X-Canada Campus Briefs


After a long bitter strike that began in early June, part-time U of T Bookstore workers and U of T Press, the bookstore’s owners, have finally reached an agreement.

“We didn’t give up,” said Medhi Kouhestaninejad, CUPE 3261 president. “We got about 1000 letters of support and e-mails,” he said referring not only to the university community, but public figures such as writers Noam Chomsky and Margaret Atwood, and former CAW president Bob White.

Workers will be given a two percent raise this year, and a second two percent raise next year. Currently, part time employees at the bookstore are earning $7.35 an hour. The deal will be up in October 2001. The union and management also negotiated a $50 signing bonus and language for a better grievance procedure, job security and seniority.

The deal was reached on August 26, after three hours of bargaining, and ratified August 29 with 71 percent in favour of the deal.

According to Senior Vice-President Administration at U of T Press Katherine Bennett, the strike did not effect sales much during the summer, despite the boycott of the store by professors.

—The Varsity


The identification of the first gene linked to a complex disorder called Bardet-Biedl Syndrome (BBS) could provide clues to health problems in the general population, including weight gain, diabetes, kidney disease, loss of vision, and learning difficulties.

In the September issue of the scientific journal Nature Genetics, an international team of investigators from Memorial University in Newfoundland, Simon Fraser University, B.C., Baylor College of Medicine in Houston Texas, and University College London in England report the identification of the first of at least seven genes responsible for BBS.

BBS affects people around the world but it is more common in Newfoundland. Clinical studies of BBS families have been conducted at Memorial University’s Faculty of Medicine since the 1980s to characterize the medical features of BBS. It was research on these Newfoundland families with BBS that led to the discovery of a gene that causes this disorder.

—Simon Fraser University Public Relations


At a press conference on August 24th at the York University Stadium, York University President Dr. Lorna Marsden, Director of Sport and Recreation Patricia Murray and Vice President of Sport and Athletes, Toronto 2008 Olympic Bid (TO-Bid) Curtis Hibbert announced that York University would host water polo and soccer Olympic competitions if Toronto is selected to host the 2008 Summer Olympic Games.

“Toronto 2008 is a youth- and athlete-driven bid, and this partnership with York University reinforces our commitment to building a lasting legacy for amateur sports,” said Mr. Hibbart, a former Olympian and World Champion gymnast. “York will provide an ideal multi-sports venue and showcase a world-class academic institution.”

From her office in Ottawa, the Hon. Sheila Copps, Minister of Canadian Heritage stated, “York University boasts an excellent athletics program and facilities. Through partnerships like these, Toronto 2008 is working to ensure that all Canadians will have access to the Games and its legacy.”

—York University Public Relations


Ravenous raccoons, birds, deer and other wildlife are eating their way through Ontario farms to the tune of about $41-million a year, but farmers still have a strong appreciation for wildlife and consider much of the loss “the price of doing business,” a groundbreaking University of Guelph study has found.

The study, headed by Prof Kim Rollins, Department of Agricultural Economics and Business, is the first ever to put a price tag on wildlife damage to Ontario’s field crop, fruit vegetable, beef and sheep farms. It reports that wildlife damage exceeds $33 million annually, and farmers are spending an additional $7.5 million trying to keep critters at bay. Farmers are also reporting that wildlife caused losses to crops and livestock have increased over the past five years.

—University of Guelph Public Relations


UNB and St. Thomas students arriving to attend classes in Fredericton this Fall may have a difficult time finding suitable accommodations.

The vacancy rate in Fredericton has fallen to the lowest rate of any municipality in the Atlantic provinces and sits in sixth place among urban centres across Canada, according to a survey by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CHMC). With a 1.5 percent vacancy rate, analysts with CHMC say the Fredericton market is considered under-supplied. “This is very low. It’s the lowest in terms of New Brunswick and it’s low in terms of a balanced market — between three and four percent,” said Ben Champoux, Acting Market Analyst for New Brunswick with CHMC.

“If it is under three percent, the market is currently under-supplied,” he said.

—The Brunswickan

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