News in brief

Montreal massacre memorial planned for Dec. 6

Dec. 6 will mark the 19th anniversary of the Montreal massacre, in which 14 female engineering students were killed at Montreal’s École Polytechnique by Marc Lépine, who claimed he was “fighting feminism.”

To remember the lives of those lost and honour the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, a memorial will be held in Wallace Hall in the JDUC on Dec. 6 at 3 p.m.

Organizer Maggie Brace said the first part of the memorial will consist of a talk by professor Jackie Davies, who will speak about violence against women in Aboriginal communities.

“She’s on a listserv of people who discuss the women who disappear that nobody notices in Aboriginal communities,” she said.

Brace said the second part of the memorial involves the rose ceremony, in which 14 female engineering students read blurbs about each of the 14 women killed in the Montreal Massacre. After reading the blurbs and placing the roses on the floor, there is a moment of silence.

“It’s quite somber and meant to make people reflect and really listen to who these women were and note that engineering females a lot of them were our age and we can draw comparisons between them and us.”

Brace said Queen’s has the highest female enrollment in engineering programs of any other university in Canada.

“In fourth year, over all of the different departments, 24 or 26 per cent female. Sci ’09 is a little higher than the other years. The others are closer to 22 to 23.”

—Jane Switzer

OUSA lobbies for accessible education

From Nov. 16 to 19, members of the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA) met with Members of Provincial Parliament (MPPs), Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities John Malloy and other politicians to advocate for accessible education at OUSA’s annual lobby conference in Toronto.

Academic Affairs Commissioner and OUSA representative Matthew Lombardi said OUSA focused on bringing reasonable goals to the conference this year.

“We’re in bad economic times, so we approached with moderate goals. A lot of the MPPs were impressed with how realistic they were,” he said. “They understand that through this tough economic situation we’re willing to work with the government and highlight post-secondary education as a fundamental building block to long-term poverty reduction.”

Lombardi said OUSA presented MPPs with three main ideas during the conference.

“We think the province can make improvement to post-secondary education without having to fund new initiatives because there is no money for education, or anything else, in the province right now,” he said. “Our first goal was how to allocate money in the system and shifting around grant money. The second is that the government has to deliver on all the Reaching Higher promises. The third is access and attainment to post-secondary education is a long-term plan to poverty reduction.”

Lombardi said the first short-term indication that OUSA’s lobbying was successful will be if post-secondary education as a strategy for poverty reduction is mentioned in MPP Deborah Matthews’ Poverty Reduction Plan, expected to be released in December.

Lombardi said the OUSA home office staff had meetings this week with politicians from Queen’s Park to follow up on contacts made at the conference. Additionally, the Academic Affairs Commission will be holding a forum on education on January 13.

—Jane Switzer

Construction quelled by the cold

With winter fast approaching, construction on Phase 1 of the Queen’s Centre will change gears over the coming months to focus on renovating the inside of the building.

Construction Director Jacques Sauve said snow and colder temperatures will diminish the pace of construction.

“Cold weather slows everything down a little bit,” he said.

Sauve said crews are working to enclose the building so that the inside can be heated to allow work on the interior to carry on during the winter.

Much of the current efforts are focused on buildings E and F, Sauve said.

“F is the pool building and E is where the gym and the squash courts and the exercise spaces are.”

Sauve said drywall is being installed and roof work is underway on building F, adding that workers have started pouring the foundations of building D, the future School of Kinesiology.

Sauve said the source of blasting which could be heard in the area recently was the excavations for building D.

Last year’s exceptional snowfalls put the project behind schedule, Sauve said, adding that much of 2008 was spent recovering the lost time.

“We spent a good part of the spring and summer and fall trying to get caught up.”

Sauve said the construction schedule varies by building, but that at one point it was behind by three or four weeks.

“We’re pretty much back on schedule.”

—Lauren Miles

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