All Posts Tagged With: "University of Guelph"
One seriously injured, 30 relocated
The University of Guelph has confirmed that a fire in Dundas Hall, East Residence on Saturday evening, just a few days before the start of final exams, was set by a 20-year-old male student. The student was injured and admitted to hospital with serious but non-life-threatening injuries. Two staff members were also taken to a hospital and released. Although the fire was contained to the student’s room, about 30 other students in the building were relocated as a precautionary measure. The university says it is “aware that there is disturbing social media activity circulating about this incident,” and has reminded students and employees that emergency counseling is available.
Campus activists want to pull out of national group
More than 50 people gathered in Gatineau, Que. at noon on Saturday to protest the Canadian Federation of Students, a group hundreds of thousands of university students automatically pay money to each year to lobby on their behalf. They’re most famous for opposing tuition fees.
The protesters sang, danced and chanted outside the hotel hosting CFS’s Annual General Meeting to draw attention to the fact that unsatisfied student unions find it difficult to exit the organization and stop sending money to Ottawa each year, a process known as “defederation.”
It’s a perennial issue. At this spring’s national meeting, Brad Evoy of the University of Toronto was defeated after he tried to reform the organization by bringing the number student signatures required on a petition to start defederation back down to 10 per cent of the student body. The threshold had been raised to 20 per cent in 2009.
Universities help first-year students with mentors and more
Shari-Ann Baker, who was born and raised in Jamaica, moved to Toronto in 2010 to attend York University. Her first assignment was an essay for a Canadian studies course. Baker got a B, a mark she was able to improve after learning about the school’s Writing Centre: Her next assignment, for a sociology course, received an A. York’s various facilities, programs and clubs, such as the Community of United Jamaicans, were invaluable in helping her get settled. “People say you’ll get worse grades than in high school,” says Baker, now 22, in her fourth year of a linguistics degree. “If you take advantage of resources on campus, I don’t think it’s a problem.”
First year is a precarious time, fraught with new challenges and responsibilities—both academic and personal. Suddenly, “the world sees you as an adult,” says Barry Townshend, manager of the Centre for New Students at the University of Guelph. “A lot of responsibility comes with that,” from getting to class on time to paying rent, not to mention choosing an academic direction that will help with a future career. It’s a lot of pressure, all at once. Universities are increasingly finding a way to support students through this transition with writing centres, advisers, academic coaches and mentors.
What this town needs is a Magic Bus
Drunken students from the University of Sherbrooke have caused so much trouble that bus drivers say they will no longer pick them up.
It’s a common problem in university towns: hordes of inexperienced drinkers hobbling onto buses late at night with unhealthy amounts of vodka sodas sloshing around inside leading to vandalism, violence, public displays of affection and spilled Chinese take-out noodles.
This policy may, however, be a first. Sherbrooke’s Student Federation is calling it discriminatory. It’s hard to argue with that but they’d be wise to drop the fight and do what college governments at the University of Guelph did many years ago in response to similar problems: create a magic bus.
It’s one big party this week from Acadia to Western
Instagram and Twitter feeds from Acadia to Western are bursting with photos of raucous football games, wild parties and budding friendships. We’ve gathered the best shots of #frosh 2013 so far and plan to post many more. Want to be part of our coverage? Tweet your frosh photos to @maconcampus now. Want more? Add us on Facebook and visit Maclean’s On Campus daily.
Why you should always go straight home after the bar
Students from two Ontario universities are no longer in legal trouble for dumb things they did while drunk but their cases serve as reminders that youthful indiscretions don’t just disappear.
At least not when newspapers write about the cases allowing Google searches to forever link names to drunken behvaiour that some (though not all) potential employers will look down upon.
Exhibit A: Two University of Guelph students, both 19, pleaded guilty this week to mischief for shooting passing cars with paintballs around 2 a.m. one January morning. They apologized and got absolute discharges from a judge but the Guelph Mercury still printed their names.
“Peeping toms” reported on campuses from coast to coast
Police in Waterloo, Ont. arrested a 31-year-old non-student on Thursday and charged him with voyeurism after he was, “observed using a cell phone to take video of unsuspecting females as they used a staircase on the campus.”
It wasn’t an isolated incident at Waterloo, nor are “peeping toms” rare on Canadian campuses. During the last school year there were at least half-a-dozen media reports of men filming, photographing or otherwise spying on female students from New Brunswick to British Columbia.
Multiple students reported a man lurking in the women’s washroom at Toronto’s York University.
Students rebuffed in request for details on wages, lawsuits
Students got a rare peek this week at how the Canadian Federation of Students’ national organization spends their money after blogger Brandon Clim published the organization’s 2014 budget and audited financial statements.
However, the juicy details many have wondered about—how much individual staff members earn and how much is spent on lawsuits with local student unions—still haven’t been made public.
In fact, members of CFS’s own budget committee, at last week’s Annual General Meeting in Ottawa, say they were rebuffed in attempts to learn more.
And although the financial documents are now online, outgoing treasurer Michael Olson says they won’t show up on the CFS’s own website anytime soon, because members have rejected that idea.
Eight universities’ departments among top 50 worldwide
The QS World University Subject Rankings 2013 are out now. The London-based company’s report offers a rare peek at how our school’s history, engineering and law programs—30 subjects in all—are viewed internationally.
Unsurprisingly, the top three universities from the Medical Doctoral category of the Maclean’s University Rankings—the University of Toronto, the University of British Columbia and McGill University—are also the top Canadian schools on the list. Those three are top five in Canada in 29 of 30 subjects and top 50 worldwide in many.
The highest ranked Canadian subject is geography at the University of British Columbia, which is tenth globally. There are also several subjects in the top 15: environmental science at UBC along with medicine, philosophy, linguistics, mathematics, sociology, geography, education, English and history at University of Toronto.
Why those back-up schools may be worth a second look
In high school I couldn’t wait to get out of my little northern Ontario town (pop. 10,500) where the main preoccupation for most residents was the size of their snowmobile and tractor engines. I dreamed of a more intellectual milieu where I could debate politics over gin and dance to live music.
I knew university was my only hope and I worked hard toward that goal. I studied late, joined student council, volunteered. I even enrolled in a seventh Grade 12 course to ensure my ‘top six’ course average would be over 90 per cent.
By the time I applied to schools in January 2003, I’d worn out my copy of the Maclean’s Guide to Canadian Universities, having spent years agonizing over the options. I wanted to strike out on my own, eliminating Toronto since my dad was there and Ottawa since my sister was there. Nipissing and Laurentian were close to home—too close. I settled on McGill, with Western as my back-up. Since my Ontario application allowed me to pick three, I ticked off Wilfrid Laurier and Guelph too.
Canadian Federation of Students head talks transparency
The Canadian Federation of Students is a national network of student unions known best for its lobbying to make post-secondary education more affordable. The group is funded mostly through mandatory fees tacked on to students’ tuition bills whether they like it or not. The CFS is sometimes accused of not being transparent or worth the cost. Although it’s possible to leave the group through a petition and referendum, the CFS won’t let members go without a fight. In a 2010 referendum at the University of Guelph, 73 per cent of students voted to leave but the CFS never recognized the vote, resulting in at least $407,000 in legal bills for Guelph students. This month when it became clear the local student union was planning to give up and settle, the university stepped in and surveyed students, who once again indicated—70 per cent to 29 per cent—that they want to stop paying the fees. Carleton University Students’ Association may be the next student union to attempt to leave. Adam Awad, whose term as CFS National Chairperson ends in June, sat down for a chat during a recent trip to Toronto.
Student union, CFS want administrators to butt out
More than 70 per cent of University of Guelph undergraduates who responded to an unusual survey last week from their administration said they were opposed to paying student fees to the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS). That’s not surprising considering 73 per cent of voters were opposed when asked in a 2010 referendum.
Still, don’t expect the CFS, a student lobbying organization, to accept either poll anytime soon. Despite what appeared to be a strong mandate to stop funding the CFS in the 2010 referendum, the group has never accepted the result, arguing that there was something fishy about the vote.
And the CFS has support. Guelph’s Central Student Association (CSA)—the very student union that ran the referendum and vigorously defended it to the tune of $407,000 in legal bills as of August 2012—has switched sides and says it would rather stick with the CFS than fight on. That could mean paying roughly $250,000 per year retroactively plus $250,000 annually going forward.
What students are talking about today (April 3rd)
1. The HBO series Game of Thrones was downloaded illegally more than one million times within 24 hours of its premiere, according to TorrentFreak. That smashed the previous record, which Heroes set in 2008 with 144,663 peer-to-peer downloaders. HBO programming president Michael Lombardo told Entertainment Weekly that, while they’re against piracy, “it is a compliment of sorts.” This will, however, worry cable TV providers. A new report says 250,000 Canadians have recently ditched cable.
2. A Mount Saint Vincent University billboard encouraging people to honour the women in their lives shows three smiling men in suits but, surprisingly, no women. The poorly-planned advertisement was put up to promote the Women’s Wall of Honour project, a tribute that will be erected on campus, reports Halifax’s Chronicle-Herald.
3. A Facebook group at the University of Guelph with more than 100 members is pressuring the campus’ Central Students’ Association to honour the will of the 73.5 per cent of student voters who voted to leave the Canadian Federation of Students a few years back. Instead of doing what students mandated, the CSA plans to join the CFS in suing the university for not collecting CFS fees. “By suing the University, the money will ultimately be coming out of students’ pockets,” writes Samuel Mosonyi at TheCannon.ca. “The CSA has endorsed the Freeze the Fees Campaign, which calls on the Board of Governors to reduce tuition fees. Why would you sue students and make us pay even higher fees?” It’s a good question. The previous lawsuit cost hundreds of thousands, this one would cost money too, and the fees would add up to hundreds of thousands. Meanwhile, Carleton University students are debating whether to stick with or dump the CFS.
4. A University of British Columbia student who went through U.S. customs in Quebec carrying eight condoms and sexy lingerie says she was interrogated for eight hours, accused of being a sex worker and warned she could be banned from the U.S. for five years, reports Metro News. Later in that same month, she went through U.S. customs again on the way to Aruba and admitted an affair with a married man. On her way back, she was denied entry and was told needs a visa to enter.
5. “We’ve paid the tens of thousands of dollars for our tuition. We’ve paid hundreds in ancillary fees,” writes Cameron Michael Smith in Western’s The Gazette. “Now, finally, the end of the money pit is in sight. Graduation represents a freedom from the financial burden that university represents—but not before they have one last good grope of our wallets.” He’s not happy about paying $60 for “academic regalia,” and $10.95 for a grad cap. “Frankly, I’m surprised they don’t impose a penalty fee just for completing your degree,” he adds. Actually, they do charge graduation fees at some schools. At the University of Guelph it’s $35.35 or $95.35 if you apply late. Jerks!
What students are talking about today (April 1st)
1. In a letter to the editor of a campus newspaper, a Princeton University alumna whose sons now attend the Ivy Leage school, has told female students, “forget about having it all, or not having it all, leaning in or leaning out. Here’s what nobody is telling you: Find a husband on campus before you graduate.” Susan A. Patton says that Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg’s suggestion that women “lean in” to advance in their careers is missing the point. Here’s a sample of the controversial letter from the Daily Princetonian:
I am the mother of two sons who are both Princetonians. My older son had the good judgment and great fortune to marry a classmate of his, but he could have married anyone. My younger son is a junior and the universe of women he can marry is limitless. Men regularly marry women who are younger, less intelligent, less educated. It’s amazing how forgiving men can be about a woman’s lack of erudition, if she is exceptionally pretty. Smart women can’t (shouldn’t) marry men who aren’t at least their intellectual equal. As Princeton women, we have almost priced ourselves out of the market. Simply put, there is a very limited population of men who are as smart or smarter than we are. And I say again — you will never again be surrounded by this concentration of men who are worthy of you.
You can imagine the reaction this caused over the weekend. “What an excruciatingly retro understanding of relationships she has,” wrote Susan O’Connor of Nymag.com, to which Patton responded in The Huffington Post, “honestly, it was intended as little more than honest advice from a Jewish mother.” It’s rare that such views make it into print, so I’m certain we’ll hear more on this.
Overcrowded campuses should worry about MOOCs
Three out of five. That’s how many of my younger brother’s second-year arts courses at the University of Guelph are online this semester. He would have rather taken in-person classes, but was assigned to make his schedule after most other students and found the offline sections full.
Two out of seven. That’s how many days of the week he bothers going to campus now. With a shortage of study space, like at so many Canadian universities, there’s no point in going to school when he doesn’t have classes. He doesn’t really need the library; the journals are online.
So his $6,500 tuition gets him two days per week on campus. The rest of the time he’s working alone in his townhouse miles from campus because the university doesn’t have the space for him.
Before he informed me of this, I was pretty dismissive of those who argue that cheap or free Massive Open Online Courses, taught by hotshot professors from Harvard to UBC, are a threat to universities as we know them. The argument, made daily it seems by some columnist or another, is that MOOCs are such a good deal that they’ll cause an exodus from residential campuses.
After hearing the frustration of my brother at paying so much for so little, combined with the news that colleges are testing out formal credits for MOOCs, I think universities should be worried.
What students are talking about today (March 4th)
1. Harvard University has bagged billionaire superwoman Oprah Winfrey as its 362nd commencement speaker, according to The Crimson student newspaper. “Oprah’s journey from her grandmother’s Mississippi farm to becoming one of the world’s most admired women is one of the great American success stories,” university President Drew Faust wrote in a press release. That sure beats the speakers at my commencement from the University of Guelph, who included Pamela Wallin, a woman whose journey started in Saskatchewan and who went on to become host Who Wants to Be a Millionaire: Canadian edition before racking up many frequent flyer points as an unelected Conservative senator.
2. Also at Harvard, a 24-hour campus library is considering a napping room for students who can’t quite pull all-nighters and would instead like to rest for a few hours between exams. The room would be accessible to students who present ID. Blankets and pillows would be provided, reports USA Today. I could see this working, so long as it’s not pitch black in there. That would just be creepy.
Five things students are talking about today (February 27th)
1. Research from the University of Guelph has shown that university arts majors and those in similar college programs are generally slower to pay off student loans than business, health and engineering students, even when starting salaries are controlled for. Sociologist David Walters, one of the researchers behind the study, said it’s unclear why, though his theories include “lack of numeracy” and less “life-planning skills” among arts types. I’d lean toward the life-planning skills—they did choose arts degrees, after all. And considering how critical of capitalism the arts tend to be, they’re probably more resentful about having to pay them back and more likely to want to stick it to the man by paying as slowly as possible. It makes sense. In Quebec it’s arts students who encouraged everyone to skip school and demand free tuition. (Disclaimer: I have an arts degree.)
2. A Ryersonian editorial gives two thumbs up to Tim Hudak’s plan to invest more in degrees that lead to jobs. The Ontario Progressive Conservative leader’s Path to Prosperity White Paper suggests financial aid be based on students’ choices of programs. “Decisions about who should receive loans,” it reads, “should involve assessments of future employability and reward good academic behaviour.” Naturally this led to a backlash from those in fields where degrees don’t (directly) lead to jobs, including from Professor Pettigrew. The Ryersonian says agriculture, fashion, family studies, theatre, philosophy, anthropology, archeology and political science should get less money while science, technology, engineering and math should get more.
What students are talking about today (February 15th)
1. Toronto’s Payam Rajabi had to leave his girlfriend Clare behind when he moved to San Francisco for a job, so on Valentine’s Day he did something extra special for his long-distance love. NPR reports that he “jumped on his bike, opened his iPhone to a map of San Francisco, and tracking himself with a GPS, he rode 27 miles around the city, taking 2 1/2 hours, burning 1,135 calories and carefully etching a heart shape onto a city map.” After his bike shop shared the story, Verizon Wireless called and asked him to do it again for an advertisement.The commercial is on YouTube already where it has 230,000 views.
2. Chris Hadfield, Canadian astronaut and soon-to-be Commander of the International Space Station talked to University of Waterloo students live from space today. It’s worth watching the whole thing, but here are some highlights. Asked to describe how he felt leaving earth, he said: “My apprehension was low. I was more concerned about not going to space than going to space because there are so many complexities leaving Earth. I had a lot of eagerness to put all that training into practice. So it was with a sense of buoyant energy and readiness that I left Earth’s protective sheath.” Asked what feature on Earth’s surface he was most surprised to be able to see, he said noctilucent clouds, which are hard to see from down here too and may be useful for tracking climate change. He took photos that he says “may be one of the most enduring legacies of our time up here.” He also offered advice for wannabe astronauts: stay healthy, get an advanced education and be able to “make big decisions when consequences matter.” Oh, and don’t be boring: “Are you going to be an interesting person to go to Mars with or not?”
3. A political science professor at West Liberty University in the U.S. recently gave his students an assignment where they were to record their reactions to various new articles and the professor listed two sources they couldn’t use: The Onion, which is a satire, and Fox News because, she says, it’s “biased.” Biased it undoubtedly is but uncovering biases is sort of the point of analyzing news, isn’t it? Robin Capehart, the school’s president, thought so, telling Inside Higher Education that the professor was wrong. “Isn’t the idea that you use what sources you can and then you have to defend the facts?” he said. “To me that’s what college is all about — being able to conduct your research and conduct your own conclusions, and the professor needs to be able to challenge it.” The rule has been changed.
4. Liberal candidate Justin Trudeau continues to travel across the country stopping on university campuses. The Queen’s Journal got a shot of him looking like a sasquatch (scroll down after the link to see it) when he spoke in Kingston, Ont. earlier this week. He spent Valentine’s Day at Trent University where 250 people showed up. One interesting policy idea he floated is a gap year between high school and university during which young people could be funded to serve their country through programs like the now-canned Katimavik, in other countries or in the military.
4. The Harlem Shake trend continues to capture attention from Canadian university students. The University of Guelph’s version has now shot to first place in the competition for the most views of any student version at 1.85 million views compared to Western University’s 1.39 million. The University of Toronto is at 334,000 and Brock University is at 200,000—not bad for late entrants.
What students are talking about today (February 14th)
1. A theatre class at Memorial University recently put on a production called the Laramie Project that told the story of a Matthew Shepard, a 21-year-old man who was beaten to death in 1998 because he was gay. Westboro Baptist Church, a group of Christian fundamentalists, disgusted many when they picketed Shepard’s funeral with signs claiming “God hates fags.” They’re still at it. A representative of the church Tweeted to MUN calling them “a bunch of fag enablers” and that they will “burn in Hell for all of eternity.” Meanwhile, plans by WBC to picket the U.S. college Vassar—which Westboro calls an “Ivy League Whorehouse wholly given over to the fag agenda,”—have led to something positive. Jon Chenette, acting president at Vassar, reached out to students to find a positive way to counter the planned hate speech. They started a fund-raiser for the Trevor Project, which provides counseling for young gay people who may be facing crises or thinking of suicide. Inside Higher Education reports that contributions have already topped $47,000.
2. University of Guelph officials are unsure whether students’ personal data have fallen into the wrong hands after 15 computers and two external hard drives were stolen, reports CTV News. Reminiscent of last year’s Canada Student Loans breach, the drives may have contained contained names, addresses, contact information and social insurance numbers of both students and applicants. The computers were behind a locked door that was pried open.
3. One international student at the University of Saskatchewan is speaking out about his experience with bed bugs. His residence room was treated twice for them. He then moved to a new building on campus and ended up with an infestation there too that required treatment four times, including over his exam period. He told The Sheaf he was getting rashes and infections due to the bugs and had to start taking sleeping pills to make it through the night. Bed bugs are half-centimetre-long beasts that feed humans while they sleep. They’re expert hiders. Their bites are itchy like mosquito bites and they may leave dark streaks on mattresses. In other words, they’re gross.
4. Remember when Western’s University Students’ Council tried to move The Gazette student newspaper to a smaller office? Well, after a huge uproar over press freedom, the executive approved a plan that will see the paper remain in its current digs. Tony Ayala, vice-president finance for the USC, told The Gazette that they decided this after hearing from all stakeholders.
5. If you’re bitter and dateless this Valentine’s Day, you’ll appreciate this collection of Rejected Candy Hearts from the late shift at Maclean’s.ca My favourite: You’re 6/10 at best.
Gap years now happen before and after university
University of Guelph undergrad Casey Panning, now 24, was sitting in a Southeast Asian geography class when it occurred to her that she might never see Asia. With vague plans to teach geography, and inspired by a friend who’d spent a semester in Singapore, Panning knew it was now or never.
The gap year—taking a year off school to work, travel or volunteer—has been a pre-university rite of passage in Europe, where it began in Britain in the ’60s and spread to other Commonwealth countries—including Canada. A Statistics Canada survey of about 8,500 high school graduates from 2000 to 2008 found that just 50 per cent had started college or university within the usual three months; 73 per cent had begun in a year’s time; and by 28 months after graduation, 81 per cent of students were attending a post-secondary school.