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University of Waterloo | Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

Monday, January 18, 1999

  • Alumna charged in campus stabbing
  • Wynnyckyj targets research funds
  • Geological Garden unveils rock
  • Latin American art kicks off week
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Alumna charged in campus stabbing

A 35-year old woman recently arrived at UW from China to pursue her PhD is in serious but stable condition in Hamilton General Hospital after she was stabbed on campus Friday afternoon.

Name temporarily deleted by court order, who was preparing to begin graduate studies in engineering, received multiple stab wounds in her neck, arms, hands and chest in an office in Engineering 2 following a confrontation at about 5 p.m. She was rushed to K-W Health Centre and later transferred to Hamilton.

Charged with aggravated assault is Lihua Wang, 35, who graduated in May, 1996, with a Masters of Applied Science degree in electrical and computer engineering. She was arrested at the scene of the stabbing and will appear in provincial court on Tuesday. Waterloo regional police are investigating.

Wynnyckyj targets research funds

Retired UW chemical engineering professor John Wynnyckyj is going to bat for universities again, pushing the Liberal party to loosen its purse strings for research funding in the next federal budget.

Encouraged by his success last year in drafting a resolution which was adopted as Liberal party policy, Wynnyckyj is once more sharpening his pencil. That document called for a renewed commitment to research and development funding in Canada. This year, he's focusing on research dollars, with a proposal for "a funding envelope to provide for the indirect costs of the research grants funded by the three Federal Granting Councils, the Networks of Centres of Excellence (NCEs) and the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI)." In addition, he's urging the government to make graduate student stipends income tax exempt.

As a member of the Kitchener-Waterloo Liberal riding association executive, Wynnyckyj believes "the grass roots political process can and should influence government policy." He has a special place in his heart for universities -- "They've been part of my life for the past 30 years." -- and is "seriously afraid the knowledge creation apparatus in Canada will die" unless adequately supported. "I'm interested in that via the political process," he added. "I'm a believer in the intelligence of the general public."

Wynnyckyj's first step was to approach UW vice-president (university research) Carolyn Hansson to identify what specific needs could best be addressed. She strongly supported the recommendations contained in a brief submitted by the Association of Universities and Colleges in Canada (AUCC) involving increased funding for the granting councils, and added the two areas of concern, indirect costs and tax exempt status for graduate stipends.

In requesting assistance for the "indirect costs of the research grants" from federal agencies, Hansson provided a litany of expenses universities struggle to cover:

As well, there are "capital costs of building, laboratory facilities, fittings, utilities, physical plant maintenance and insurance, etc.," most of which are the responsibility of provincial governments. "While it is reasonable to expect the Provincial Governments to provide the capital costs for research, it would be appropriate for the Federal Government to support the indirect costs of research of the specific projects funded by the three Granting Councils, the NCEs and the CFI," Hansson noted.

"This situation has worsened since 1996," she added, "with the added responsibilities of the university administration, for example, to respond centrally to Government initiatives such as the CFI; to comply with new TRi-Council guidelines on (a) animal care, (b) research ethics, (c) transfer of scholarship support administration to the universities, (d) increasing audit reviews of awards to ensure accountability to the taxpayer, (e) and to take on the additional administrative responsibilities of the NCEs. The CFI and NCEs require partial funding to be obtained from other sources and raising his funding incurs yet additional indirect costs. Moreover, the increased pressures to protect and transfer the research results by patenting, licensing and establishment of spin-off companies has added to the administration burden of research activity."

A report prepared by Mireille Brochu in 1996 for the Canadian Association of University Research Administrators, AUCC, and Industry Canada estimated indirect costs of research at 54 per cent of total direct costs, with 43 per cent for operating and 11 per cent for capital costs. Wynnyckyj's recommendations to the Liberal caucus committee on higher education call for a funding envelope to provide partial support for these expenses, "for example at a rate of 20 per cent of total direct costs."

In calling for income tax exempt status for graduate student stipends, the resolution notes that private sector demand for graduates with bachelor's degrees, coupled with the large debt loads students must pay off after they graduate, mean fewer students are considering graduate degrees. "The salaries they can command in the private sector far exceed the stipends provided to graduate work and, therefore graduate studies is not being considered as an option by most of the brightest and best students."

"Giving tax exempt status to these stipends and scholarships," Hansson notes in her recommendations, "...would have an enormously positive impact on the graduate students' quality of life and on the universities' ability to recruit the top students into the graduate programs."

Letters of support for the proposal are being sought from other universities, and in preparation for federal budget deliberations, the recommendations will be submitted to Kitchener-Waterloo member of parliament Andrew Telegdi, a UW graduate and a member of the Liberal caucus on postsecondary education. He will forward the document to the minister of finance.

Geological Garden unveils rock

A "striking green-coloured...metamorphosed (altered) chromium-rich rock from the Timmins area" will be officially unveiled today at 1:30 p.m. in the Geological Garden between the math and biology buildings.

According to garden curator Peter Russell, the specimen can best be described as quartz carbonate fuchsite serpentinite, or, in other words, metamorphosed chromiferous ultramafic rock. Typically found very, very deep in the earth, such a mineral rarely manages to get to the earth's surface, he adds. The little quartz veins running through it often contain gold, "but don't expect to see it with the naked eye."

More than a metre high and weighing over a tonne, the rock was donated by the Worry family from their rural property to celebrate the Michael Worry's graduation from the co-op electrical engineering program in 1997, as well as the 40th anniversary of co-op education at UW. Michael's mother, Mary, will be on hand today to dust off the snow and admire the installation. Everyone is invited to wander over to help mark the occasion, says Russell.

Latin American art kicks off week

An exhibition of work by several local Latin American artists will officially open tonight with an evening of Latin American art, music and refreshments starting at 7:30 in the Student Life Centre multipurpose room. The event is free and sponsored by the UW Spanish club. The exhibition will continue through Friday in the multipurpose room, "definitely between 2 and 6 p.m., possibly longer," reports a Spanish club spokesperson.

Niels Gronbech Jensen, a physicist with the condensed matter and statistical physics group in the theoretical division of the Los Alamos National Laboratory, will speak today at 2:30 p.m. on Predictive modeling of ion implanted dopant density profiles in semiconductors. The seminar will be held in Physics room P308.

UW senate meets tonight at 7:30. On the agenda: a discussion of the report on the provost's task force on tuition and student financial support, and a report on UW's participation in the Access to Opportunities Program, or ATOP -- the expansion of enrolment in computer science and electrical and computer engineering.

Fall term grade reports go out this week. They will be mailed to part-time students and to others who were on campus in the fall, but not this term. Marks for full-time engineering students who are doing terms 1A and 1B, or 4A and 4B, consecutively in the fall and winter will be sent to their academic departments for pickup. Marks for other full-time undergraduate students who were on campus in the fall term and are here again for the winter term will be available for pickup starting Wednesday, on the second floor of Needles Hall between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Any marks held for pickup that haven't been picked up by 2:30 p.m. on Friday will be mailed to students' home addresses.

For you're a student "interested in operating systems, and meeting people doing neat things who can help you get neat jobs in neat places, this could be for you," says Robyn Landers, the USENIX campus outreach representative. A conference on operating systems is coming up in New Orleans, and the USENIX Association "awards a limited number of student grants to allow full-time students to attend conferences for free (including transportation and accommodation)," he adds, noting "UW students have a pretty good track record of receiving grants." Deadline for applications is Friday, January 22. Brochures on the conference are posted outside Math and Computer room 3048, and USENIX application forms can be found on Landers' USENIX web page.

Barbara Elve

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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