UPEISU Presents to Legislative Committee on Student Needs

By: Drew MacEachern

UPEISU President Lucas MacArthur and VP Academic and External Travis Gordon gave a presentation to the Legislative Standing Committee on Education and Innovation on Thursday. They were there to speak on student issues related around tuition regulation, the extension of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIPP) to post-secondary education, and student loan caps and indexing, as well as to propose solutions to these issues. They were summed up under the three broad headings of affordability, accountability, and accessibility.

Gordon spoke first on the issue of affordability. In regards to tuition, seven out of ten provinces have either a framework, cap, or general regulation on tuition. For example, Manitoba indexes tuition increases to inflation. However, PEI has absolutely no tuition regulation, leaving students unprotected, and has seen its tuition rate grow at double the rate of inflation since 2002. Furthermore, since provincial funding for the university is announced in May, there is often uncertainity among the university administration about how much funding there will be access to and subsequently, how much to increase inflation. In fact, last year, the university administration had to make three different budgets based on expectations of what the provincial government would give them. The SU suggested that the legislature implement a multiyear funding framework with the university and a tuition cap indexed to inflation.

MacArthur then spoke next on the issue of accountability. PEI is the only province where post-secondary education is not covered under FOIPP legislation. While there is a university privacy officer, only students, staff and faculty (not people off-campus) can request information from him and there is no external recourse should a request for information be denied. Subsequently, MacArthur asked for the legislature to bring post-secondary education under PEI’s FOIPP legislation.

Gordon concluded the presentation with accessibility and student loans. Canadian student loan funding is based on a cost-sharing agreement between the federal government, which covers 60%, and the provincial government, which covers 40%. This money is distributed on a weekly basis for however many weeks of school.  However, the amount of money given is constrained by weekly loan limits; currently this is $210 for federal funds and $165 for provincial funds. These have not increased since 2004 and one-third of students have with loans have excess need. This often causes them to need to turn to private borrowing, with its resulting debt. This can also often be difficult for low-income families to access, especially if they need a co-signer.

The committee then asked several questions. Olive Crane asked what the government rationale is for not covering post-secondary under FOIPP. The SU responded that the government had argued that a process already existed, however they maintained the process was insufficient for reasons detailed in their presentation. Steven Myers asked what the weekly loan limits would need to be increased to before they are indexed in order to give students the best deal. Gordon said that he would go through the numbers and submit the number to the committee at a later date. Richard Brown also asked why, if the university has posted several surpluses over the last couple years, has tuition been increased. MacArthur made it clear that in those meetings the SU opposed attempts to increase tuition.

This was Mi’kmaq Week

Image courtesy of Chris Gibson

Image courtesy of Chris Gibson

By Chris Gibson

Think your family has deep roots on the Island? You ain’t got nothin’ on the Mi’kmaq, who have been living on PEI and in the surrounding Maritime provinces for the better part of ten millennia. This week, UPEI celebrated those miles-deep roots with a series of events featuring local Mi’kmaq showing off their vibrant culture.

 

The week started early Monday morning with a flag raising ceremony. Monday evening was graced by a performance by Mi’kmaq Legends, a troupe of actors that dramatize Mi’kmaq oral legends. These stories are as old as the ice age, but the performers gave them a more contemporary air with liberal splashes of humor and sharp writing all around. Probably the best story was the one involving the Wind Eagle, though the classic story of how rabbits got their long ears was also a high point of a show with mostly high points. The costumes were well done, the acting was great, and it was thoroughly entertaining.

 

After an art show on Wednesday afternoon, Mi’kmaq Week was capped off on Thursday afternoon with the annual Pow wow, a showcase of traditional music, dance, and costume in the main hall of the Student Centre. That would explain, to those of you who didn’t know in advance, the drumming and singing you heard ringing through the building. Quite a few people participated in the circle dances, while the drummers in the center kept a beat old as the drum.

 

Mi’kmaq Week was a big success, and it’s great to see this ancient culture exposed to new generations year after year. Here’s to next time!

The Cadre Chats with: Mayor Clifford Lee

Image courtesy of the City of Charlottetown

Image courtesy of the City of Charlottetown

By: Drew MacEachern

Charlottetown’s municipal elections are happening on Nov. 3rd. With the date fast approaching, the Cadre has decided to sit down with some of the candidates. The Cadre was able to sit down with the Mayor Clifford Lee after a day of canvassing neighbourhoods to ask him a few questions about the youth-oriented aspects of his platform.

The Cadre: What has the reaction been like on the campaign trail?

Lee: The reaction has been really positive. People are generally very pleased with the direction that the city has been going in the last number of years and you know there’s no major issue, there’s no major concerns being expressed. Quite honestly, the concerns I’m hearing are concerns that are very localized issues in different neighbourhoods, be it lack of street lighting, bad pavement, sidewalk repairs, storm sewer systems, those types of things.

The Cadre: What is the greatest issue facing the youth of Charlottetown?

Lee: Certainly from my perspective, I may not be the best person to answer that but from what I’m hearing from youth in the city, there’s two issues. One is they don’t feel that they’re engaged or are really part of the city corporation, the life of Charlottetown and the decision making process. And obviously the other major issue for youth, especially those coming out of school, university, college, is employment opportunities. We need to address both of those issues that I think are out there.

The Cadre: What ideas do you have around engaging youth?

Lee: Yes, I’ve got two different proposals and both of these proposals came from talking with youth of the city and mothers and parents and grandparents, because there’s not a parent or grandparent that wants to see their son or daughter leave PEI, leave Charlottetown to go to Western Canada for employment. From my perspective, the first thing I want to do is to create an advisory group made up of men and women between the ages of 18 to 30 to talk about what they want to see their city be as we move forward because the reality is that these are the men and women that are going to lead the city of Charlottetown, that are going to be guiding the city in 10 years time and we need to make sure that we’re bringing the city, through the process, to what they want it to be. I think a big part of that’s gotta be engaging youth in the decision making process, engaging youth really in the life of the community. The other component is employment and I think that while employment is key, I think they also want something else out of their community, other than just a job. So once we have a committee in place….and you know I’m not going to suggest that this is what the committee should do because I want the committee, made up of these men and women, really to find their own direction, to come up with their own ideas of what their initiatives are and what the city should be pursuing to improve the quality of life, to give them that extra reason to stay here in Charlottetown and stay here in PEI.

The other thing that I want to see the city pursue is some type of innovative way to use the funds that are coming into the province, through the federal employment/labour market strategies, to find a way to create meaningful employment. When I say meaningful employment I’m not talking about a six-month job or a 12-month job; I’m talking about a career. I look at the city corporation, for example, in the area of succession planning. We don’t have any plan for succession in the corporation and I would suggest that probably a high percentage of businesses in Charlottetown have no succession planning and the reason they don’t is that they don’t have the funding available to pay someone to do a job but also to bring somebody else in to train to do that job when someone is ready for retirement. Honestly, I can look at the city payroll today and figure out pretty quickly how many staff are going to be retiring in the next 5 years. But yet, what we ending up doing is waiting until the last minute, advertising that job for competition and I guess what I’m suggesting is, if we know that Mr. Smith is retiring in a year from now let’s have a competition for someone to come in and train to follow Mr. Smith around for a year so that he or she knows what the job is and then at the end of it, they’re able to walk into a career. Because if we don’t provide career opportunities, we don’t provide long-term employment, nobody’s gonna stay here. And this province, quite frankly, 10 years from now, if you look at demographics, we need the youth of today to be here or we’re gonna have a whole lot of vacant jobs, nobody to fill those jobs and businesses aren’t going to be able to sustain themselves. At the end of it all, what ends up happening is the province loses all of that tax revenue, nobody’s paying taxes to sustain the health care system and where are we as a province? We can’t wait for 10 years before saying, ‘oh we need to do something’.

The Cadre: What would you say to critics who would say that that is providing no concrete proposals?

Lee: I’d have to disagree because the concrete proposal, quite frankly, is to develop a program with the youth of the city, okay? I’m in my 50s, I don’t think I’m the best person to answer that question. I think that I’m smart enough to know that if I want a program that’s going to work for the youth, the youth have to be engaged in developing that program, it’s as simple as that. And anybody who knows me, has seen my record over the years knows that when I commit to something I commit to something. This is not bluff, fluff or anything else, this is sincere intention to do something on this file because, quite frankly, we can’t afford not to.

Chris Huggan Named New Athletic Director

Image courtesy of The Guardian

Image courtesy of The Guardian

By Ally Harris

 

After almost two months without anyone in the position, UPEI named its new athletic director today. Chris Huggan will begin at UPEI November 10.

 

“I am excited about the opportunity and challenge of becoming the Director of Athletics and Recreation at UPEI,” Huggan said in a statement.

 

“I look forward to working with the student-athletes, coaches, faculty and staff to continue to grow and improve our University athletics programs. I see a bright future for UPEI Panther Sport, one that will connect not only the university students, but the youth and adult populations across our province.”

 

Huggan is no stranger to school sports, coming from Colonel Gray High School where he taught physical education and managed the athletics department.

 

“Chris is passionate about UPEI’s mission to provide our students with outstanding competitive and recreational sport opportunities while supporting them in their pursuit of academic excellence,” said Jackie Podger, Vice-President Administration and Finance and chair of the search committee.

 

“Having Chris join us to oversee the Department is exciting for our students, staff, alumni, and our Island sports community as he brings significant experience and knowledge from having worked in an atmosphere that combines academics with sport.”

 

The athletic director position has been open since Bill Schurman left UPEI at the beginning of the school year.

 

Hockey Day in PEI Taking Place Saturday

 

image courtesy of UPEI Athletics and Rec

image courtesy of UPEI Athletics and Rec

By Ally Harris

This Saturday is sure to be a great day for hockey fans, with the UPEI Panthers and Charlottetown Islanders teaming up for Hockey Day in P.E.I.

The men’s hockey Panthers and Islanders will play a double header on Oct. 25 with the Panthers taking on the St. FX X-Men at 3 p.m., and the Islanders facing the Québec Remparts at 7:30 p.m. Both games are taking place at the Eastlink Centre in Charlottetown.

There will also be events throughout the day such as live music, a beer garden, free food and kids’ activities.

“We know there are a lot of people who support both teams and we wanted them to be able to enjoy both games without having to choose,” said Islanders President of Operations Craig Foster. “We see this as an opportunity for both teams to come together and offer a great day of hockey to the fans.”

“It’s a chance for us to give back to the fans of both teams,” says UPEI Head Coach Forbes MacPherson. “Moving forward, the goal for us is to work together and eliminate as many scheduling conflicts as we can. If we do that, the ultimate winners are the fans.”

The St. FX game will be just the sixth game of the season for the Panthers, but there are plenty of new faces to see in action. The Panthers also play against Dalhousie Friday at 7 p.m. at MacLauchlan Arena.

The Islanders have had a tough stretch recently, dropping four of their past five games, but out-battled the Acadie-Bathurst Titan 4-1 in their most recent home game. They’ve also had impressive performances from goaltenders Mason McDonald and Daryl MacCallum in their last two games.

The Panthers game will be free for the first 100 UPEI students with ID and tickets for the Islanders game are $9 for students. Non-students can purchase tickets for both games for $20. Holland College students can get in on the action too – tickets to every Islanders game are buy-one-get-one-free with your Holl Pass.

Fifth Annual Candlelight Vigil Against Homophobia and Bullying Took Place Last Evening

image courtesy upei

image courtesy upei

By Jennifer Brenton

Last night, over 100 UPEI students and faculty gathered in McMillan Hall for UPEI’s 5th annual Candlelight Vigil Against Homophobia and Bullying. In 2010, the Rainbow Alliance started this event after nine students committed suicide because of bullying and homophobic comments.

The night began with opening remarks from Pride Youth Coordinator Janet Bradshaw. Bradshaw is a teacher at Three Oaks High School in Summerside who created the Gay-Straight Alliance at Three Oaks. In her speech, she said she was proud of the work that the high schools are doing for the LGBTQ students. Bradshaw began her mission two years ago in order to help two transgender students feel more accepted in the school system. Her work has started to expand across PEI, with four high schools on PEI with Gay-Straight alliances. Bradshaw believes “people are scared of things they don’t know about. By having a Gay-Straight alliance, it makes it easier for people to talk”. Along with the Gay-Straight alliance, Bradshaw discussed the Day of Silence and Pink Shirt Day that raise awareness about bullying.

The next speaker was Joe Killorn, who organizes Pink Shirt Day on PEI. Pink Shirt Day began in 2007 when a boy was bullied for wearing a pink shirt to school. Two boys decided that enough was enough and they went out and bought pink shirts for everyone in the school to wear to stand up against bullying. This year, Pink Shirt Day will take place on February 25th, 2015 and will be raising money for Kids Help Phone.

Next, seven high school students from Three Oaks took to the stag and discussed the bullying they had experienced because they were transgender, bisexual or lesbian. These students discussed how they found it difficult to fit in until they joined the Gay-Straight Alliance and found people that they could talk to.

Five students from the UPEI Rainbow Alliance spoke next about their struggles. Zak Court spoke about how the world has a problem with weirdos and that his dream is for everyone to be happy.  Courtney Larter was the next to speak about being bullied in the work place. Third, Olivia Wood spoke about her experiences being a bisexual student who believed that she deserved to be bullied and hurt herself because of it. When Wood attended high school, bullying became peer pressure and she felt that she had to drink, smoke, and have sex to fit in. Wood became depressed and became her own bully by putting herself down. Finally, Wood said no to bullying and yes to living. Olivia Wood ended her speech with the powerful words, “the bullies have not taken my voice away.”

Emily Sewuster gave the final speech of the evening. She spoke about being bullied by her peers and family members for being physically disabled and well as suffering from depression. Sewuster talked about how last winter she attempted suicide. She stated, “its never going to be sunny all the time” in regards to her illness, but she is trying. Sewuster’s powerful speech ended with a poem entitled World War Three that discussed bullying.

After the presentations, everyone went out into the Quad with candles to remember those who have lost their lives to suicide. It was a very powerful evening that raised awareness for an important cause.

The Cadre Reviews: Lena Dunham’s “Not That Kind of Girl”

image courtesy amazon.com

image courtesy amazon.com

By Sierra Roberts

Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She’s Learned was officially released on October 7th, and I ran down to the bookstore after class to grab it that day. Not That Kind of Girl is everything you would expect from Lena Dunham and then some. You probably already know her as the creator (as well as writer, producer, director, and lead actress) of the hit show Girls. And if you haven’t seen the show, I recommend that you check it out.

The memoir is a collection of essays divided up into five sections: “Love & Sex,” “Body,” “Friendship,” “Work,” and “Big Picture.” Since the chapters are divided up into essays rather than one long narrative, you can pick it up and read it at your leisure without feeling you need to commit. It’s also a pretty quick read, so it won’t interfere with class readings and assignments.

Dunham covers a wide variety of life events and issues including the loss of her virginity, menstruation, break-ups, feminism, and dealing with mental illness. If you’re familiar with Girls, you’re already aware that Dunham is always willing to go there, which is always refreshing and often hilarious. She’s honest in her approach to every event, and refuses to romanticize anything. For example, when talking about stripping down on set, she writes, “Getting naked feels better some days than others. (Good: when you are vaguely tan. Bad: when you have diarrhea).”

I love this book for a number of reasons (90’s nostalgia, the real talk on sex, the struggle of being an older sister, etc.), but instead of going into all the details of it, I thought a quote would work well to give you a little taste of what you’ll be getting into if you pick up the book – “Mike was the first person to go down on me, after a party to benefit Palestine, on my dorm room rug. I felt like I was being chewed on by a child that wasn’t mine.”

Love her or hate her, Lena Dunham is here to stay. I suggest you give the book a try before making up your mind on her – if nothing else you’ll find a few beautiful pieces of advice, such as, “You will find that there’s a certain grace to having your heart broken”), and a some great one-liners, “Talk nerdy to me” – this one was muttered by a homeless man to Dunham’s younger sister. To learn more about Dunham you can visit her website (http://lenadunham.com/) or follow her on Twitter @lenadunham. 

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