In-depth: religious freedom on Canadian campuses

The issue of religious freedom has come to the forefront in recent years, particularly on university campuses. Bill 62, a new Quebec law that bans receiving or providing public services while wearing the niqab, a face veil a minority of Muslim women wear, has some students reconsidering pursuing a post-secondary degree in the province. This comes on top of multiple instances of Islamophobia at universities, with anti-Muslim posters being put up at schools such as the ones found at Memorial University’s Newfoundland campus last month. In addition, an Ottawa teen was recently sentenced to three months in the youth justice system after vandalizing two synagogues, a Jewish prayer house, a mosque, and a church with racist slurs and white supremacist symbols […]

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Islamophobic posters found at Memorial University

Posters deemed to be hate-filled and Islamophobic were found on Memorial University’s Newfoundland campus (MUN) earlier this month, according to CBC. Samantha Andrews, a marine biology PhD student at MUN, said she saw one of the posters and removed it. “I was surprised at first, these things are not common here, but it’s common in Europe because of the rhetoric about immigration and Brexit,” she said. Andrews said she was confused about whether it was free speech or hate speech. But, after reading what was written, she said she knew that it was hate speech because she encountered familiar Islamophobic language outside Canada. “I was concerned about Muslim students seeing it and facing something like that. I was also concerned […]

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Blanket of hope: students knit blanket to support refugees

Through the power of art, textile arts students at Memorial University’s Grenfell campus are helping to bring Syrian refugee families to Corner Brook, Newfoundland. A massive blanket made of individual colourful knitted squares—created by the students—was sold to raise money for the Refugee Support Group, a local community organization working to support and sponsor refugees coming to the area. The blanket was originally the idea of Barb Hunt, a visual arts professor at the university. Over the past several years, Hunt has been teaching students to knit, creating small knitted squares as a practice project. Having accumulated many squares from previous students, she said the plan was always to sew them together and make a blanket. After voting, the class decided […]

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University of Manitoba slate borrows branding, platform points from One Carleton

The name and some platform points of the winning slate in the University of Manitoba Students’ Union (UMSU) election earlier this month shared a resemblance to the winning slate of the recent Carleton University Students’ Association (CUSA) election. Similar to the “One Carleton” slate in the CUSA election, the “One UMSU” slate at the University of Manitoba (U of M) won every executive position in the UMSU election, all while sharing some of One Carleton’s branding and campaign promises. According to The Manitoban, the U of M’s student paper, One UMSU promised nap pods in the school’s University Centre and to create more student jobs—both promises One Carleton made during their 2017 campaign. One UMSU promised to work with Winnipeg […]

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Health Canada considers banning smoking on campuses

The federal government is considering a new anti-tobacco policy that could ban smoking on post-secondary school campuses. In addition to a smoking ban, new guidelines would see the legal age for buying tobacco products raised to 21. According to a discussion paper published by Health Canada on Feb. 22, approximately 15 per cent of Canada’s population uses tobacco products—or an estimated four million people. The new proposal aims to reduce tobacco use to less than five per cent by 2035. Each post-secondary school already has its own smoking policy, with variations of smoking bans dependent on the province in which they reside in. Carleton University’s policy prohibits smoking within 10 meters of any entrance or exit of all buildings, as […]

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