after an off-campus party where an “initiation,” though not hazing, apparently took place, according to the athletics director.
Drunken party involved “an initiation”
The University of Guelph’s men’s rugby team is suspended for two games over an off-campus party.
Athletics director Tom Kendall told The Globe and Mail that a Sept. 17 party violated the school’s athletics code because of misuse of alcohol and an initiation. ”It’s more the alcohol,” Kendall said. “Nobody was hurt and the police weren’t involved. It wasn’t severe in that sense, it wasn’t a hazing incident,” he added, although he said it’s “not 100 per cent clear” what type of initiation occurred.
St. Thomas University in Fredericton, N.B. recently unveiled its draft student behaviour code, which imposes up to $500 fines and possible expulsion for incidents of hazing at off-campus gatherings where more than two STU students are present. That policy was developed after a STU student died from injuries at a party where excessive drinking and hazing reportedly occurred.
Guelph’s Gryphons rugby team will forfeit two upcoming games, against Toronto and McMaster.
Fredericton schools find unacceptable levels of lead
The student newspaper at St. Thomas University is reporting that eight drinking fountains at the small university are being shut down because of high levels of lead detected in the fountains. University officials were uncertain as to the exact source of the contamination, and vowed to replace the fountains with newer models equipped with filters to make the water safe.
According to the report, STU only looked into their fountains after recent tests at the University of New Brunswick showed unacceptable levels of lead in 18 per cent of fountains and sinks — along with others that were very close to the limits set out by Health Canada. New fountains are on order there, too, according to The Brunswickan, coming in at a total cost of roughly $100,000 dollars for twenty fountains.
Why does this matter? Long-term exposure to small amounts of lead can harm the nervous system. According to Health Canada:“Recent scientific studies on lead show that adverse health effects are occurring at lower levels of exposure to lead than previously thought.”
Concerns over water quality at school drinking fountains are not new. A US investigation in 2009 turned up lead-contaminated drinking water at schools in every American state. Some of the lead came from the school’s own well or local water supplies, while lead-soldered pipes were identified as culprits in other cases. In Canada, one study found that 27 per cent of “first draw” samples taken in Ontario schools had high levels of lead, and 9 per cent still had high levels even after the system was flushed.
How many more schools have contaminated water that is going undetected? Since STU only identified its problem after learning of the UNB case, universities across the country may need to begin more systematic monitoring of water quality. At present, Ontario is the only province that has legally mandated monitoring of school drinking water. Mandatory or not, universities should consider conducting tests of their own.
STU’s new code of conduct strikes the right balance: Petz
Keep on your best behavior St. Thomas students or you could not be a STU student no more. The university has a new code of conduct that will apply to your activities both on and off campus. A committee of university officials, students and faculty will now be able to impose punishments for things like hazing, including fines of up to $500 and expulsion. Seems draconian, right?
The new rules are the result of a policy review that followed the death of Andrew Bartlett. Bartlett died last October after attending his volleyball team’s initiation party at an off-campus residence where hazing and excessive drinking allegedly took place before he fell down a flight of stairs and fatally injured his head.
Though it’s clear that universities should be accountable for their students while they’re living, working and studying on campus, policing student behavior off-campus is more controversial.
But by limiting their code of conduct to occasions when students are clearly representing the university, STU’s new code of conduct strikes the right balance between student rights to behave how they like and the university’s right to protect its reputation—-not to mention their duty to keep students safe. The code rightly spells-out which behaviours are acceptable and which are not.
To violate the code, an incident must involve at least two STU students and occur at a university-sanctioned event or one where the student is representing the university. Hazing is highlighted, with a list of more than 20 examples spelled out. Overall, hazing is defined as “any activity expected of someone joining a group (or to maintain full status in a group) that humiliates, degrades or risks emotional and/or physical harm, regardless of the person’s willingness to participate,” reports The Aquinian student newspaper.*
The death of Andrew Bartlett is not the first incident to prompt questions about whether university discipline rules should reach off campus. Following allegations of hazing at the University of Alberta chapter of Delta Kappa Epilson fraternity at their off-campus location, the university suspended the fraternity for five years, disallowing DKE from using university services or associating itself with the U of A. Despite calls for a harsher punishment, there was little else the university could do to discipline the chapter under the U of A’s code of student behavior.
Another incident that stirred up debate on university discipline was the Stanley Cup rioting in Vancouver. Some wanted the University of British Columbia to punish those found guilty of taking part in looting. A spokesperson for the UBC told campus paper The Ubyssey that they would be letting the police and the courts determine discipline for any students involved in the looting.
Like STU, UBC made the right choice there too.It’s reasonable for universities to try to protect their students’ safety and their own reputations, but universities are no substitute for good parenting and good decisions on the part of students. Their duty only goes so far.
*This story has been updated from an earlier version that failed to attribute details of the draft code to The Aquinian, a student newspaper at St. Thomas University. Maclean’s On Campus regrets the error.
In Fredericton, furniture blazes are dangerous tradition
It’s a sure sign that students are back at school in Fredericton. The Fire Department has responded to three couch fires since Sunday, Platoon Capt. Jeff Mills, told the Times & Transcript newspaper.
“It’s a joke and it’s fun for someone,” said Mills. “But it’s tying up personnel that could really benefit someone else,” he added.
There was an epidemic of couch fires near Fredericton’s two new universities, the University of New Brunswick and St. Thomas University, in 2007, when 43 furniture fires were recorded on Graham Avenue alone. After the the city created designated days for roadside pick-up of trashed furniture, the total dropped to 17 in 2008 and nine in 2009. Including the three this frosh week, there have been six so far in 2011.
Mayor Brad Woodside offered a message for students after hearing of the fires. “This is your home away from home and live, love, laugh and enjoy,” he said, “[But] respect the community when you’re here, we’ll treat you like family, but treat this like it’s your home as well.”
STU profs who plan to boycott convocation should be wary of the message they are sending their students
A group of professors at St. Thomas University are protesting the decision to award an honorary degree to Fredericton Mayor Brad Woodside, and some have now threatened to boycott the graduation ceremonies.
In an open letter to the Daily Gleaner, the professors at the liberal arts university objected to the decision to award the degree to a “sitting politician,” as well as because of Woodside’s “record on the environment and by his unwillingness to recognize gay and lesbian citizens.”
Back in the 1990’s, Woodside refused to declare a Gay Pride weekend in Fredericton until he was ordered to do so by the Human Rights Commission. However, since taking office again in 2004, Woodside has declared Pride Week and even participated in some of the events.
But for other professors, their decision to boycott the ceremonies has more to do with the ethics of awarding an honorary degree to a politician who is still in office. “There’s a general sense of unease about the kind of vulgarity and the crassness of that,” Ian Nicholson, an STU professor who signed the letter of objection told Global Saskatoon. “Of sorta paying up to power, of trying to buy favours from politicians by giving them one of these impressive sounding degrees.”
For these reasons, a group of STU professors may be absent at the convocation ceremonies of their students this weekend. And while I don’t agree with their position, it is understandable why they would choose to be so. The ethics of awarding an honorary degree to a sitting politician is undeniably complicated, and that decision is made even thornier when the recipient has held controversial opinions in the past, despite recent reforms.
But by boycotting the ceremonies, these professors are putting their own politics over their students. Which is fine, of course. But small liberal arts universities, unlike large, research-driven institutions, are driven by the reputation of having intimate classrooms and personal connections between students and professors. You go to the University of Toronto if you want to be lectured by a world-renowned theorist who probably doesn’t know your name, but you enroll in St. Thomas University if you want to develop a relationship with faculty and engage personally with your instructors. If these professors don’t show up to their students’ graduations, they will be inadvertently forfeiting one of the great merits of their institution.