All Posts Tagged With: "University of Ottawa"
Perhaps a Chinese university would make more sense
The University of Ottawa’s English newspaper thinks French-speaking Ontarians deserve “a university to call their own,” because, they argue, “Franco-Ontarians are plenty in number but hugely underrepresented at universities.”
They quote Geneviève Latour, a student and co-president of the Regroupement étudiant franco-ontarien, an advocacy group. “It’s really a question of having the right to it,” she says.
Oh please. Francophone Ontarians are neither “large in numbers” nor “underrepresented.” In fact, they’re quite well-served already. Ontario does not need another francophone university.
The Fulcrum and Latour should check out the study on francophone post-secondary participation published this week by the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario. It says that students from French-language school boards are slightly more likely to attend university than average.
That’s not surprising considering the number of options available to study in English or French.
Why I side with students who won’t wear the red poppy
Students at the University of Ottawa came under fire this week for supporting the white poppy campaign, a drive to get people to wear a white poppy rather than the traditional red one, on the grounds that the red poppy can be seen as a tacit support of war itself. Since white is traditionally associated with peace, the white poppy is meant to meant to support remembrance but with an emphasis on peace rather than war itself.
This piece in The Toronto Sun sneers at students for “hopping aboard” a “left wing” bandwagon. The Minister of Veterans Affairs jumped in too, calling the campaign “totally disrespectful.” Meanwhile, over at the National Post, Matt Gurney claims that the “very existence” of the campaign “is insulting by its implication that the red poppy glorifies war.”
Too bad. The red poppy does glorify war. And it has been so successful in doing so that it seems as though its supporters don’t even realize they are doing it. Celyn Dufay, the Ottawa student at the centre of this imbroglio is quite right in explaining, simply enough, “we want to work for peace.”
Trio alleged discrimination, negligence
TORONTO – Allowing three doctors from Saudi Arabia who alleged discrimination and negligence to sue the University of Ottawa would be an abuse of process, Ontario’s top court ruled Friday.
In rejecting an appeal from the trio, who had sought $156 million in damages, the court sided with a lower court that struck down their attempted lawsuit without deciding on its merits.
“It is the province of the motion judge to make factual findings,” the Ontario Court of Appeal found.
“We see no basis to interfere with the factual finding.”
The students — Khalid Aba-Alkhail, Manal Alsaigh and Waleed AlGhaithy — were either denied advancement or dismissed from the school’s neurosurgery program.
They appealed unsuccessfully through the university’s various internal processes.
Ottawa researcher shows “blue” police’s part in Holocaust
There were approximately 3.3 million Jews in Poland before the Germans invaded in September 1939. At the end of the war, that number had plummeted to about 30,000. Now, in path-breaking research, Jan Grabowski, a history professor at the University of Ottawa, reveals what happened to those Jews who tried to hide in rural Poland after the Nazis violently emptied the ghettos. “The locals had everything to say about who could survive and who could not,” he says. In his new book, Hunt for the Jews: Betrayal and Murder in German-Occupied Poland, he explains how, all too often, Poles turned on and killed Jewish neighbours they’d known for decades. And, in particular, he destroys the myth that the Polish “blue” police had nothing to do with killing Jews.
When an earlier Polish version of his book was released in 2011, Grabowski’s findings deeply polarized public opinion in that country. In media interviews and debates, his was the face for a hot-button topic: a re-evaluation of Polish actions during the Holocaust. Poles have long, and rightly, perceived themselves as victims in the Second World War, at the expense of exploring their involvement in the Holocaust. Now, Grabowski says, “You show that, sometimes, victims were victimizing even more desperate people.”
Though his Ph.D. is on New France, an interest in the Holocaust had “always been sleeping in me,” he says, “but woke up in a vengeance” a decade ago while he was visiting his parents in Warsaw. He went to the archives and stumbled upon German court files from the war that hadn’t been opened by historians. Grabowski, whose Jewish father and paternal grandparents survived by “passing” as Poles in Warsaw during the war, began his work.
Protesters want evidence-based policies
OTTAWA – Hundreds of frustrated scientists clad in their telltale white lab coats descended Monday on Parliament Hill to demand that the Harper government stop muzzling scientists and cutting research funding.
“What do we want? Evidence-based decision-making!” chanted the protesters as they gathered in the shadow of the Peace Tower, complaining about what they see as the government’s efforts to commercialize research.
The very fact that such a typically apolitical group felt the need to make their voices heard speaks volumes, said Jeremy Kerr, a biology professor at the University of Ottawa.
“As a commentary on the state of affairs, when people like me start showing up wearing their lab coats having come from their laboratories, things are pretty bleak,” Kerr told the crowd.
The fundamental message is “simplicity itself,” Kerr said: “Sound policy needs sound science.”
“The facts do not change just because the Harper government has chosen ignorance over evidence and ideology over honesty.”
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.
Professor Pettigrew on watching a discipline come of age
It was recently pointed out to me that the new director of the Institute of Women’s Studies at the University of Ottawa is a man, Michael Orsini. According to this interview, Orsini thought there might be flack from fellow scholars. Instead, got only bad jokes in the elevator. Not only do I not have a problem with a man running a Women’s Studies centre, I think it’s a positively good thing.
When I was an English major at the University of Western Ontario in the early 90s, the Women’s Studies Program there was just getting going. The new department was given swanky digs in historic University College and issued glossy ads with an elegant lavendar colour palette. Clearly the university was taking this seriously.
One day I found myself in conversation with a disgruntled friend who was complaining about two students in her Women’s Studies class who were ruining the course because, as she explained, they didn’t “accept that there’s patriarchy” and without everyone accepting that the world had always been run by men for the benefit of men, the course kept getting bogged down in arguments over basic assumptions.
New statistics counter the popular narrative
Since the recession, so the story goes, almost all 27-year-old university graduates are sitting in mom’s or dad’s basement playing Guitar Hero, firing off job applications and ranting on Facebook about how they’d be better off as plumbers.
This has become such accepted wisdom that when Allan Rock, president of the University of Ottawa, argued in a speech last week that it is, in fact, a myth, the Ottawa Citizen saw it as news.
Newly-released Statistics Canada charts of unemployment rates by education among 25 to 29-year-olds back up Rock’s point. Last year, university graduates were more likely than anyone else in that age group to be employed and just as likely to be working as the same age group was back in 2005 when no one fretted about jobs.
Neighbours worry about 16 students next door
A single-family dwelling in Ottawa is in the process of being converted to a three-storey monster house for 16 people. The home on Aylmer Ave., near Carleton University, will likely house students.
That project will go ahead, but in a surprise move on April 30, the city approved a temporary bylaw banning new applications for such conversions in the areas around Carleton and the University of Ottawa. The law could last up to a year, giving the city time to decide on new standards.
The sudden moratorium on new monster houses shows the tension between neighbours in single-family homes and the growing number of Ottawa post-secondary students looking for housing in their peaceful neighbourhoods.
‘Only got a lil’ glucose in my pathway’
University of Ottawa student Wilson Lam’s chemistry-inspired rap video about turning carbohydrates into energy has been viewed more than 125,000 times on YouTube. The song is a parody of Thrift Shop by Macklemore with lyrics like “I’m gonna pop some carbs, only got a lil’ glucose in my pathway” replacing “I’m gonna pop some tags, only got twenty dollars in my pocket.” The video helps students remember the complex metabolic process glycolysis. Mary-Ellen Harper, Lam’s professor, told the Ottawa Citizen that she encourages musical devices among her students.
Rick Ross gets cancelled but Tyga performs
A hip-hop concert cancelled earlier this month in Ottawa is fueling debate about which performers student union money should fund and whether artists’ freedom of expression has been silenced.
Pandemonium, the annual year-end show subsidized by the Carleton University Students’ Association (CUSA) and the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa (SFUO), was to be headlined by rapper Rick Ross on April 9. But numerous students from both universities urged their student unions to pull out because they said Ross’ recent lyrics glorify date rape. SFUO and CUSA eventually pulled the plug and the show was cancelled. Shortly afterward, athletics company Reebok announced it was dropping Ross.
It’s not just an issue in Ottawa. At Harvard University, a performance by the rapper Tyga went ahead Saturday despite an online petition with more than 1,000 signatures demanding a student board cancel it. Petitioners said his lyrics in the song “Bitch Betta Have My Money,” are “explicitly and violently misogynistic.” Tyga performed the song on the weekend, “despite all the haters.”
Access Copyright takes York University to court
There’s a battle brewing in the world of Canadian academia.
On one side stands Access Copyright, a collective which has provided institutions access to a pool of protected intellectual work for more than two decades while distributing royalties to the writers, artists and publishers it represents.
On the other is a group of universities who no longer feel the need to pay for the services offered by the collective, opting instead to navigate the world of intellectual property rights without a middle agent.
Simmering tensions are now threatening to boil over as Access Copyright takes one of Canada’s largest universities to court — a move some see as a warning to others who’ve ended relations with the agency.
Study shows heterosexual women prefer well-endowed men
Science has spoken and, yes, gentlemen, size does matter.
A newly published study by a University of Ottawa researcher has concluded penis length exerts a measurable sway on females evaluating potential sexual partners.
“We found that flaccid penis size had a significant influence on male attractiveness,” concludes the study that was published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.
“Males with a larger penis were rated relatively more attractive.”
Biologist Brian Mautz said he came to the study through curiosity over the evolution of male genitalia. Compared to other male primates, human endowment is generous.
“This observation has generated suggestions by evolutionary biologists that the comparatively larger human penis evolved under premating sexual selection,” says his paper. “Novels, magazines and popular articles often allude to the existence of a relationship between penis size and sexual attractiveness or masculinity.”
Nor is the effect limited to pop culture.
“Another project I was on, looking at female preferences in genital size in fish, showed that females actually do discriminate in males before copulation even begins,” Mautz said. “That potentially influences genital evolution.”
Previous studies have attempted to discern what women like by, for example, asking them to choose between a series of drawings of men that vary only in the size of the anatomy in question. Mautz believes those conclusions are probably limited by self-censorship.
“When you directly ask someone about a sensitive topic, you’re likely to get some bias in responses,” he said. “Penis size isn’t supposed to matter.”
His study tried to mask its intent by introducing three variations on male appearance: body shape (shoulder-to-hip ratio), height and penis size. Those variables were presented in seven gradients, small to large, and intermixed until there were 343 combinations.
Each variation was represented in a computer-generated, life-sized picture of a naked male, which could be rotated to allow an examination of the image in profile. A study group of 105 heterosexual women were then asked which picture they found most sexually attractive.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, they preferred men who were tall, long and V-shaped. Overall, body shape accounted for about 80 per cent of the variation in attractiveness scores, penis size about six per cent and height about five per cent.
“The finding suggests that selection on penis size is potentially as strong as selection on stature.”
That finding was reinforced by slower response times for some pictures.
“We found a significantly positive, albeit small, correlation between penis size and response time,” the study says. “This finding is consistent with a pattern in adults whereby attractive stimuli are viewed for longer periods.”
That attraction, however, wasn’t a simple formula of bigger is better.
“Attractiveness increases rapidly until you reach around average for each of the three traits,” said Mautz. “Then, although the attractiveness continues to increase, it doesn’t increase as much.”
What was truly interesting was the interaction between the three traits, Mautz said.
“If you look at how penis size interacts with male height, it has a differential effect at the lower height sizes. Take the tall men — you get a really big impact (in attractiveness) of how large your penis is relative to your height.
“An increase in penis size if you’re of average height does influence your attractiveness. It doesn’t do quite as much as it does at the upper end of the height spectrum.
“If you’re short, it doesn’t matter what size your penis is.”
Statistically, 185-cm tall men get about twice the boost in attractiveness that their 165-cm friends do as length increases from six to 10 cm.
If that doesn’t seem fair, Mautz hastens to point out his study only considered three male traits.
Characteristics such as musculature — not to mention a pleasant smile or great hair — were not considered.
Still, he said, his results do suggest that male gentalia factor into sexual selection and are therefore subject to evolutionary pressure.
“It shows that females can exert a choice and influence genital evolution, which is a relatively understudied area.”
His conclusions also have considerable intrinsic interest.
“You’re my first interview,” Mautz told The Canadian Press. “I’m watching emails roll into my account as we speak.”
More than 200 battle with lightsabres
Wielding hundreds of red, green and blue lightsabres, students at the University of Ottawa ran into battle Thursday night. The first official lightsabre battle brought out about 200 participants to just outside the university library. The event mimicked an annual battle in New York.
Jozef Spiteri, a vice-president at the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa (SFUO), said he met the organizers of the NYC event at the North by Northeast festival in Toronto and decided to bring the idea to Ottawa.
Spiteri’s term ends this month. He always wanted a Star Wars-themed party, so it was now or never. “I thought it was a cool closing statement,” he said.
Accused killer participated in sex worker survey
Researchers from the University of Ottawa are trying to prevent the Crown from getting their hands on a six-year-old interview with Luka Rocco Magnotta.
Lawyers representing the academics argued in Quebec Superior Court on Wednesday the interview with a subject known under the pseudonym “Jimmy” should be kept confidential.
The lawyers say Magnotta participated in the study as part of a survey of sex workers under the condition his interview would remain confidential. Magnotta’s lawyers, who have supported the researchers’ motion, filed an affidavit confirming that later Wednesday.
Montreal police want a copy of the interview for evidence they’re still gathering against Magnotta.
The 30-year-old is charged with first-degree murder in the slaying and dismemberment of Chinese engineering student Jun Lin.
Police came to know about the interview after a research assistant, Adam McLeod, told them about it following Magnotta’s arrest last year. McLeod told authorities “Jimmy” was in fact Magnotta.
Ottawa student leader harassed ex-girlfriends
Calls for Cody Boast’s resignation from the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa (SFUO) Board of Administration poured in after students learned this week that he pleaded guilty to criminal harassment. A Facebook group called Cody Boast doesn’t represent me has gained 140 likes already. I’m one of those who clicked ‘like.’
Boast’s case goes back to 2008, when he first got charged with harassment. Since then he’s breached the terms of his probation and repeated the offense twice. According to the Ottawa Citizen’s report, the victims were Boast’s ex-girlfriends. They were subjected to constant calls, text messages and confrontations. One of the girls had nude photos of her posted on Facebook.
In February, Boast ran to sit on the Board of Administration and won his position as a representative of social science students on campus. He became increasingly visible when he wore pink to a gay pride event at a university bar. He was asked to change, his outfit deemed that offensive.
What students are talking about today (March 15th)
1. At a University of Ottawa Campus Pride event last week, a heterosexual man was told by a former vice-president student affairs of the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa that he was wearing too much pink and that he must change his clothes. Cody Boast, a third-year political science student, says he showed up to support the GLBTQ friends when Amy Hammett, the former student politician, approached him. Boast told The Fulcrum Hammet likened it to “dressing up like Bob Marley at a Black History Month event,” and forced him to change. Kate Hudson, the current SFUO vice-president student affairs told The Fulcrum his pink clothes, feather boa and flute, “gave the impression that he was mocking the event.” I don’t see why they think it’s their job to police people’s clothes. Boast is welcome at my pride party this summer wearing whatever he likes.
2. “The University of Waterloo is investigating after an anti-abortion Conservative MP was blocked from delivering a lecture Wednesday night by protesters led by a man dressed as a giant vagina,” reports National Post. You can’t make this stuff up. Stephen Woodworth only made it a third of the way through his talk before it was cancelled. A representative of the university said that the MP will be invited back. What might he have said that was so dangerous? Woodworth believes life begins at conception, not birth. He tried to have Parliament study the definition of the words ‘human being,’ last year, but his motion got 91 votes, though from some high-profile MPs, like Status of Women Minister Rona Ambrose and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney supported it.
Study calls for national energy strategy
A new study found that Canadian energy companies are factoring higher carbon-related costs in their investment, planning, and technology decisions.
The study, prepared by the Ottawa-based think-tank Sustainable Prosperity, found the companies are using a self-imposed, internal carbon price as they plan for the future, suggesting they’re anticipating a day when carbon tax or cap-and-trade systems are more widespread.
Without a clear sense of the country’s energy strategy, companies are creating their own carbon price to make long-term strategic planning and investment decisions, said Alex Wood, a senior director at Sustainable Prosperity.
“At some future point, there will be a price on carbon,” he said.
“What they are doing is essentially anticipating that and they’re factoring that into their decisions and so are addressing that risk.”
University of Ottawa hosts a “hackathon”
Fuelled by energy drinks and pizza, future engineers from the University of Ottawa spent 24 hours one recent Saturday hunched over keyboards for the campus’ first-ever ‘hackathon.’
Student Antoine Grondin organized what he said was the first event of its kind at U of O.“I was frustrated that people in my class don’t tend to code on their own,” he said, adding that he wanted to make people who enjoy coding realize “they don’t have to wait for an assignment.”
More than 20 students participated in the contest during which teams of up to four tried to out-code the others. Each team got a programmable tank, an animated robot that drove around the computer screen. The tank could be customized by adding more code to do things like dodge bullets, drive in patterns or change colours. After the 24 hour period was up, the tanks competed on a virtual battlefield. The last one standing was the winner. Students had to predict opponents’ moves and tell their tanks how to react.
What students are talking about today (February 1st)
1. Nothing gets students more riled up than when you try to curb unhealthy binge drinking. The University of Ottawa proposed banning shots and limiting beer pitchers to groups of three people or more, but is reconsidering after a backlash from students. Anne-Marie Roy, spokesperson of the Student Federation at the University, told CBC News that the bars they run on campus are safe for students and that such restrictions would hurt revenues. (Not to mention the fact that students would probably just go somewhere else if they wanted shots or pitchers anyway.) Speaking of drinking, a new study shows that too much alcohol leads to Type 2 diabetes in rats. Just saying.
2. The federal Liberal leadership candidates are touring campuses. Justin Trudeau spoke at Brandon University in Manitoba on Thursday where he talked about broadening the party’s support and creating jobs. Marc Garneau was at the University of Prince Edward Island earlier this week where he told The Cadre he would help solve joblessness through a tax credit to employers who hire young people and capital gains exemptions for angel investors who invest in a start-ups.