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McGill students occupy administration building

MONTREAL—ON FEB. 7, students at McGill University occupied the James Administration Building to protest the university administration’s decision to invalidate the results of the fall 2011 referenda for the existence of campus radio station CKUT and the campus Quebec Public Interest Research Group.

An initial group of about 20 students who occupied deputy provost Morton Mendelson’s office on the sixth floor to throw him a “surprise resignation party” were joined in the early afternoon by about 60 students and faculty who occupied the lobby.

The students demanded recognition of the referenda and Mendelson’s immediate resignation. They have refused to speak with administrators except to negotiate for the fulfillment of their demands.

—Eddy Roué

Quebec’s tuition fee increases will have ‘significant impact’ on women

MONTREAL (CUP)—WOMEN STAND TO lose with upcoming provincial tuition increases, warned academics at Concordia University’s Simone de Beauvoir Institute (SDBI) this week.

Quebec undergraduates, who currently pay the least of all Canadian students, will see an extra $1,625 added to their tuition fees over the next five years as increases are slated to start in fall 2012.

The Quebec government has had a consistent message for students: Consider your education an investment that you will pay off later. But an SDBI student said that this will be tough for women.

“This amount of money will be more expensive for a woman than for her male colleagues, because women on average still earn 71 cents to a man’s dollar,” suggested Gabrielle Bouchard. “So whether you want to reimburse your loans or [pay] your tuition, it’s going to take you longer.”

The increases will “solidify” the challenges facing women, said Bouchard, who spoke at a press conference on Feb. 8.

—Sarah Deshines, CUP Quebec Bureau Chief


University of Guelph considers three-year degrees and changes to transfer credits

GUELPH, Ont. (CUP)—ACCELERATED THREE-YEAR DEGREES could be seen at the University of Guelph, as a working group is currently in the early stages of studying their feasibility.

The potential three-year bachelor degrees would be equivalent to the current four-year degree, with the possibility of adding another year to gain a master’s degree in four years. The research group looking into the idea, made up of members of faculty, students, and administration, will study the practicality of bringing the three-year degrees to U of G.

Three-year degrees are widely accepted in many other countries, including the United States, where universities like Georgia Southwestern State University, Arcadia University, and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro all have established three-year degrees, and a growing number of universities are introducing the accelerated programs.

They are also common in European countries, which agreed to harmonize their education policies under the Bologna Process. In Canada, though, outside of select universities like Athabasca, three-year degrees are unknown.

—Lee Richardson, CUP Ontario Bureau Chief


Syphilis rates on the rise in New Brunswick

FREDERICTON (CUP)—THE NUMBER OF syphilis cases is rising in the province, according to a New Brunswick Public Health coordinator. The Student Health Centre at the University of New Brunswick is also dealing with a number of new cases.

Karen Wilson, communicable disease coordinator with New Brunswick Public Health, says the province is currently in outbreak mode for syphilis. Wilson says an outbreak is a term used when rates are significantly higher than normal. Between 2010 and 2011, syphilis rates almost doubled among people aged 20 to 24.

The data from Public Health is preliminary and unpublished, retrieved from the system in October 2011.

Syphilis progresses through four stages, and symptoms of this infection may include a sore on the genital area, rashes or red spots on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet, hair loss, fever and sore throat, and muscle and joint aches. Syphilis is curable through a penicillin injection.

—Alanah Duffy, the Brunswickan