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Daily Bulletin

Thursday, January 29, 1998

University of Waterloo • Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
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President meets the parade

Yesterday's National Day of Action, organized by the Canadian Federation of Students brought demonstrations in many cities, including one that tied up traffic in Toronto's business district. About 150 students settled in at the headquarters of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, and the occupation is still going on this morning. Photo from CBC Newsworld.
About thirty demonstrators stopped off at Needles Hall in mid-afternoon yesterday to give UW president James Downey a petition in honour of the "national day of action" on tuition fees and student debt.

Downey took the elevator down to the first floor of NH and spoke to the demonstrators for about five minutes. He answered some questions, endured some heckling, and made a point or two about the balance between low tuition fees and high quality of university education. He also accepted the petition, saying he'd bring it to the attention of UW's board of governors (which meets next Tuesday) but reiterating that the official voice of undergraduate students at UW is the Federation of Students, not a parade of demonstrators.

Students in the protest group, which made the rounds of campus following a rally in the Student Life Centre, asked Downey why he hasn't been more forceful in pushing the Ontario government for greater funding of post-secondary education. "Have you ever tried screaming at politicians?" he replied, and urged them to "change the government" if they want changes in government policy.

Downey defended his support for deregulated tuition fees, saying that if universities had the freedom to set their own fees, some students might actually pay less rather than more. He recalled that when he was president of the University of New Brunswick, which does have the authority to set its own fees, he could use that as a bargaining chip with the premier of New Brunswick, warning that fees would go up, with the natural political fallout, if government funding were not improved.

A statement issued Monday afternoon from UW's information office quotes Downey as saying that "University underfunding and student debt are very serious issues for which we must must find solutions". Downey adds: "The university actively consults students on fee issues," through the Provost's Advisory Committee on Student Fees.

The statement says UW officials are "in constant dialogue" with the Federation, "supports" its decision not to take part in yesterday's events, and "applauds" plans such as the National Student Debt Day that's set for Monday.

Organized by the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations, of which the UW Federation is a member, the day will feature information sessions at campuses across Canada, including a talk at UW by Murray Baker, author of The Debt-Free Student.

PM speaks on student aid

Prime minister Jean Chrétien said yesterday that details of the planned Millennium Scholarship Fund have been worked out and will be announced in the next federal budget, Canadian Press reports:
Until now government sources had indicated that details wouldn't be settled until just before the budget, since the amount of cash available depends on the final financial projections for the fiscal year that ends March 31. There has also been debate over whether the money should be awarded on merit, as originally proposed, or be doled out on the basis of need.

Chretien wouldn't be pinned down on details. They will likely not come until Martin tables his budget, although the prime minister didn't rule out an earlier date. . . .

Student groups and provincial premiers have also been clamoring for an overhaul of the existing Canada Student Loans program, and Liberal insiders say [finance minister Paul] Martin will likely act to ease repayment terms to lessen the debt burden faced by graduates.

The scholarships were announced in September in the Throne Speech. Martin's budget is expected in late February.

Science event next week

"The challenge of creating businesses from the results of university based research" will be addressed by academics, students, legal and technical experts, and business leaders at the Fourth Annual Science/Technology -- Business/Law Partnerships Conference to be held next week (February 5 and 6) in the Davis Centre.

Hosted by the UW faculty of science, the conference will bring together local university and business leaders, representatives from granting agencies, science and business students from Waterloo, Wilfrid Laurier University and other campuses, including a contingent of graduate students from the business law program at Syracuse University.

Forums will focus on Women in Science, Technology and Business; The Emerging Company; and Innovation at Waterloo. The conference will close on Friday with a talk on Future Trends in Technology by Jiang Wei Ping, director of the department of international science and technology cooperation, Shenzhen Municipal People's Government Science and Technology Bureau in China.

For more information or to register, contact Helena Hahn at ext. 2101 or Rose Armstrong at ext. 5296, in the dean of science office.

Help on the Internet

The InfraNet Project today presents Jamie Roberts of the IBM Canada Laboratory, speaking on "Customized Help on the Internet? The Promise and Problems of Dynamic Information Delivery". Says Roberts in an abstract:
How people receive different kinds of information, what they can do with it, how timely it should be, how easy it is to access, how integrated it is with their daily experience, how applicable it is to them personally -- these are all ways that Web technologies have changed people's information experience.

One of the most interesting elements of this change in expectation is the convergence of user assistance goals with Web, Intranet and Internet technologies. The promise of delivering online help or computer-based training to people from a network, in a fashion that customizes information for people, and in a way that matches their expectations from other kinds of "assistance experiences", is one way that the Internet will transform many of the ways we think about information. User assistance information can finally lend dynamic perspective to build complex contexts for its audience.

In keeping with this promise, Microsoft, for one, has announced and deployed a suite of network content tools and platforms. IBM too, has tried to take advantage of this promise with a corporate Information Architecture that addresses user assistance information on the Internet and Intranets.

Coupled with this promise, however, are some tremendous technical and artistic difficulties.

The talk begins at 2:30 in Davis Centre room 1302. Reservations: ext. 5611.

The truth about God

"Are there objective truths about God?" asks William Craig of the Talbot School of Theology, whose answer apparently is yes: "He will examine the challenges of three schools of modern thought to objective truth about God and attempt to show that each challenge is self-defeating." Craig, author of ten books and more than 80 papers, is guest speaker at a dinner at the University Club tonight.

John North of UW's department of English is hosting the event on behalf of the New Scholars Society, which is, he explains, "a loosely affiliated interdenominational group of Christian faculty members representing most orthodox Christian church groups. The society has sponsored similar lectures at five Canadian universities this academic year." A talk by Craig at the University of Guelph last night was described by one listener as the best lecture he'd heard in thirty years in the academic world. For more information, North can be reached at ext. 3743.

All the way to Florida

Nathan Dietrich may not be a math major, but he's done his homework for the Run to Florida Village fund-raiser for the Waterloo Region Food Bank tomorrow and Saturday. He figures it's 2,500 kilometres from here to Florida, which equals 11,974 laps of the 220-metre indoor track at the Waterloo Recreation Centre. If 200 people run 57 laps each -- that's just 12 km over a 24-hour period -- the goal is in sight.

Organized by Dietrich and Adam Promoli, both student dons in the Villages, the event is one of a series of fundraising activities to benefit this year's Village charity. While the rec centre doesn't have Disney or Dunedin, runners can come in from the cold to join a relay team and help the Food Bank. Participants will collect pledges for the run, and be eligible to win prizes donated by local businesses. Students, staff and faculty are invited to join in the run from noon on Friday until noon Saturday.

More information is available from Dietrich at 725-9792 or Promoli at 725-7065.

Events of a slippery day

Warriors victorious

The basketball Warriors travelled to Guelph last night and defeated the the CIAU #8 ranked Guelph Gryphons with a convincing 75-52 win. This report reaches us courtesy of Martin Timmerman, who maintains the Warrior basketball web page.
An "internship fair" will run from noon to 5 p.m. in the Conrad Grebel College cafeteria, with people from several organizations (and the peace and conflict studies program) there to talk about "hundreds of opportunities to work, study or volunteer in a variety of local and international settings".

The Student Services Network Group will meet at 1:30 in Environmental Studies I room 221. Highlight of the agenda: Peter Birch, of the local school board's employee assistance program, talking on "Taking Care of Ourselves". Information: ext. 2752.

The current series of career development seminars winds up today with "Job/Work Search Strategies" at 1:30 in Engineering Lecture Hall room 101, and "Choose Your Own Adventure: The Entrepreneurial Advantage" at 2:30 in Needles Hall room 1020.

The joint health and safety committee, representing UW management and employees, will meet at 2:30 in General Services Complex room 302. On the agenda: everything from "knife training programs" to last month's injuries and fires.

Toronto sculptor and educator Ian Carr Harris speaks tonight as the architecture school's Arriscraft Lecture series resumes. His talk, at 7:30 in the Environmental Studies II green room, is on "Tracings: Writing, Art and Architecture".


Editor of the Daily Bulletin: Chris Redmond
Information and Public Affairs, University of Waterloo
credmond@uwaterloo.ca -- (519) 888-4567 ext. 3004
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