Multiball V - 22 Mar 2010

Record number of Brits studying in States

The UK Independent**reports** that a record number of British students are studying at American universities. The Fulbright Commission says 8,701 British students studied in the United States during the 2008-9 year; an increase of 4 per cent from the previous year.

Ann Coulter not welcome by SFUO

The Student Federation of the University of Ottawa doesn’t want Ann Coulter to speak on their campus Tuesday. Seamus Wolfe, president of the undergraduate student union, tells the Ottawa Citizen:

**“There is an interesting line between what is free speech and what is hate speech.”
“As difficult as it is to navigate that boundary, Ann Coulter has a history of hate speech and we wouldn’t invite somebody who spreads hate to come to our campus.”

Mr. Wolfe is correct, there is an “interesting” line what constitutes free speech and what constitutes hate speech. There is an even finer distinction between bigoted, wrong, distasteful, or unpopular speech and true hate speech. The use of the term hate speech must be reserved for the most disgusted, reprehensible, and dangerous speech. By using the word liberally, Mr. Wolfe gives cover to those who truly engage in hate speech by watering down the definition of hate speech.

Personally, I find Ms. Coulter to be distasteful and her rhetoric to be inflammatory. She is a creation of smart marketing and Mr. Wolfe played right into her marketing campaign by trying to stop her from speaking. Ms. Coulter will draw a larger crowd at uOttawa due to the controversy that Mr. Wolfe’s actions have created. Her speech will attract a large media presence and spread beyond the wall of the Marion Hall lecture theatre in which she will speak. Ms. Coulter has already won the victory she sought by speaking the shadow of Parliament Hill; she will return to America and play to her base by stating she went to “Canuckistan” and defended their draconian censors.

As for Mr. Wolfe, he’ll receive the victory he seeks. Much like Ms. Coulter, Mr. Wolfe likes to play to his base on the far-left. Ms. Coulter is sure to attack Mr. Wolfe in her speech Tuesday and to accuse him of being a socialist censor (or something along those lines). Mr. Wolfe will be able to take this attack and use it to increase his stature among those that form his base.

Concordia’s left-leaning paper runs full-page editorial to counter CFS claims

****The Link, the more left-leaning of the two campus-wide student newspapers at Concordia University, took the unusual step of running a full-page editorial last week to counter accusations leveled against the paper by the Canadian Federation of Students in $700 full-page advertisement ran on the opposing page. (For legal reasons to protect myself, I must state that the Canadian Federation of Students – Services could be the responsible party for the ad.) Students are currently voting on continued membership in Canada’s largest student lobbying organization.

McMaster president Peter George takes responsibility for trying to hide $99,999/yr payout

*The Hamilton Spectator *devoted most of it’s Weekend Reader section to McMaster University president Peter George’s upcoming retirement after 45 years at the university, including the last 15 years as president. The article was a superb piece of journalism which guided readers through Dr. George’s time at McMaster and gave the reader a window into the man behind the office. Most newsworthy from the article was Dr. George’s first public statement about his $99,999 a year for 14 years golden handshake. Dr. George stated the decision to spread his retirement payout over 14 years at one dollar under mandatory disclosure was the most foolish decision of his presidency:

“I take full responsibility for the stupidity of converting my post-retirement allowances into a figure that was seen quite clearly as an attempt to avoid public disclosure.”

I believe this decision will be the biggest stain on his legacy, a legacy that history will smile upon. Dr. George deserves credit for honestly acknowledging his error.

Pay freeze for administrators at UManitoba

My home university, the University of Manitoba, has imposed a pay freeze for its administrators and senior academics. The University of Manitoba does not top-up administrative pay with “performance bonuses” meaning the freeze is hard and not semantics.

Students complain about lack of power outlets at McMaster libraries

McMaster University librarian Jeff Trzeciak talks about library use statistics at the university. It’s an interesting read which notes trends in how students are using the library system.

Do university politics discourage suicidal students from seeking help?

Mary Beth Marklein, USA Today‘s higher education reporter, has an interesting post on her blog discussing the policies of American universities on student suicides attempts and if some of these policies deter students from seeking help.

Can you live on $7.50/day for food?

The Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance has been bringing attention to one of the absurdities of Ontario’s student loan formula by having four students live under the $7.50/day meal allowance formula used by OSAP. The Queen’s Journal and The Brock Press both covered the students at their school participating in the challenge: Sarah Baker at Queen’s and Rachel Crane at Brock.

$10-mil donation for UVic biz school

The University of Victoria’s faculty of business received a $10-million donation last week from Peter Gustavson.

UToronto – Scarborough students vote in favour of $30-mil ancillary fee

Students at the University of Toronto Scarborough campus have voted in favour of contributing $30-million towards a new aquatics centre on the campus which will be used for the PAN-AM games in 2015.