All Posts Tagged With: "Western University"
Wait for better transit to campus keeps getting longer
In the Western Gazette this week, writer Mary Ann Ciosk describes a scene that plays out hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of times a year in university towns across Canada:
“I check the time again—the bus is now 20 minutes late, and I have three minutes remaining before my class starts… Finally, a low mechanical growl can be heard in the distance, and around the corner appears our salvation, the 2 Dundas! But as the bus approaches, a new horror sets in. The 2 does not slow as it draws near the stop, but speeds past us with its cargo of disgruntled students tightly packed together—the bus is full.”
The issue of full buses making students late has long captured the imagination of campus news editors and student leaders. This fall is no exception. University of Lethbridge students pushed for better transit at a recent mayoral candidates debate. The Carleton University Students’ Association recently met with Ottawa transit officials to tell them too many students are getting passed up. In Victoria, B.C., post-secondary students held up signs on a street corner protesting poor service.
Nonetheless, in some cities at least, the wait for a better ride to campus just keeps got longer.
Cheerleader ticketed for cheering on homecoming weekend
When members of Western’s cheerleading team launched a member into the air on their way to the football game this weekend against Queen’s, their attempt to boost school spirit during homecoming was rewarded with a $140 fine. London Police deemed the demonstration “a nuisance” and ticketed head cheerleader Max Gow.
The team’s coach told the London Free Press he and Gow plan to fight the ticket. That won’t surprise anyone. What will is that this fine was just one of 270 issued during Saturday’s celebration. The number might seem high to outsiders but students here are used to the annual ticketing blitz know as “Project LEARN” (Liquor Enforcement and Reduction of Noise), when party, noise and litter bylaws are strictly enforced for the first month of classes. Many students, myself included, think the campaign targets us unfairly.
University apologizes but Classified says he won’tCanadian rapper Classified—hired as a safe-choice replacement for American rapper Sean Kingston, who was facing a charge of rape until last week—joked about rape during his performance on Saturday night at Western University, according to some on Twitter. This prompted apologies from the student’s council and the school but not the performer, who Tweeted that he didn’t endorse rape. What’s clear is that he endorsed other bad behaviours like drinking.
Here’s one of the critical Tweets:
Essentially classified just told my frosh to get hammered, smoke weed all night, drop out of school and commit rape. Like get off the stage.
— Julia Orchard (@juliaorchard) September 8, 2013
The USC apologized swiftly. President Patrick Whelan said he did not hear the rape comment.
The comments expressed on stage tonight do not reflect that of the orientation program at western, sexual assault is never a joke.
— USC of Western U (@western_usc) September 8, 2013
The University released astatement that stopped short of referencing sexual assault:
“The University Students’ Council (USC) and Western regret the actions of and commentary made by the artist Classified Saturday night on stage at the Orientation Week concert. Both groups felt the performance did not reflect the mission, values and messages of the Orientation Program.”
The rapper admitted to the jokes about substance use but not about sexual assault.
But yes I did rap about weed. Liquor and partying. I won't apologize for that.
— Classified (@classified) September 8, 2013
Many Tweeted in defence of the rapper and said his words were taken out of context.
Give it up for people who quote others out of context. Clear sarcasm about something @classified clearly did not support. Come on.
— Samik Doshi (@samik_doshi) September 8, 2013
This follows two other controversies where sexual assault was joked about during 2013 orientation week events. Last week a video went viral showing orientation leaders at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax shouting a cheer that included the words, “N… is for no consent.” It was quickly condemned and the student president resigned.
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.
Papers across Canada cut back on print editions
Canadian student newspapers have been hit hard by the same decline in print advertising that’s hurt many newspapers in recent years and that means big changes are coming this fall to how students will be able to access news and gossip on errant student unions, varsity sports and study drugs.
Queen’s University’s Journal said this week that it will cut down on print editions from two weekly to one, although it’s keeping the same number of staff and adding a weekly digital edition.
“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 connect through Potter clubs and classes
Two summers ago when Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 arrived at the cinema in Ancaster, Ont., Stephanie Kesler took the day off work and lined up for 12 hours to make sure she got a good seat. Afterward, Kesler, now 23, says she felt “a little bit sad.” Growing up she had eagerly anticipated each of J.K. Rowling’s books and films. “That was my whole childhood.”
But last semester, the third-year English student at Western University in London, Ont., realized that the end of the series didn’t mean saying goodbye. In her children’s literature course, Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban was on the syllabus.
For her class assignment, Kesler presented to her peers on the symbolism of Rowling’s Dementors, dark creatures that suck the life out of people, and the Patronus Charm, the only thing that can fight them off. She likened the Dementors to depression and the Patronas to overcoming it through positive thinking.
Not far away at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ont., dozens of wizarding fans had a similar idea. Emma Morrison, a third-year Medieval Studies and Religion major, had started a chapter of The Harry Potter Alliance, a global network of campus and community clubs where Potter fans jointly work for social justice. The Laurier chapter’s first big project focused on Dementors and depression. After a social media campaign promoting awareness of mental health services on campus, the group held a Yule Ball (a Hogwarts-inspired formal) during February mid-terms. “We wanted to have something fun to allow people to let loose in their time of stress,” she says. More than 220 showed up for butter beer and dancing.
Professor Gabrielle Ceraldi, who teaches children’s literature at Western, is unsurprised by the focus on the Dementors. “Emotional states in the series are always represented through magic,” she says. Hogwarts, the school for witches and wizards, is bewildering, much like university, she points out. “The staircases never stay in the same place from one period of class to the next.”
Educators have bigger things to worry about
Students looking to spill secrets about crushes or amusing campus escapades have a new outlet on Facebook. “Confessions” pages that post anonymous messages have been popping up at universities, colleges and high schools from Lakehead University to the University of Regina to Western University and as far away as Australia’s University of Adelaide.
The pages are being criticized by educators, who see them potentially leading to cyberbullying if the anonymity is broken. I don’t think they should worry. I think they’re fun, harmless and the risk of names getting out seems low. For the most part, these pages are a much-needed outlet for those wanting to vent or laugh, rather than viciously attack each other. Officials shouldn’t be so worried.
Confessions pages are reminiscent of Post Secret, a popular website that does the same thing. Both allow students to say things they wouldn’t post on personal pages or Twitter. The difference is that confessions pages are specific to certain schools, which may be why they’re getting scrutiny.
What students are talking about today (April 16th)
1. Canadian Business has published its annual 50 Best Jobs list, which is based on 2012 median pay, past growth and projected growth. The list includes some obvious titles—number one is ‘oil & gas drilling supervisor” and there are also three types of engineers in the top 10 alone. But there are also some less obvious jobs in the top 50, like dental hygienists, 18th on the list and with an average salary of $70,000 last year. In addition to the best jobs, CB also offers lists of worst jobs and the top 10 jobs by projected demand in 2020.
2. McGill University is considering shutting two libraries to deal with budget cuts. The Faculty of Education’s Library and the Life Sciences Library, used by medical students, could be merged with another library. “We have to consider everything,” Dean of Libraries Colleen Cook told CBC. A Facebook page titled Save the McGill Life Sciences Library from closure has 1,487 likes.
What students are talking about today (April 12th)
1. The city council of Kingston, Ont. has been accused of disregarding university students as it redraws electoral boundaries. Council voted that three of the 13 municipal electoral districts near Queen’s University will be merged into two, which means students will be represented by fewer councilors. This is despite a staff report that recommended taking into account the student population, which the city knows exists, even though they’re unlikely to be counted in official tallies that require voters to register themselves. Queen’s Alma Mater Society has expressed disappointment. “The AMS is dismayed by the attitudes that many of the Councillors expressed at the meeting, which reflected an aggressively anti-student attitude that is all too familiar—one which the AMS has been working for a decade to eradicate.”
2. A McGill University professor allegedly harassed a Muslim student from Cairo, an accusation that spread on social media and resulted in protesters chanting, “Hey, hey. Ho, Ho. Racist professors have to go,” outside of his lecture, reports the Gazette. The protest followed a Global News report that included an audio recording student Amr El-Orabi secretly made during a conversation with professor Gary Dunphy before El-Orabi quit school and returned to Egypt. In the recording, Dunphy accuses El-Orabi of cyber-stalking, refers to both the student’s God and his own God in unkind terms, and says, “don’t think for a minute that your culture is the be all and end all.” When El-Orabi asks,”is there anything else that you want from me now?,” Dunphy responds, “your death.”
What students are talking about today (April 11th)
1. Legally Blonde, the film starring Reese Withersoon as a California girl who conquers Harvard Law School, is now officially a classic. Most of today’s undergraduates would have been too young to watch it back in 2001, but they’ve apparently downloaded it somewhere. This spring there have been successful stage productions on campuses from Trent University to Western University. The Neptune Theatre in Halifax is staging it from now until May 26th. Saint Mary’s University’s Journal gives it a good review.
2. This week may be the last chance students get to gather and protest recent provincial budget cuts to universities before they disperse for the summer. Approximately 300 people marched on the Alberta legislature on Wednesday to protest a 7.3 per cent cut there, reports The Edmonton Journal. Students also protested on the other side of the country in St. John’s, Newfoundland, reports The Telegram.
3. Dr. Donna Cave, Director of Wellness Services at the University of Alberta, has a weekly advice column for readers of The Gateway student newspaper. I suggest checking it out this week’s submission. She offers scientifically sound (and hilarious) advice for acing your exams. In case you don’t have time to read it, here’s a summary. As little as 20 minutes of exercise daily reduces anxiety and depression, so hit the gym. Sleep deprivation can cause as much impairment as being drunk, so avoid the all-nighters. Oh, and eat properly or your brain won’t work so good.
4. A new Mexican Barbie has offended some Latin American professors in the U.S. She’s “dressed for a fabulous fiesta in her vibrant pink dress with ruffles, lace and brightly coloured ribbon accent,” according to toymaker Mattel. The pet Chihuhua—and passport—are also raising eyebrows. Jason Ruiz, an American studies professor at Notre Dame University, told ABC that passports are a point of “great sensitivity for people of Mexican origin, especially Mexican immigrants.”
5. Medical students at the University of Alberta have released a Disney-themed musical video—not a Lip Dub but something original that they actually wrote and performed. With their notorious workload, it’s amazing they found the time. Then again, there’s a reason they got in. Check it out:
What students are talking about today (March 20th)
1. Students at the University of British Columbia celebrated cycling culture with electronic music and glow sticks at the UBC Bike Rave on Friday night. It was organized by student residence advisors and was funded by a community grant. Unlike the drug-fuelled all-night parties of the 1990s that inspired the bike rave, this one was, according to The Ubyssey, “good clean fun.”
2. A student writing in The Varsity at the University of Toronto reports that the stress seminar she attended is a sorry excuse for counseling. “I had hoped that this “Coping with Stress” workshop, run by U of T’s Counselling and Psychological Services (CAPS) would help me, but instead it left me frustrated and angry,” writes Amanda Greer. “After a hard first semester, I approached CAPS about meeting with a counsellor. I was told there was a four month waiting list and to start looking for other options.” She points out that despite much discussion about the mental wellness of Canadian students, including in a recent cover story in Maclean’s, students often can’t access the one-on-one counselling. It’s a shame, but I think the explanation is obvious: tight budgets.
What students are talking about today (March 14th)
1. Here’s a reminder of how student governments in the United States have much different concerns than our own. The student congress of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill recently changed the rules to make it harder for campus gun clubs to use student money to buy ammunition, reports Mother Jones. Following high-profile mass shootings on campuses, a number of states have passed laws preventing concealed guns on campus. More controversially, others, like Colorado and Utah, have laws that require colleges to allow concealed weapons.
2. Student newspapers across Canada, from The Argosy at Mount Allison University in New Brunswick to The Meliorist at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta are publishing odes to St. Patrick, whose holiday for Irish Canadians and those who drink too much is coming up on Sunday. Meanwhile, Western University, in the town that hosted the famous St. Patty’s Day Riot last March, is offering some tips. Some are no brainers, like, have a plan of how you’ll get home (transit? taxi?) and don’t leave drinks unattended. More interesting are the reminders from Campus Police that keg parties are illegal, that drinking underage can lead to $125 tickets and that London’s new Nuisance Party Bylaw means rowdy hosts can face $500 fines. The lesson? Go to someone else’s party.
What students are talking about today (March 11th)
1. Groups of students from more than two dozen universities in Canada are participating in 5 Days for the Homeless, a fundraiser for which students started five nights of outdoor sleeping on Sunday. The initiative has raised nearly $1 million since starting in 2008 at the University of Alberta, according to its website. Different student groups are supporting different charities. Queen’s University students are raising money for the Kingston Youth Shelter, which provides food, shelter and other aid for those aged 16 to 24.
2. Here’s another indication of how gloomy the job market is for new teachers. A task force set up to explore ways to restructure the Bachelor of Education program at the University of Toronto’s Ontario Institute for Studies in Education has recommended eliminating undergraduate teacher training altogether. The one-year program will need to change regardless as all teacher training in Ontario must be two-years long by 2014. The Varsity stresses this is only one of several proposals.
3. Students at Dalhousie University who want advice picking a career have to wait up to two months for appointments. There aren’t enough counsellors to meet the demand and it’s unlikely any will be hired. The Dalhousie Career Counselling Centre, “asks for more money every year, as does every university department that’s ever existed, and they never get it,” reports the Dalhousie Gazette. Access to career counselling is a problem that certainly isn’t limited to Dal.
4. There was a “high-risk takedown” at the University of Waterloo on Saturday, reports The Record, “and although a semi-automatic rifle, a box of ammunition and a Frankenstein mask were all found in the suspect’s car, officers said a 25-year-old Waterloo man facing several charges didn’t intend any harm.” The man was pulled over in his truck at the university two hours after reports of shots in a rural area. He told police it was target practice and the mask was a coincidence. Police apparently believed him, since he was released after being charged, reports The Record.
5. The Gazette at Western University has investigated the use of the ADD/ADHD drug Adderall by students looking for an edge while studying. This story is nothing new. Vivien Chang investigated this in February. Still, reporter Julian Uzielli does a good job summarizing the issues and points out that, surprisingly, it’s not considered cheating to illegally use concentration-boosting pills.
Meanwhile, Shire Canada, the pharmaceutical company that makes Adderall, is being lauded for a new scholarship for students with Adult ADD/ADHD. Scholarship recipients will get $1,500 for tuition and a year’s worth of ADHD coaching. Call me cynical, but this is a transparent marketing ploy. Included in their press release is the claim that approximately 1.5 million adult Canadians are living with ADHD. Imagine that: 1.5 million potential customers!
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.
What students are talking about today (March 6th)
1. The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration is investigating Frontier Airlines after a group of students did the Harlem Shake mid-flight. One of them said a flight attendant gave them permission. Meanwhile, in Tunisia, the Islamist education minister has condemned a fairly PG-rated version by students there. You may recall that the self-immolation of Mohamed Bouazizi, a 26-year old Tunisian street vendor, inspired the Arab Spring revolutions. After overthrowing their long-time president, Tunisia now has an Islamist government and the more moderate opposition leader was recently shot dead. Speaking of dangerous Harlem Shakes, the right-wing rabble-rouser Ezra Levant did one on Sun TV’s website. He even managed to get at least three young people to do it with him. The Albatross offers it in GIF form. No word yet on what the Islamists think of Levant’s gyrating, but I bet they don’t like it.
2. A student at Lakehead University is holding a “sit-in” outside the presidents’ office because a full course in Aboriginal Studies has been replaced by a partial course in the new law program. “I’ve lost a bit of weight, and certainly I think all of our grades have suffered a little bit at this point, but y’know, until there’s a resolution of the issue, there’s no question, I’m not leaving,” Sebastian Murdoch-Gibson told CBC News. The law school’s dean is defending the changes. Wouldn’t the dean know best what kind of education law students need?
Elections bring music videos, apps, streaming & more
Student elections are underway across the country. Increasingly, student politicians are turning to social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to get their messages out. On top of that, in an attempt to attract more students to polling stations, those who administer campus elections have also taken advantage of these tools. Here are five innovative examples from 2013:
1. YouTube music video. At Western University, Ashley McGuire, Blake Barkley and Jordan Sojnocki teamed up to run for the University Students’ Council executive. Along with a sleek campaign website and a detailed platform, the trio created a music video and uploaded it to YouTube. What’s impressive is that, since posting it on Jan. 28, the video has received 10,500 views. However, members of Team McGuire were not successful in their election bids.
2. iPhone app. Team Whelan (Patrick Whelan, Amir Eftekharpour and Sam Krishnapillai) ran against Ashley McGuire’s team at Western University. This team’s electoral victories may have been aided by their iPhone app. I tested it on my iPod Touch 4G. To my surprise, it ran flawlessly. Under the Get Involved tab, users are able to join the team’s mailing list, suggest an idea and become a volunteer. The team’s platform is also easily accessible via the app.
3. The QR Code. When campus election season comes along, buildings are plastered with posters. So how are student politicians attracting students to their websites? Simple! They’re incorporating Quick Response (QR) codes to their posters that make it easy to access their sites without even having to type in a URL. Apps such as ScanLife, QR Code Scanner and Optiscan use one’s phone camera to scan a two-dimensional barcode. Once scanned, the app brings users to the site. Sarah Lavers, Kelsey Marr and Anastasia Smallwood all ran for president in the recent University of Prince Edward Island Student Union election and incorporated QR codes. Smallwood came first.*
4. Blogs. Platforms such as Blogger and WordPress allow users to create blogs free of charge. Student politicians have seized the opportunity to communicate directly with their electorates. Candidates like Caroline Wong, who ran for and won the position of president in the University of British Columbia Alma Mater Society elections, used WordPress to create her campaign website.
5. Video streaming and recording. When organizing all-candidate debates, election officials will never accommodate every student’s schedule. In an attempt to make these debates as accessible as possible, election officials have taken to live streaming and/or filming the debates and posting the videos to YouTube. Free video live streaming websites such as USTREAMand Livestream allow anybody with a video camera or an iPhone to stream free of charge. The Argosy, Mount Alison University’s student newspaper, posted videos of candidate speeches to its YouTube account.
Brandon Clim studies political science at the University of Ottawa. Follow him @climbrandon.
*Due to an error in editing, this post incorrectly stated that Lavers came first and Marr came second in the UPEISU election. In fact, Smallwood came first, followed by Lavers and Marr.
Mark Goldszmidt earns 3M National Teaching Fellowship
Mark Goldszmidt, a professor at the Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry at Western University, is a 3M National Teaching Fellowship recipient for 2013. Maclean’s On Campus is profiling all 10 in the coming weeks.
In 1999, when Mark Goldszmidt was a postgraduate medical student at Western, he took a one-day course on teaching with Dr. Wayne Weston. “At the end of the workshop he stuck around,” says Weston, an emeritus professor of family medicine, “and had a lot of insightful questions and suggestions.”
It was the beginning of more than a decade of collaboration between the two, and a classic Goldszmidt move. “I always see the gaps, and the ways it could be better,” says Goldszmidt, an associate professor of medicine who teaches a spectrum of students, from undergraduates to faculty. He has revamped other classes, created new ones, and when he saw a bigger need for innovation in medical education, he helped found the Centre for Education Research & Innovation.
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.
What students are talking about today (February 8th)
1. The Gazette student newspaper at Western University published an editorial this week on a new Harry Potter course that will be offered this fall. They came to the conclusion that it will not be a bird course. “Some may say authors such as Shakespeare, Hemingway and Joyce provide the reader with a much deeper, denser text…. while Harry Potter’s journey through Hogwarts is just too simplistic.” But they added, “Who’s to say there is not deeper meaning in Harry Potter? With adult themes such as challenging authority, self-sacrifice, tolerance and genocide, these books following the Boy who Lived should not be pushed aside as ‘just for children.’” However, proving that many students still need to improve their basic reading skills, the paper faced a backlash from those who took the headline “Harry Potter and the Bird Course?” to mean “Harry Potter is a bird course.” Editor Gloria Dickie responded with a second editorial reiterating that the editorial board does not see it as a bird course.