X-Canada Campus Briefs

Mount Allison University

A commerce class at Mount Allison University has found that males and females spend $1,200 and $600 a year on alcohol respectively.

“This survey is a very good snapshot of alcohol [consumption] at Mount Allison and other North American universities,” said Kris Trotter, a Mount Allison counsellor, citing a nation-wide survey by University of Western Ontario psychologist Louis Gliksman that showed similar levels of alcohol consumption throughout Canada.

A survey by the class also found that students at the university drink between 24 and 49 drinks per month, which concerned counsellors like Trotter who are worried about binge drinking, which is defined as the consumption of over four drinks per session for women and five for men.

The survey also indicated that 43 per cent of students believe the university isn’t doing enough to educate students about the effects of binge drinking, prompting the university’s student services to step up an awareness campaign about the effects of binge drinking for both.

The survey results come on the heels of a decision by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to pay $4.75-million and endow a scholarship in a settlement with the family of a freshman who died of alcohol poisoning at a 1997 fraternity initiation.

—With files from The Argosy

University of Saskatchewan

All of last year’s classics faculty have now moved to the history department, giving classics what Dr. Burnell, the former head of the Classics department has deemed “a shadowy existence.”

The loss of a department as old as the university itself was saddening, Burnell said, “not so much that it was necessary for the change, but that the circumstances were such that the change was necessitated.” Forced to look at the options for “a future for classics that was still reasonably rich and vital,” Burnell said it was realized that merging with another department would “enable us to proceed in new directions.” He also noted that “hardly any students, perhaps one per year,” have graduated from the classics degree program in recent years, although there was significant interest in the area of general classical studies at the introductory level.

It was this low level of graduates that “helped precipitate this crisis in the first place,” said Burnell. “The problem is deeply rooted in the way things have developed in the past 20 to 30 years in this province. Students have not been properly exposed to this subject in high school.”

Dr. Kevin Corrigan, director of a new interdisciplinary program involving Classics, felt the loss of departmental status was “more a product of chronic underfunding” over the past ten to 15 years than student interest. “Every single area of the university is hurting. In order to establish real excellence, you have to be prepared to put everything out.” Corrigan noted that the lack of graduates was partly job-driven, but added that “if you had more faculty members, you have a much better chance of encouraging students.”

“Student interests change over decades of time. We must look at the overall picture. If students are shifting their interests, over time, we must shift the resources.”

—With files from The Sheaf

Ryerson Polytechnic University

Ryerson administrators are thinking about getting legal advice after a survey ranked the university as the most expensive in the country to attend. The survey, released last month by University Scholarships of Canada, a non-profit organization specializing in registered education savings plans, said a Ryerson student spends $12,929 a year on tuition, books and living expenses. But Ryerson says the survey is wrong. Ryerson’s totals were inflated, Registrar Keith Alnwick said, because in an effort to be transparent, his office gave USC the price of more expensive engineering programs along with the standard fees the surveyors had asked for. The more expensive figures were included in the USC’s total.

Alnwick said that because of the error, he asked USC to recalculate Ryerson’s unenviable standing and change the totals posted on its website.

USC’s marketing manager Lara Hunter said Ryerson misunderstood the request for information on expenses, and although her organization will mention the discrepancy in all future talks with the media, it won’t change its website.

“If we change the numbers from Ryerson we have to re-average everything,” said Hunter, adding the process would take too long. “Because [Ryerson] provided that information, we included it,” Hunter said. She did, however, say that because of the error, her organization will check its totals with each university before publishing next year’s results.

—With files from The Eyeopener

Trent University

The decision as to whether Trent University’s downtown colleges will be consolidated on the main suburban campus now rests in the hands of three Ontario Divisional Court judges, following a year-long battle between the Board of Governors and the faculty. The judicial review, which began last week, will determine whether or not the board of governors’ decision to consolidate the university on its suburban campus and close its downtown colleges will be upheld. The board decision was taken in November of 1999, just three days after Trent’s senate had voted against any sale or closure of its colleges.

According to John Laskin, senior counsel for Trent’s faculty, the case is based on the Trent University Act, which gives the senate exclusive authority over the educational policy of the university. “Closing the downtown colleges will have a profound impact on that policy.”

The plan to consolidate the campus is part of a capital development strategy approved and supported by Trent President Bonnie Patterson. Patterson has stated that the plans were approved in order to meet the deadline for applying for Ontario Superbuild Funds.

—With files from the CAUT Bulletin

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