Summer news in review

Better than a Happy Meal toy

The University of Calgary offered its first “i” class this spring, where lectures were delivered by podcast, allowing students to download audio files of lectures to play on their computer or MP3 player.

Students also got a free iPod for signing up.

U of C Students’ Union vice-president academic Shannon O’Connor said she was pleased that the university is increasing students’ options, but cautioned against technology replacing face-to-face teaching.

“Professors can decide how [the podcasts] are implemented, whether they’re in addition to their lectures, or replacing them,” said O’Connor. “My concern is if they are used as a replacement to lectures.”

The class was intended as a trial run, with the possibility of more classes being added in the fall.

Regulated tuition policy by fall

The provincial government announced Bill 40 on May 8, which moved tuition policy out of legislature and into regulation.

The Tories claimed it a necessary move to give students a new tuition policy by fall 2006, while critics claimed Bill 40 threatens democracy by giving the government unregulated power.

“The calendars for universities and colleges have to be ready in January,” said Advanced Education minister Denis Herard. “If there isn’t a fall sitting we may not be able to pass a new policy until fall 2008.”

Both the U of C Students’ Union and opposition members claimed the bill could lead to deregulated tuition down the road.

“This is scary because it eliminates the system of checks and balances,” said SU president Emily Wyatt.

U of C honours fallen soldier

The University of Calgary honoured Captain Nichola Goddard, daughter of U of C associate dean of education Tim Goddard. Nichola Goddard was killed in combat May 17 about 25 kilometers west of Kandahar, Afghanistan.

The U of C set up a memorial scholarship in Goddard’s name, to which the federal government committed $25,000.

University signs $40 million deal with Xerox

The U of C signed a deal with Xerox at the end of May to contract out university printing services. The deal was worth $40 million.

The university plans to work with Xerox to create a system to save and send documents electronically. This will reduce the need for actual printing and will save space on campus, according to Xerox representative Glyn Davies.

Two Alberta Union of Provincial Employee members lost their jobs in the process.

Maclean’s Denied

The U of C–along with 23 other Canadian universities–refused to participate in a Maclean’s magazine survey, which hit stands June 19.

The universities claimed the survey, which asked graduates to rate their experiences, used inaccurate research methods.

“The data are four years out of date since they were published,” said U of C vice-president external relations Roman Cooney. “In the last few years we’ve put millions of dollars into the undergraduate experience.”

Maclean’s managing editor of special projects Tony Keller disagreed, noting the magazine wanted to provide a comprehensive and accurate guide for potential students.

The U of C provided information from their own internal student surveys for publication in the University Student Issue, but did so only under duress, according to Keller.

An eye on the Middle East

In June, the Gauntlet interviewed British journalist and middle-eastern political expert Robert Fisk. Fisk is best known as one of only a few Westerners to have interviewed Osama Bin Laden.

“All guerilla wars are different, but what is in common is that if you go and occupy somebody else’s land–especially if they’re of a different society, culture, religion–you are going to get really badly thumped,” said Fisk of the current state of affairs in Iraq. “And that’s what’s happening.”

Fisk gave a public lecture at the U of C June 8.

Tuition freeze here to stay

The results of a year-long post-secondary education review were released June 8.

The A Learning Alberta Report recommends rolling back tuition to 2004 levels and tying all future increases to the rate of inflation.There are also recommended changes to the student loan system that would allow students to earn more money and take out more loans.

NUTV gets NUoffices

Campus television station NUVT officially moved into their new space on the recently redeveloped third floor of MacEwan Student Centre in June.

“We’re all very excited about the new space,” said NUTV producer and program director Tinu Sinha. “We’ve been in a temporary space for four years now, and it’s nice to finally be here.”

U of C bombs student survey

The Maclean’s University Student Issue hit stands June 19 and the University of Calgary ended up at or near the bottom of every category.

U of C VP external relations Roman Cooney said the data in the survey was used inappropriately and did not provide an accurate reflection of the undergraduate experience.

“We didn’t expect Maclean’s to create a survey that would accurately capture the things we’ve done over the last three to four years,” said Cooney. “Every major university but two declined to participate. This isn’t just an issue of U of C versus Maclean’s.”

Talking Peace: IPRA 2006

The U of C hosted the International Peace Research Association Conference over the July long-weekend, bringing together delegates from around the world to discuss peace.

Featured speakers at the bi-annual conference included retired lieutenant general Romeo Dallaire, Dr. David Suzuki and Martin Luther King III.

Students fear safety of urban campus

Late night classes in downtown Calgary mean some students are concerned for their safety.

Beginning in the fall semester, the U of C will host select creative writing classes downtown at 134 11 Ave. S.E. The classes end at 10 p.m., and creative writing professor Nicole Markotic said she will encourage her students to walk in groups to the train station or vehicles when class lets out.

Campus Security said they will do everything possible to ensure the downtown campus is safe.

“Campus Security will continue to be ultimately responsible and accountable for facilitating a safe and secure learning environment for students, staff and visitors at all university sites,” said Campus Security manager Lanny Fritz.

Women’s centre finds a home

Women on campus will have a safe space to gather by mid-October.

The Campus Women’s Resource Centre is one of 40 spaces around campus under renovation as part of the university’s Take Your Place project.

U of C environmental design students Livia Antalikova and Georgia Houston were chosen to design the space, which will be housed in the former Chaplain’s Centre on the third floor of MacEwan Student Centre.

Calgarians call for peace

Thousands of Calgarians took to the streets on July 21 to protest the Isreal-Lebanon conflict.

“We’re out here to give an opportunity for people affected to have a safe place to voice their objections,” said Canada, Democracy and International Law director Julie Hrdlicka, one of the main organizers of the protest. “It’s great to see this many people out in Calgary, but there should be even more. This affects us all.”

Student aid a “time bomb”

The current Canadian student aid system is an unsustainable time-bomb, according to a report released by the Educational Policy Institute in July.

The report calls for increased government focus on targeted grants, rather than lowering tuition for all students. The report maintains that lowering tuition benefits wealthy students only.

Student leaders said the report misses the bigger picture.

“At the end of the day average student debt is over $30,000,” said Canadian Alliance of Student Associations president Phillippe Ouellette. “This is a reality targeted assistance isn’t going to address. Because the cost of education is so high, students leave post-secondary education with an insurmountable amount of debt.”

Death of the bulky monitor

All the computer monitors in the Information Commons were replaced with sleek new flat screen LCD monitors in late July.

The old computers were out-of-date and were relocated to other areas across campus, said Mary Westell, Information Resources assistant director for technology.

A Saul-om look at copyright

Well-known novelist, essayist, activist and philosopher John Ralston Saul showed off his public speaking skills at the U of C on Aug. 3.

Saul–the keynote speaker of the U of C Ethics, Creativity and Copyright Conference–discussed the impact of globalism oncopyright and the effects of copyright on free speech.

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