CSA lawsuit empties the pockets of students

Dear CSA Board:

I recently came upon a Facebook event notifying me that the CSA is planning to collaborate with the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) to sue the University of Guelph using a secret motion that students have not been informed about.

[Facebook event  link here –Ed.]

The motion is as follows:

BIRT, the CSA pursue a joint application with the CFS against the University regarding the collection of CFS membership fees, BIFRT, the joint application seek court orders for the university to:
1. Remit the CFS membership fees collected in trust to the CSA,

2. Resume the collection of CFS membership fees immediately, and

3. To remit the equivalent of any uncollected CFS membership fees to the CSA

BIFRT, the CSA Board of Directors empower the Executive Committee to coordinate this application until a court decision is made with regular updates to the Board of Directors.

As board members, it is your duty to uphold the mandate provided to you by students. Overturning the results of a democratic referendum in which 73.5% of students voted to leave the CFS is wrong.
By suing the University, the money will ultimately be coming out of students’ pockets. Point 3 of the motion will sue the University for any uncollected CFS membership fees, which would amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Continue reading


Enquiry, Engagement and eLearning: Three Perspectives on a Student-Centred, Online, Enquiry-Based Course

Jacqueline Murray, Natalie Giesbrecht, and Samuel Mosonyi, “Enquiry, Engagement and eLearning: Three Perspectives on a Student-Centred, Online, Enquiry-Based Course,” Collected Essays on Learning and Teaching 6 (2013): 34-40.


In the 2011 Winter semester, the University of Guelph engaged in a pedagogical experiment: an online first-year seminar. This article is a conversation about the learning journey that surrounds this seminar, as experienced by three participants: Jacqueline Murray (JM), Professor of History and Director of the First-Year Seminar Program (FYS); Natalie Giesbrecht (NG), Manager, Distance Education and a Distance Learning Specialist; and Samuel Mosonyi (SM), an undergraduate student who was enrolled in the course. We reflect upon the online seminar and discuss the technology and pedagogy, student learning experience, and process of online interaction. We conclude that this seminar, an innovation in both enquiry-based learning and first-year seminars, is arguably comparable with classroom-based offerings.

Full text here.

Huffington Post Canada

Tom Flanagan and the decline of academic freedom in Canada

After Tom Flanagan, a professor at the University of Calgary, remarked at a University of Lethbridge lecture that he had grave doubts for jailing those who view child pornography “because of their taste in pictures,” someone caught the footage on camera and posted it online. He was instantly cut from the CBC’s Power and Politics show, the Manning Centre’s Networking Conference, and the Wildrose Party of Alberta.

Additionally, the President of the University of Calgary issued a press release after Flanagan’s incendiary remarks came to light:

Tom Flanagan has been on a research and scholarship leave from the University of Calgary since January of 2013. Tom Flanagan will remain on leave and will retire from the university on June 30, 2013.

Shortly after, the University issued a clarification that Flanagan had submitted his intent to retire before the incident occurred. The press release indicates that the University wanted to distance itself from Flanagan, and the initial wording created the impression that he had been fired.

Continue reading

Huffington Post Canada

Waterloo should not stifle free speech

At the University of Waterloo last week, Conservative MP Stephen Woodworth was scheduled to speak to a group of students at an event organized by the Students for Life campus club. Stephen Woodworth, a staunchly pro-life MP, had previously brought forth a motion in Parliament to strike a committee to review the Criminal Code definition of when a child becomes a human being. The motion was voted down, with the Prime Minister and most of his Cabinet voting in opposition.

While many of us may not share Mr. Woodworth’s sentiments regarding abortion, no one has the right to impose a viewpoint on another. We may challenge views we find unattractive, but we do not have the right to silence or suppress unpopular ideas.

Unfortunately, a group of students shut down Mr. Woodworth’s speech by shouting him down, until he was left with no choice but to cancel the event. In what can only be described as an act of idiocy, a Mr. Ethan Jackson, dressed as a giant vagina, shouted, “Who do you think you are trying to impose your bigotry, your views on society through your Christian monotheism?”

The President of the University of Waterloo issued a press release that supported the values of free speech and condemned the actions of the protesters as “an attack on our presence as s a place where issues are explored, discussed and debated.” A review of the incident is currently underway.

Continue reading


Board of Governors chooses to raise tuition… quite seriously

This opinion piece is in response to that entitled “Opinion: Board of Governors chooses to raise tuition again… SERIOUSLY?

I would first like to point out that our elected student representatives Mr. Blais and Mr. Straathof likely understand the fiscal situation facing the university better than any other undergraduate student due to their participation on the Board of Governors. The fact that both supported the tuition fee increase indicates to me that they must have had a compelling reason to do so which is in the best interests of students. Both students are very capable and determined individuals with a background of serving students.

I’m not sure if the author is aware, but the provincial government tightened its belt with the recent budget and is fighting a major deficit. If less funding is going to be coming from the government, where will it come from? Will it magically appear? Will the Board of Governors wave a wand and conjure up an endless supply of cash?

Continue reading