Most discussed in campus 2015
Five of the biggest stories in 2015 that happened on campus
After an eventful month of campaigning, debates and speeches, Olivia Matthews won the title of Wilfrid Laurier University Students’ Union president for the 2015-16 fiscal year.
Running against candidates Frank Cirinna and Dave Patterson, who later withdrew from the race, Matthews was victorious with an impressive 72.74 per cent of the vote.
Although Matthews had the highest vote total for a president-elect at Laurier, student turnout for voting was 24.2 per cent, a decrease from the 25.57 per cent turnout for the 2014-15 election. Laurier’s Brantford campus also had a reason to celebrate — a third of the Students’ Union board of directors were Brantford students, the highest ever. Since becoming president, Matthews has advocated for students both in and out of the Laurier community.
Staff jobs eliminated
On March 10, students and faculty were enraged to find out 22 jobs were removed from Laurier’s support and staff management, representing two per cent of the school’s budget. According to an email sent out to the Laurier community, there was a reduction in faculty positions as a result of a voluntary retirement program, as well as the number of teaching assignments and courses available to contract academic staff.
On the same day, enraged faculty and staff came to the Concourse to voice their opinions on the matter. Afterwards, students occupied the Students’ Union office to voice their concerns, where both groups met to talk about the cuts. In the weeks after, university administration and Laurier students met to discuss the budget cuts and its influence on the community.
This past summer, Justice Elliot Allen criticized Laurier for their handling of a 2013 case, in which a former Laurier student sexually assaulted a female student in her dorm room.
The perpetrator, Adam Hughes, was allowed to continue his studies while facing allegations until he was sentenced to 18 months in jail and three years probation. In early June the university released two statements saying they were sure the perpetrator would have no contact with the survivor while continuing to study and asserted support was extended to her. It was learned Hughes continued his studies at Laurier for 28 months between the crime and his conviction. Since then, there have been many ongoing committees and associations to demolish sexual violence, including the Gendered Violence Task Force.
No one could have predicted the debate to end all debates at Wilfrid Laurier University would involve statues of former prime ministers.
On June 30, the university unveiled a statue of Prime Minister John A. Macdonald, the projected first of the 22 statues, which received negative and positive feedback from Laurier students, staff and faculty. Since the unveiling, two petitions were created as a response —“Stop the Statues Project” and “Continue the Statues Project.”
In October, the university Senate voted to recommend a cancellation of the project, leading to more debates on the outcome of the statues. On November 5, president Max Blouw created the special advisory committee to come up with a recommendation on how the project should move forward.
After a post threatening the Science building was uploaded to the site 4Chan.org on Oct. 16 at 6 a.m., the FBI and Crime Stoppers alerted the Waterloo Regional Police Service and Special Constable Services to lockdown the university.
The post featured an image of a frog holding a gun, which said, “Don’t go to laurier science building hall tomorrow. happening thread will be posted in the morning.”
After much investigation, the lockdown was lifted at 11:30 a.m. the same day. With the help of the RCMP, the university confirmed police would continue to investigate the anonymous threat.
The next day, Daniel Ransem, a UK resident with no affiliation to the university, was confirmed as the poster and later confessed he wrote the post as an “inside running joke.”