Canada in brief; March 23, 2011

Students pulled out of Japan

VANCOUVER (CUP) — The University of British Columbia (UBC) decided to send 19 students from what the Canadian government has deemed level three and four risk areas in Japan back home in urgency.

Elsa Chanez, a student who was on exchange at Sophia University in Tokyo, said it is hard to watch the news in Tokyo and wonder if the decision they made was too rash.

Janet Teasdale, senior director of student development and services at UBC, recommended on Mar. 17 to require UBC students to return home under a policy that gives the university the right to remove students from high risk areas overseas.

Students that were taking advantage of Japan’s mid-semester break to travel throughout Asia were asked to remain where they are and not to return to Japan.

For students who were going to start their second semester in Japan in April, it means a semester of classes will be lost.

—Micki Cowan, the Ubyssey

Quebec to increase tuition fees, university funding

MONTREAL (CUP) — Tuition fees in Quebec, currently the lowest in Canada, will increase by $325 a year over five years, beginning in fall 2012.

The announcement came as part of Quebec’s provincial budget, which was tabled on Mar. 17. With the increase, tuition fees in the province will go from $2,168 a year for a full-time student to $3,793.

Quebec Finance Minister Raymond Bachand says that the figure is more than 30 per cent lower than the 2010 average in the rest of Canada. The budget also includes increased funding for student aid, which will rise with tuition. In 2017, there will be an additional $118 million for student bursaries.

According to Bachand, increased tuition, government funding and donations will give Quebec’s universities an additional $850 million in 2016-17.

University administrators have welcomed the budget.

—Jacob Serebrin, Quebec Bureau Chief

TA faces Facebook blunder

TORONTO (CUP) — A York University tutorial assistant (TA) is under investigation after comments deemed unprofessional were posted to her Facebook page concerning the academic level of her students.

Bianca Baggiarini posted comments to her Facebook status on Feb. 22 disparaging the intelligence of her students. The comments were removed on Mar. 10.

Carlos Casasola, a student from the tutorial, was completely caught off guard by the remarks. Other students from the course, who wished to remain anonymous, were also surprised by the words.

The department of sociology is currently examining the situation.
Nancy Mandell, professor and chair of the department of sociology, expressed disappointment in the circumstances.

Whether an apology will be issued to students in the course from the department of sociology or from Baggiarini is still in question.

—Victoria Alarcon, Excalibur