All Posts Tagged With: "University of Western Ontario"
Instead of drinking, focus on the sex predators next door
Last month, hundreds paraded through the campus of the University of British Columbia to protest sexual violence, speciﬁcally six unsolved late-night outdoor attacks on female students since April. A hooded predator prowling dark grounds in search of coeds is a familiar conceit, one that informs how we think of sexual violence on campuses. Recently it was given airing in a Toronto Life story that claimed increased safety measures at Toronto’s York University, where women receive “rape whistles” at orientation, haven’t prevented campus grounds from being “a hunting ground for sexual predators.” (The school has taken legal action, claiming the article “presents a wholly distorted picture of women’s safety on the campus.”) Yet the UBC march to “Take Back the Night”—a rallying cry since the ’70s—bristled with more nuanced references to the reality of campus sexual assault, the vast majority of which are never reported nor easily framed in black-and-white terms. Signs held high connected the current attacks with entrenched “rape culture”—sexual violence being ignored, condoned and normalized, witnessed in the “rape chant” on the UBC campus in September. Other placards decried the RCMP reporting some UBC victims were wearing short skirts: “My little black dress does not mean yes,” read one.
UBC administration responded to concerns and fear with predictable reassurances. President Stephen Toope described the university as “one of the safest campuses in North America” and announced “unprecedented police and security measures to make sure students feel safe.”
Concern grows about English proficiency on campus
At 23, Dalhousie University student Ishika Sharma speaks with such self-assurance and optimism, it’s hard to imagine how lost she felt in September 2012, when she arrived in Halifax from New Delhi. She recalls those early weeks in the YMCA’s international-student residence as a bleak period of culture shock and loneliness. “Oh my god, the international student housing was a weepfest for the first two months,” she says. Gradually, the closed doors of her neighbours would open, if only to share late-night hot chocolate and a bit of sympathy.
Sharma was more fortunate than most. While she grew up speaking Hindi and Punjabi, she arrived with a solid command of English, the language she used in most of the undergraduate courses in physiotherapy she studied in India. “Many of the students who joined the university with me were not well-versed in English,” she says. “They had trouble getting along with people in English. They had trouble asking for help, and that was a big reason why they did not socialize enough.”
Research suggests vegetative patients are awake and aware
From the Maclean’s Rethink Issue
On Dec. 20, 1999, Scott Routley, 26, was leaving his grandfather’s house in Sarnia, Ont. His girlfriend was with him. Just a few blocks away, according to his mother, Anne, Routley’s car collided with a police cruiser. The police officer and Routley’s companion were taken to hospital with minor injuries. As for him, “he only had one injury,” she says. “The bump on his head.” That injury would prove devastating. Routley, who’d studied honours physics at the University of Waterloo and had a promising career in robotics, was diagnosed as being in what doctors term a persistent vegetative state: awake, but completely unaware of himself and his surroundings.
Anne Routley, who worked as a lab technologist, retired “the day of the accident,” she says. Her husband, Jim, a former banker and trucker, retired, too. They relocated to a one-storey bungalow outside London, Ont., where Scott could stay part-time. (He spent most days in a long-term care facility.) Despite his diagnosis, Jim and Anne believed that their son, who loved listening to music from The Phantom of the Opera and Les Misérables, was responding to them. “His face is expressive,” said Anne in early September. “He blinks. He does thumbs-up for positives.”
Western business schools scramble to set up overseas
For Dezsö Horváth, the dean of York University’s Schulich School of Business, there’s no small amount of irony in India’s recent decision to allow foreign universities to confer degrees in the South Asian country of 1.2 billion. The widely expected but long-delayed ruling came on Sept. 10—one week after Schulich planned to welcome the first wave of students to a brand-new, $100-million campus in Hyderabad. The ambitious project was put on hold last year after it became clear that the foreign universities bill, first proposed in 2010, would not be approved by this fall.
Horváth now predicts it will be mid-2014 before all the details are ironed out, meaning the earliest Schulich could open in Hyderabad would be two years from now. In the meantime, Schulich has forged a partnership with the philanthropic arm of India’s GMR Group, the infrastructure company that has agreed to build Schulich’s Indian campus. Under the temporary arrangement, students will spend a year studying in India before coming to Toronto to complete their degrees.
Medical schools address conflict-of-interest
When Toronto family doctor Navindra Persaud was studying medicine at the University of Toronto in 2004, he took a week-long course on how to treat patients suffering from chronic pain. But something was missing from the lessons.
While there was a growing body of evidence about the risks—addiction, overdose, death—related to opioids such as OxyContin, the negative effects were minimized. Instead, students learned about “strong, consistent” research to support prescribing the drugs to patients with chronic pain unrelated to cancer. Persaud says he and his peers left the lectures with an “incomplete and partially inaccurate” picture of how to treat patients.
At the time, he didn’t think there was anything wrong with the classes. Now he knows the lecturer had been previously paid to speak about pain management on behalf of Purdue Pharma LP, the makers of OxyContin. And the free textbook handed out to students? It was published by the drug company, as well. Just three years later, in 2007, Purdue paid more than $600 million, one of the biggest drug settlements in U.S. history, to resolve criminal charges and civil liabilities for misleading health care professionals about OxyContin’s addictive properties.
A graduate’s call for policies to discourage studying arts
“Well paid, never laid.” That was the mantra my freshman liberal arts class used to mock freshman engineering students in 2003. A decade later, I suspect the many minimum-wage earning baristas with liberal arts degrees, who live in their parents’ basements, are the ones not getting “laid.”
A 2011 survey of people who graduated from Ontario undergraduate programs in 2009 shows that liberal arts students earn far less income on average. While engineering graduates made an average of $60,383 two years after graduation, social science grads earned $42,593 and humanities grads earned $38,578.
Stirring half-milk mocha lattes and boomeranging back home is where many unfortunate philosophy, history, English and political science students like me ended up. For many of Generation Y’s university graduates, life in the low-wage service industry has led to an extended adolescence, with consequences that cry out for education policy reforms to lead youth toward the available jobs.
Ships vanished in the Arctic in 1845
A long-standing Arctic mystery has become even more baffling with research that appears to debunk a common theory about the demise of the Franklin expedition.
Chemists at the University of Western Ontario used an array of the latest analytic techniques to conclude that poorly made cans of food were probably not responsible for the lead that poisoned the officers and crew of the doomed 19th-century voyage to explore the Arctic.
“We’ll probably never know what happened to the crew of the Franklin (expedition), so it will remain one of the great mysteries of Canadian history,” said Prof. Ron Martin.
“Our resources fail to support the hypothesis that the lead in the bones came from tins, and I certainly believe it didn’t.”
The Franklin expedition headed north, never to return, in 1845. Although some remains of the 129 crew have been discovered, along with ghastly evidence of cannibalism, the two ships Erebus and Terror have never been found despite a century and a half of searching.
Their mystery and legend remain to this day.
Three graves of Franklin crew members discovered on Beechey Island were exhumed in 1984 and their corpses analyzed in an attempt to shed light on the disaster.
While diseases, including pneumonia and tuberculosis, are believed to have been the immediate causes of death, high levels of lead found in the sailors’ bones are thought to have weakened the men and clouded their judgment. Looking for a source of the lead, scientists concluded it probably came from the solder used to seal the cans of food in the ships’ stores.
Martin’s work, published in February in Applied Physics A, re-examined some of the bones using techniques developed since the original analysis. Martin and his colleagues concluded there was so much lead in the bones, and it was distributed so widely, that it couldn’t have accumulated during the few months the men were at sea before they died.
Nor did he find areas where lead was concentrated, as there would be if the potent toxin had only recently been ingested.
“The wide distribution and high concentrations of lead in the measured bones is indicative of long-term exposure before the start of the expedition,” says the paper.
“The lead distribution is essentially uniform as might be expected from lifetime lead ingestion. There is no evidence for a sudden massive increase in lead during the latter part of any individual’s life.”
Martin points out the sailors buried on Beechey Island had died only three months into the voyage. At that point in the expedition, the crew is unlikely to have even dug into the cans.
“They ate everything that was fresh first,” he said. “They wouldn’t have started on the tins yet.”
Martin said evidence — including early results from tests on bones from a pioneer cemetery outside London — suggests that high lead levels were common in those times.
“All the bones we looked at there, the lead levels would have been pretty much the same,” he said.
“In that time period, there was lead everywhere. They had lead coming out their ears.”
Martin’s work would also appear to exonerate other sources of lead that some researchers have proposed as a source, including the ship’s water system. Water pipes on Franklin’s vessels were made of lead.
Lead is toxic to the heart, bones, intestines, kidneys and reproductive and nervous systems. Symptoms of lead poisoning include confusion, which makes it an attractive explanation for some of the decisions made by Franklin and his crew after their ships were stuck in the ice, such as dragging heavy lifeboats over the tundra laden with non-essentials such as silverware.
Martin’s team concludes that if Franklin and his men were poisoned by lead, it probably began long before they set sail for what is now the Canadian Arctic.
The mystery, which has inspired Canadian artists from folksinger Stan Rogers to novelist Mordecai Richler, persists.
— By Bob Weber in Edmonton
The truth is more complicated than the stereotype
She’s the picture of privilege, the epitome of entitlement. She’s the girl you love to hate. She’s the “typical Western girl,” or TWG for short.
When I asked friends and fellow Twitter users to describe her, it seemed that everyone knew what I was talking about. They rattled off physical descriptions: blonde, pretty, and fond of Ugg boots, Lululemon yoga pants or Ray Bans.
Aside from the look, they told me what makes a TWG is her personality, behaviour and, most importantly, her financial background. She’s well-off to the point of being spoiled. She doesn’t care much about school. Primping and partying are her priorities. She’s everything a good teen movie villainess should be. She’s Regina George, the Queen Bee from Tina Fey’s flick Mean Girls and living in London, Ontario.
Scientists also reveal insights on brain training and aging
Today there’s fascinating news from Western University, where some of the world’s leading brain researchers say the largest-ever study of its kind has discredited the idea of measuring intelligence by standardized IQ tests. From the release:
The findings from the landmark study, which included more than 100,000 participants, were published today in the journal Neuron. The article, “Fractionating human intelligence,” was written by Adrian M. Owen and Adam Hampshire from Western’s Brain and Mind Institute (London, Canada) and Roger Highfield, Director of External Affairs, Science Museum Group (London, U.K).
Utilizing an online study open to anyone, anywhere in the world, the researchers asked respondents to complete 12 cognitive tests tapping memory, reasoning, attention and planning abilities, as well as a survey about their background and lifestyle habits.
Writer Roy MacGregor on his days at Laurentian U.
The 2013 Maclean’s University Rankings asked some of Canada’s most successful writers, politicians and scientists what they wish they’d known in university. Their answers are perfect additions to our First Year Survivor blog. Here, writer Roy MacGregor shares his antics and wisdom.
I attended Laurentian University in Sudbury, leaving a four-year honours program in political science after three years with a general B.A. I chose Laurentian because it would take me—a six-year high-school grad with a 66 per cent average. Also, a friend was going and he had a car. I honestly never expected to last beyond Christmas, let alone end up with a degree—failing Grade 12 with 33 per cent doesn’t instill a lot of confidence—but I can honestly say I found university far easier than high school. Soon enough I was in love with both Laurentian and the city of Sudbury. The North of this country is indeed magical, but the near North has its own magic as well.
It was 1967, a time of huge student unrest. In the U.S. they were marching against the Vietnam War. We held a massive student protest march in Sudbury. There were riot police out but we showed stunning solidarity, walking around the streets near city hall chanting “WE WANT A PUB! WE WANT A PUB!” as if it were the most important thing in the world. The ’60s didn’t reach Laurentian until the ’70s. But we loved our time there. Classes were small. The residences were like family. Professors were approachable.
A photographic tour of the campus in London, Ont.
This fall, Maclean’s photographed 24 of the 49 institutions featured in the 2013 Maclean’s University Rankings. Below, Jessica Darmanin shows you around Western University. Click on each photo to make it larger. Then check out the other 23 galleries by clicking here.
Campus fashion from Western University
Western University students know how to accessorize. Some keep it subtle—a scarf here, a crown of flowers there. Others aren’t afraid to wear Mustang purple from head-to-toe. Jessica Darmanin went to London, Ont. on homecoming weekend to snap these stylish students. To see what students are wearing at other universities, click here. Since she can’t make it to every campus, why not show us your fall fashion? Tweet your photo to @maconcampus or post it on our Facebook wall.
A beginner’s guide to master-level sustainability programs
Many will tell you that they have their M.E.S., but pay close attention because those three letters can mean master of environment and sustainability or master of environmental studies, by which they likely don’t mean master of environmental science, which tends to be denoted by the letters M.Sc. Adding to the confusion are programs with a special focus, such as business, IT or energy. Even degrees with the same name can be very different, so it’s best to research each one. Here’s a sampling to get you started:
Master of Environment and Sustainability (M.E.S.)
University of Western Ontario, London, Ont.
This is a one-year interdisciplinary program that is course-based. Students get an overview of management, ecosystems and engineering before doing co-op terms at government agencies, consulting firms and at companies like Magna and Bank of Nova Scotia. Most graduates go straight to industry.
They should never have signed the agreements
Luke Simcoe is a guest blogger. He will be contributing the occasional post on web culture, the various kooks and cranks who inhabit the Internet, as well as copyright matters.
Between them, the University of Toronto and the University of Western Ontario possess a sizeable portion of Canada’s brain trust. Yet somehow, the two institutions recently agreed to a copyright deal so dumb that one observer accused them of a “complete capitulation to an important battle over the costs and parameters of access to knowledge in Canadian post-secondary institutions.”
Research shows links to mental illness, lung capacity
When sociologist and drug-policy expert Andy Hathaway surveyed one of his first-year classes at the University of Guelph last fall, 80 per cent of students reported experience with cannabis.
Hathaway cautions that it was only a small pilot study (around 100 responses), and it took place at Guelph, which is, let’s face it, “a bit granola.”
Still, that 80 per cent figure isn’t surprising.
When twelfth graders are asked if they’ve tried marijuana, roughly half say yes.
Provincial rates of lifetime usage now range from a low of 40 per cent of Albertan twelfth-graders to a high of 63 per cent of those in Nova Scotia, according to the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse. And that’s before university.
Why they got rid of the University of Western Ontario
There ‘s much fuss among alumni over the news that Western is changing its name, for most day-to-day purposes, to Western. Or Western University. Or Western University Canada.
What it won’t call itself, in colloquial use, is the University of Western Ontario. That remains the place’s legal name, but it won’t be the name Western travels with.
This is all causing a certain amount of consternation among people with a link to Western and, I think it’s fair to say, to people who follow branding exercises with a certain healthy amount of skepticism. Objections I heard this morning include:
1. This is dumb. Everyone calls it Western already.
2. This is dumb. It’s in Eastern Canada.
3. This is dumb. It’s in Southern Ontario.
To me, it’s not as dumb, but its cleverness takes a bit of explaining. Continue reading That’s Western University to you
The naming of sports teams is now fraught with peril
One of the best running gags in the TV show Community is that Greendale College’s teams are called “The Human Beings”—an absurdly bland moniker designed to insulate the school from complaints and controversy—the sort of complaints levied periodically against the Cleveland Indians or the Washington Redskins.
The fictional school’s feckless Dean might have a point, though, because naming sports teams, at schools especially, is now fraught with peril.
This danger was underscored last week when Utah’s Corner Canyon High School had to do away with its team name “Cougars.” The term, which, in some circles has come to mean an older woman sexually interested in younger men, was the subject of complaints. Canyon teams will now be “The Chargers.”
Student filmmaker questioned by police for online teaser
A University of Western Ontario student and his filmmaker friend have created a raunchy comedy series—and university officials aren’t amused.
It’s easy to see why. The trailer for 3 Audrey features multiple references to Western interspersed with jokes about a mother’s vagina, breast implants and excessive amounts of liquor.
3 Audrey is a six-part scripted series named for the house where a group of fictional Western students welcome a Carleton transfer student, Tommy Noble, into their oft-partying family.
It was co-written by Western media student Dave Provost and his 21-year-old director friend Miguel Barbosa, who is not a student at the school. Barbosa is part of YEAH! Films, a collective that plans to sell product placements in YouTube based viral videos. Provost took part in order to launch his acting and writing career, he says.
Researchers say meteorites fell over Selwyn, Ont.
Astronomers from the University of Western Ontario released a rare video Wednesday of a meteor falling from the sky just east of Toronto.
The footage was captured just after 6 p.m. on Monday evening by six video surveillance cameras belonging to Western’s Southern Ontario Meteor Network. The basketball-sized meteor was first spotted over Lake Erie and moved toward the north-northeast ending just south of the town of Selwyn, Ont., according to a news released from the university. Researchers say it likely sprinkled small meteorites over the area east of Selwyn near the eastern side of Upper Stony Lake.
Peter Brown, the director of Western’s Centre for Planetary and Space Exploration, says the occurrence is rare—only about a dozen meteorite falls have had their orbits measured by cameras. That’s why researchers at Western and the Royal Ontario Museum are interested in hearing from anyone who may witnessed or recorded the event or has found fallen meteorite fragments.
“Finding a meteorite from a fireball captured by video is equivalent to a planetary sample return mission,” Brown said in the news release. “We know where the object comes from in our solar system and can study it in the lab.”
Did you see the meteor? Contact Kimberly Tait at firstname.lastname@example.org
Follows accidental death of Calgary teen who took pills
A 23-year-old University of Western Ontario student who attended a concert in Guelph on Nov. 23 died of an apparent reaction to ecstasy pills, reports the Guelph Mercury. The Sarnia, Ont. native was taken to a Guelph hospital at 2:30 a.m. and died of organ failure on Nov. 26 in Kitchener.
Last week, a 16-year-old in Calgary died after taking what appears to have been ecstasy.
The drug most commonly sold as ecstacy is MDMA (3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine), which floods users with euphoria and a sense of empathy. MDMA itself rarely causes sudden death. However, the brightly-coloured pills sold as ecstasy come from drug labs where they’re sometimes laced with more deadly drugs. U.K. Professor David Nutt published a study in the Journal of Psychopharmacology in 2009 that suggested the risk of death from ecstasy use is similar to the risk of death from horseback riding.