The Varsity looks into independence of student papers across Canada

The University of Toronto’s campus newspaper, The Varsity, recently published an article about the level of independence of several major university campus newspapers from their student unions. Specifically, the article looked at the campus newspapers of McMaster University, the University of British Columbia (UBC), the University of Western Ontario (UWO), and Queen’s University, with their respective publications being The Silhouette, The Ubyssey, The Gazette, and The Queen’s Journal. In 1994, the editors of The Ubyssey were fired for publishing a full-page satirical advertisement that criticized the university’s student government, the Alma Mater Society (AMS), according to The Varsity article. According to the article, the AMS then replaced the editors with AMS members, which did not last as a call for a […]

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Letter: The CFS undermines student democracy

Not only is the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) painfully ineffective, politically divisive, and self-motivated—they may also be subverting the democratic will of students across the country. A recent article from the University of Toronto’s student newspaper The Varsity outlined allegations of CFS interference in student union elections. Former CFS national chairperson, Bilan Arte, is accused of allegedly using CFS resources improperly to support a failed bid for president of the University of Manitoba Students’ Union. She denies the allegations. There are other allegations from various student unions that pro-CFS student union slates at the University of Toronto, Dalhousie University, and Selkirk College received direct CFS assistance in their student campaigns. These are only the reported cases. There could be […]

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Free speech on campus: an in-depth look

The topic of free speech on university campuses continues to provoke debate and criticism in the wake of recent on-campus incidents.  One incident saw Carleton University President Roseann Runte coming under scrutiny in January, after an email titled “A Reflection for 2017” was sent out to students to promote the principle of free speech. The email was sent following various protests on campus in the fall semester. The email appeared to call campus protesters “noisy persons” who “fail to recognize [that] by preventing their duly-elected representatives to carry out their mandate, they themselves are contravening the basic principle of a civil society.” Samiha Rayeda, the volunteer, outreach, and programming coordinator for Carleton’s Ontario Public Interest Research Group (OPIRG), said the term […]

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Universities promoting courses in lesser-known languages

As the world becomes increasingly more interconnected, learning a second language can seem practical for many looking to get ahead and take advantage of unique opportunities. While statistics from the British Council place Mandarin and Spanish as the most commonly spoken languages worldwide, many Canadian universities have taken to offering and promoting classes in an increasing number of lesser-known languages. The University of Toronto (U of T) began offering a course to students in January on the dead Ethiopian language of Ge’ez. The language course is the first step towards the university’s future Ethiopian studies program. According to the Varsity, the program has received over $100,000 in donations from community members to aid in its creation. Robert Holmstedt, professor of […]

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U of T students’ union, CUSA support leaving the CFS

Executive members of the University of Toronto Students’ Union (UTSU) released a statement on Jan. 24 supporting leaving—or defederating from—the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS). The statement was released two days after the end of the CFS-Ontario annual general meeting, and was signed by four members of the UTSU executive committee, including president Jasmine Wong Denike.        “Continued membership of the Canadian Federation of Students is something that we, as executives, can no longer support,” the statement reads. “We still believe in a progressive, national student movement, but the CFS as an organization is beyond reform.” The CFS was founded at Carleton in 1981, and lobbies the provincial and federal governments to support student issues, in addition to […]

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