The Cord’s top news stories of the 2018-2019 year and the decade

Of the Year

1. Laurier “four-peats” in student satisfaction

For the fourth year in a row‭, ‬Wilfrid Laurier University was deemed the number one school in the country from the MacLean’s magazine rankings‭. ‬The school also held the sixth place ranking in the comprehensive category‭, ‬as well as the third spot in student services and fifth in faculty awards and social sciences and humanities grants‭. ‬The University of Guelph held the second place ranking behind Laurier‭, ‬but with many opportunities for growth with extra-curricular activity‭, ‬friendly faculty and staff and great residence life‭, ‬Laurier held on to the top spot once again‭.‬

2. Brantford turns 20

Laurier’s Brantford campus celebrated its 20‭ ‬year anniversary this year as the campus was officially started in the year 1999‭. ‬The celebration weekend hosted students‭, ‬faculty‭, ‬staff‭, ‬alumni‭, ‬family and friends as they celebrated two decades‭. ‬Laurier’s Brantford campus had gone under many changes in the year 2019‭ ‬with the closure of the William’s Caféa and the opening of the OneMarket building for added space for classes‭. ‬The celebration included a visit from the men’s basketball team from the Waterloo campus who played in a showcase for spectators in Brantford‭.‬

3. University Stadium Renovations

After an announcement that both the University of Waterloo and Laurier would be splitting a‭ $‬5‭ ‬million donation for upgrades in‭ ‬the department of athletics‭, ‬funded by the city of Waterloo‭, ‬UW estimated that the upgrades it wanted to instate was around‭ $‬23‭ ‬million‭, ‬while Laurier’s total reconstruction of University Stadium would cost over‭ $‬50‭ ‬million to renovate‭. ‬The stadium‭, ‬built in 1958‭, ‬has had multiple upgrades put in over the years‭. ‬The funding seeks to revamp the stadium into a multi-purpose facility for both Laurier and community athletics‭.‬

4. TAs Unionizing at Laurier

In October of 2019‭, ‬the emergence of a Facebook group titled‭ ‬“Wilfrid Laurier TAs United”‭ ‬revealed teaching assistants at Laurier’s intent to pursue unionization in order to improve their current working conditions‭. ‬As one of the few universities without a union for their TAs‭, ‬TAs at Laurier hoped to address ongoing issues which they have collectively faced‭, ‬such as increasing support and benefits‭, ‬going over-hours‭, ‬transparency within hiring‭, ‬wages and benefits through unionization‭. ‬They are continuing to pursue stronger‭, ‬more equitable wages and benefits‭.‬

5. Frosh Week up in Flames

On Sept‭. ‬2‭, ‬nearly 1,000‭ ‬people attended a street party on Ezra Avenue during frosh week‭, ‬a street infamous for gathering students and patrons from outside the university for events such as homecoming weekend or St‭. ‬Patrick’s Day‭. ‬Images of the street party flooded social media as new and non-students rowded the streets and mounted furniture to crowd‭ ‬surf‭, ‬ending in furniture being set on fire and emergency services breaking up the crowd‭. ‬A 17-year old student was charged with arson‭, ‬property damage and was later dismissed from the university‭.‬

Of the Decade

1. Lindsay Shepherd, Nov. 15, 2017

After showing a clip of a U of T professor‭, ‬Jordan Peterson‭, ‬in a first-year class‭, ‬teaching assistant and graduate student Lindsay Shepherd would become the centre of attention in the media about Laurier for the better part of a year‭. ‬Intended to show a neutral viewpoint of using‭ ‬“they”‭ ‬as a singular pronoun‭, ‬Shepherd claimed her character was attacked by professors and her faculty‭, ‬and what ensued would be a year of lawsuits‭, ‬controversial visits from public figures and the creation of the Laurier Society for Open Inquiry‭ (‬LSOI‭), ‬which‭ ‬would become defunct in 2018‭.‬

2. Veritas Shuts Down, Dec. 12, 2016

Laurier’s Graduate Students Association‭ (‬WLUGSA‭) ‬terminated it’s contract with Veritas Café after a job ad was posted describing the soon-to-be employee as a‭ ‬“new slave”‭ ‬The operator at the time‭, ‬Sandor Dosman‭, ‬claimed he had been given little and sudden notice of his termination from the GSA‭. ‬Veritas‭, ‬which had opened in 2012‭, ‬would close for the month while dealing with legal issues‭, ‬and would re-open in January of 2017‭ ‬under new management with Patrick McMahon running operations‭, ‬with the space opening once again in fall 2018‭ ‬with a brand new look‭.‬

3. Laurier ranks #1 in Student Satisfaction, Nov. 2, 2016

The 2016‭ ‬MacLean’s rankings of universities would put Laurier on the top of the list as it ranked first in student satisfaction‭, ‬as well as ranking ninth in the comprehensive category‭.  ‬Laurier would also receive the third-place ranking for prevention of sexual assault in‭ ‬the year of 2016‭. ‬The student satisfaction ranking was introduced in 2015‭ ‬for students to comment on their experiences in student life at their university and to indicate areas of growth‭. ‬Laurier would go on to win the number one spot for the next three years‭, ‬holding the spot for four years in a row‭.‬

4. Laurier introduces first-ever reading week, Oct. 29, 2014

The fall of 2014‭ ‬would see the first ever fall reading week at Laurier‭, ‬a pilot program that had been tossed around for years at‭ ‬the school‭. ‬Though many schools had implemented something similar‭, ‬many believed it would be beneficial for students to enjoy a‭ ‬break in the fall as well‭, ‬to catch up on readings and relax from school from a mental health viewpoint‭. ‬The timing of this break encouraged students to stay home with family‭, ‬travel or visit friends‭. ‬Five years later‭, ‬Laurier still implements a fall reading week‭, ‬and many other schools have followed suit‭.‬

5. St. Jacob’s burns down, Sept. 2, 2013

In the early morning of Sept‭. ‬2‭, ‬2013‭, ‬first responders arrived at the St‭. ‬Jacob’s Farmer’s Market to find the main building in flames‭. ‬45‭ ‬firefighters were on the scene trying to protect the building‭, ‬but by the time‭ ‬they arrived the roof had been fully engulfed in flames and the building was unable to be saved‭. ‬The building was a historic landmark for many in the region‭, ‬but over a year later‭, ‬the market would re-open the main building‭, ‬renovated to increase the availability of space for vendors by 20‭ ‬per cent‭. ‬The cost of the project totaled over‭ $‬5‭ ‬million‭.‬

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