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Wednesday, January 5, 2000

  • Series will explore urban living
  • Banned newsgroups are restored
  • World will end as FASS hits stage
  • Board of governors seeks members
  • Things to do today at UW

Payroll notices

From the payroll section of UW's human resources department. . . .

Graduate students and people on temporary contracts are reminded that there are two payroll signup sessions as follows:

  • January 5 (today) from 3 to 4 p.m. in Davis Centre room 1304
  • January 6 from 10 to 11 a.m., also in DC 1304
Students who were on monthly payroll in December 1999 with the same banking information do not need to sign up. However, if they did not receive monthly pay in December, 1999, or if banking information has changed, they should sign up at either session, bringing their Social Insurance Number and bank account information (with a void cheque if possible). (Graduate students must be registered for Winter 2000 term before monthly payments can be released.)

Faculty and staff who are starting an appointment of one year or more in January 2000 are reminded to make an appointment to sign up in Human Resources for payroll and benefits (ext. 3134). This process takes approximately 20 to 30 minute. Because of volume, appointments are required to ensure that people are given the opportunity to ask questions and complete all the necessary paperwork. This month's monthly paydate is January 21, 2000, and the cutoff for departments submitting paperwork is January 13, 2000.

Series will explore urban living -- from the UW news bureau

Urban living and environmental change will be explored in a new workshop series, beginning early this year. An initiative of UW's Urban Environmental Project, the goal of the series is to develop cooperative learning and research networks, programs and projects that address urban environmental issues and concerns.

"The idea is to bring people together from different backgrounds to discuss social, economic and environmental concerns that are relevant to living in urban areas," said Beth Dempster, project coordinator. "There are many challenges for planning, management and decision-making in urban areas that reach across many scales, sectors, and activities."

Said Dempster: "Anyone interested is welcome to attend. Participation is free. Interested people will include residents; people from government and business; high-school, and university students; teachers, college and university faculty."

She added that although we associate issues and concerns arising from population growth and development with large, high-density urban conglomerations such as Mexico City and Tokyo, they also arise in smaller urbanized areas such as Waterloo Region.

The sessions, to be held every Thursday for five weeks, begin January 13, from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., at the Adult Learning Centre, 185 King Street South in Waterloo. To allow for interaction and discussion, attendance is limited to 50 people. Space will be allotted on a first-come first-served basis. To register, contact the Heritage Resources Centre at UW, phone ext. 2072 or e-mail hrc@fes.

The series is principally sponsored by the Heritage Resources Centre, with support from the Interdisciplinary Research Fund, the dean of environmental studies, and the school of planning at UW and the Kitchener Rotary Club.

Besides working toward a more desirable environment, the objectives of the workshop include "encouraging open, civic and participatory approaches to planning, management and decision-making for the urban environment and establishing a network of interested people to continue working on such issues".

The workshop sessions:

Banned newsgroups are restored

Did you hear the one about "My Sister And The Team"? Well, you can read it with impunity on the computer newsgroup alt.sex.stories, now that a ban imposed by UW authorities in 1994 has been lifted.

Five newsgroups are available on UW computing systems again, on the instructions of provost Jim Kalbfleisch, who issued the original ban almost six years ago. They are alt.sex.bondage, alt.sex.bestiality, alt.sex.stories, alt.sex.stories.d, and alt.tasteless.

Kalbfleisch said in 1994 that UW's ethics committee -- now defunct -- had received legal advice, reviewed the newsgroups, and "concluded that several of them from time to time contain obscene material contrary to the Criminal Code."

A day earlier James Downey, then president of UW, had written that "a university's practices cannot be contrary to the law. . . . I am mindful of concerns about the principles of free speech and expression in an academic environment. Universities, however, are not above the law and their policies and procedures should not be contrary to the law."

But things have changed. In a memo dated December 20, 1999, and made public this week, the provost tells the information systems and technology department that "The special measures to prevent importation of the five newsgroups do not serve a useful purpose and should therefore be discontinued."

He writes: "The relevant criminal law has not changed since 1994. However, it has become much clearer that the University would be very unlikely to face criminal charges simply for allowing access to such materials through UW facilities. We could not be expected to filter out all of the potentially obscene material now available over the Internet."

Jeff Shallit of UW's computer science department, who is active in the freedom-of-speech group Electronic Frontier Canada, is claiming some responsibility for the policy change. He says the decision was made after he wrote a letter to David Johnston, UW's president, asking to have the newsgroups restored. Johnston is himself an authority on Internet law.

Shallit was among those who protested when the ban was imposed in 1994. At the time, they were the only newsgroups not carried on UW computing systems. Since then, an ad hoc committee on news management -- of which Shallit was a member -- has established rules for setting priorities based on academic needs, and some newsgroups, including those primarily devoted to pictures, software and sound files, have been cut off, without much controversy.

World will end as FASS hits stage

While most of us assume we've survived the worst of the predictions of doom for Y2K, the folks at FASS are convinced it's never too late for an apocalypse.

[FASS logo] To prove the point, FASS has chosen for the theme of its annual musical comedy, "F2K: The ProFASSy".

The "humorous look at the Apocalypse and the end of the world coming in the new millennium" will be written this month and staged February 3 to 5 by pretty much whoever volunteers. FASS, which has been a feature of UW life since 1962, takes its name from the groups who are welcome, including Faculty, Alumni, Students and Staff. Says the FASS web page: "The FASS Theatre Company is serious about having fun -- we're a live cartoon on stage!"

Auditions for the 2000 production will be held today through Friday, from 7 to 9 p.m. each evening in Hagey Hall room 378. "The auditions are for all positions (acting, singing, dancing, technical construction, lighting, sound, props, etc.)," says FASS 2000 producer Rick Fazekas, "so all are welcome."

Board of governors seeks members

A notice from the university secretariat:

"Consistent with the Protocol for the Appointment of External Board Members which was approved by the Board of Governors in April 1994, the Board invites the University community to submit, for consideration, nominations of individuals to serve on the Board. Nominations are to be received in the Secretariat by March 3, 2000 and will be put into a pool of candidates for consideration when appointments are made.

"Prospective candidates must be Canadian citizens, experienced at governance at a senior level, with expertise in finance/investment, law, marketing, fund-raising or major construction, and with commitment to and knowledge of UW. They must also be able to make the commitment of time necessary to do the job."

Copies of the Protocol for the Appointment of External Board Members, information about the Board and nomination forms are available from Tracy Dietrich in the secretariat, e-mail tdietric@secretariat, phone ext. 6125.

Things to do today at UW

The UW Computer Store and Apple Canada Inc. invite faculty, staff, and students to a satellite broadcast of Steve Jobs's keynote address to MacWorld Expo. Says Jason MacIntyre of retail services: "Broadcasting live from Macworld Expo 2000 in San Francisco, this must-attend presentation will highlight the latest developments at Apple. Complimentary boxed lunches will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis." The event runs from 12:00 to 1:30 today in Davis Centre rooms 1301-1302.

With the beginning of the new term, the UW library has a number of orientation events scheduled. Today at 2:30 and tomorrow at 1:30, an hour-long session with "information for graduate students (all faculties)" begins at the information desk in the Davis Centre Library.

Michael Scheer of JILA at the University of Colorado will give a seminar in the physics department at 2:30 today (Physics room 308). Topic: "Photoelectron Spectroscopy of Atoms and Molecules Using an Ultrafast Soft X-ray Source".

The first meeting of the term for WatSFiC (Waterloo Science Fiction Club) will be today at 6:00 p.m. in Math and Computer room 4064. "This organizational meeting is open to all," I'm told. "Inquiries about the club or the meeting can be made to watsfic@csclub."

The distance and continuing education office will be open late tonight -- until 7 p.m. -- for the benefit of those who want information about part-time study or distance education courses.

And the first of this term's non-credit continuing education courses gets going this evening. "Becoming a More Confident Computer User", to run for four Wednesday evenings, is a new course this term, taught by Bob Hicks of the information systems and technology department. Other courses on offer this term range from "Career Assessment" (starting next week) to web site design and children's astronomy.

The basketball Warriors, both men and women, are playing at McMaster this evening.

Looking ahead: A memorial service for Archie Sherbourne will be held Friday at 3 p.m. in Siegfried Hall, St. Jerome's College. Sherbourne was a faculty member in civil engineering from 1961 to his retirement in 1997, and served as dean of engineering 1966-1974; he was also UW's first warden of residences. He died December 17.

A "Weight Watchers at Work" program will be running on campus again this term. Information about the 14-week series is offered at a meeting Monday, January 10, at 12 noon in Math and Computer room 5136A.


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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