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Tuesday, January 18, 2000

  • Waiting for news on funding
  • Residence fees rise 2 per cent
  • 'Building the future' series begins
  • Events in the bleak midwinter

[Three with clippers]
Grow your hair now, and cut it off February 4 -- that's the buzz at Renison College. The 14th annual Haircutting Pub is scheduled for that Friday night, with proceeds from this year's shearing being designated for the Renison building fund. Tickets are $5 in advance ("includes beer tasting") from the Renison alumni office.

Waiting for news on funding

UW and the rest of Ontario's universities have no idea what their income from the government will be in the coming year -- a year that's expected to see pressure for more enrolment increases -- and that's not good, UW president David Johnston said last night.

"We will not learn in adequate time to plan," Johnston told the university senate.

The Council of Ontario Universities had told the provincial government, which provides roughly two-thirds of university funding, that institutions needed to know the level of 2000-01 funding by New Year's in order to get things ready for the onslaught of new students in September. New Year's has come and gone, and universities have seen no funding announcement and no indication of when they'll get one.

"It will not be, I think, within the next two weeks," Johnston said at the senate's monthly meeting last evening. More likely, he said, word won't come until March.

"The exchange of correspondence has not been entirely satisfactory," he said, noting that Ontario premier Mike Harris recently said no to a request that he meet with a delegation of chairs of the universities' board of governors.

COU has asked for an 8 per cent increase in government grants this year, the senate meeting was told by Peter Woolstencroft, the political science professor who is UW's "academic colleague" representative to the provincial body.

He said a COU meeting in mid-December spent much of the time discussing how to react if grants are significantly lower than what was asked for. Says his written report:

The issue is urgent, especially in light of the ongoing surge in enrolment that will last until 2010-11. In terms of funding, the Ontario university system is operating at full capacity and, in fact, has used all excess capacity it may have. Last year, there was over a 6% increase in applicants and the first estimate for next year is that the applicant pool will increase by between 5 and 6 percent. . . .

In the fall of 1999 COU had prepared a number of documents pertaining to its case for increased funding. One document was prepared in response to Queen's Park inquiries about efficiencies of the province's institutions. COU's 8 percent proposal called for a 3.5% increase in operating grants for increased student demand; 1.75% increase in operating grants for the hiring of additional faculty; 1.75% for improved research performance; and 1% for merit-based compensation for excellence in teaching and research. . . .

To date, the long-standing commitment of Ontario governments has been that there will be a place in Ontario's colleges and universities for every willing and qualified Ontario student. This commitment, part of the government's 1999 election manifesto, was reiterated in the last Throne Speech.

Ontario's post-secondary institutions, for their part, have collaborated with the government in the sense of taking "every wiling and qualified student" in the face of declines in the value of the operating grant. Despite the view of many university leaders that there had been a concomitant decline in the quality of university education, institutions have not reduced their admission offers.

In the event of an unsatisfactory grant decision, some institutions were not prepared to commit themselves to holding to or cutting back on last year's admission targets. Others, including Waterloo, wanted COU to communicate that Ontario's institutions would take fewer students in the forthcoming admissions cycle than they did last year. Given the larger applicant pool, a considerable number of applicants would (in principle) not be admitted to an Ontario institution. In the absence of consensus, COU determined that it would not follow the assertive course.

Residence fees rise 2 per cent

Fees for living in the Student Villages will go up by 2 per cent this year, according to a proposal being presented today to the executive committee of the board of governors. The executive committee meets (2:30, Needles Hall room 3004) to set the agenda for the board itself, which will meet February 2.

According to the proposal, a single room for two terms will cost $3,197, up from this year's $3,134. An interconnecting room for two terms will cost $3,072; a bed in a double room, $2,947.

Residence administrators are proposing to hike rents in the Minota Hagey Residence by 5 per cent, to $1,435 per term. There would be no increase in the Columbia Lake Townhouses: $2,628 for two terms.

There's a new fee structure for what is now being identified as UW Place -- formerly the UW Apartments, formerly the Married Student Apartments -- which now contains both apartments and single rooms. For full-time UW students, the apartment rent is to rise by 2 per cent, to $504 a month for a one-bedroom apartment, $535 for a two-bedroom apartment. Tenants who aren't UW students will pay double the present rates: $1,200 a month for one bedroom or $1,500 for two bedrooms.

Single rooms in Beck Hall, the first section of the complex to be converted from apartments to rooms, will go for $3,160 for two terms, just a few dollars less than single rooms in the Villages.

According to the proposal, the new apartment rents go into effect August 1, the townhouse and room fees September 1.

'Building the future' series begins

Canadian physician and innovator Fraser Mustard will speak at UW tomorrow night as part of a new lecture series under the title "2020: Building the Future". His talk, which starts at 7:00 in the Humanities Theatre, is on "Social Evolution and Technological Change".

Economics student Wafi Abdulla, one of the organizers of the series, gives some background:

"Dr. Fraser Mustard, architect of the renowned Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIAR) is a true visionary by any standards. Keen on building the ideas developed by CIAR into curricula across Canada, ideas spanning from human development to population development to economic growth, Mustard considers his visit to Waterloo to be a first step in building interest and curiosity in the areas vital to the successful development of Canada within the international community.

"To that end, Mustard's is one of three planned lectures this semester, all of which are part of a series entitled '2020: Building the Future'. This series rose out of the observation that in this age of ever-accelerating progress and constant change, people rarely have the time to stop and think about the direction of society and their role in it. Increasingly, people busily trudge on, living day by day, without knowing what the results of their efforts will be.

"While many individuals can surmise what the newest changes and trends for the next month -- and perhaps even the next year -- will be, the vast majority cannot see through the murk as to what the changes and trends for the next decades will be.

"'2020: Building the Future' attempts to cut through this murk. By bringing high profile speakers and other visionaries to the university to discuss their views on the direction of society, the series will hopefully inspire attendees and show them how they can best participate in and contribute to the development of the nation, and indeed the world, they live in.

"High profile speakers will be invited from around the world based on their knowledge of and experience in different fields of occupation and study, and on interesting opinions and viewpoints they possess. The lecture series intends to be frank, open, casual, and inclusive of as many people as possible.

"Future speakers include John McCallum in February, chief economist and senior vice-president of the Royal Bank of Canada, and Firoz Rasul in March, the chairman and president of Ballard Power Systems of Burnaby, British Columbia."

Events in the bleak midwinter

The joint health and safety committee will meet at 1:30 today (Needles Hall room 3001) to discuss current injury and fire reports, building inspections and so on.

Connie Kwan, computer engineering student and business manager of the Midnight Sun solar race car project, reports that planning starts today on the sixth incarnation of the car: "As you may or may not know, last term Midnight Sun V solar car team came back from World Solar Challenge in Australia with a Battler's Award. As MidSun V draws to a close, we are ready to welcome the birth of MidSun VI! Come join a dynamic team of talented students in the pursuit of alternative energy. All years and faculties welcome. There are tasks to be completed in the areas of design, mechanical, aerobody, PR, sponsor, education (including new this year, we're co-hosting a high school solar car competition), electrical, etc. Develop team skills and practical experience." Today's meeting starts at 4 p.m. in the multipurpose room of the Student Life Centre.

Sarah Kamal, math graduate and world traveller, has this to say for herself:

Wanna volunteer in Africa? But don't know where to start? I went on a trip through Africa in the fall of 1999 that taught me a lot about myself and the society I live in. I was fortunate enough to become involved with several organizations with which I could do meaningful work, and privileged to stay with communities which allowed me to share in their lives. It was a beautiful experience for me, and I decided to that I had to do what I could to help others in their quests to explore the warm, exquisite beauty of the dark continent and its peoples once I got back here. I'll be sharing what I know about international volunteering and finding placements over the Internet as well as recruiting for two organizations in Africa over the next two months. The organizations that I am recruiting for are an engineering development organization in Uganda and a streetkids project in Sudan.
She'll offer an information session today -- 6 p.m., Davis Centre room 1304 -- about the project that she's calling Soft Winds and Papyrus.

Tomorrow brings a heavy-duty event in the Student Life Centre: "Ask the Presidents", sponsored by the Federation of Students. It's described as "a forum designed to give staff, students and faculty a chance to pose questions" to UW president David Johnston, faculty association president Fred McCourt, and Federation of Students president Christine Cheng. The forum will be held from noon to 1:30 p.m. in the Great Hall of the SLC.

At the same time tomorrow, "Affordable Holidays" is the topic of a brown-bag session sponsored by the Employee Assistance Program. Kathy Schonenberger of Thomas Cook Travel, the agency with its storefront in South Campus Hall, will offer "an informal talk on sunny destinations", tomorrow at 12 noon in Davis Centre room 1302.

Next week: Michael Higgins, the vocabulary that walks like a man, will give the 19th annual Faculty of Arts Lecture, at 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, January 26, in the Theatre of the Arts. Title: "Five Quirky Moments: An Enchiridion for the Wise". Higgins is president of St. Jerome's University, and is promising to talk about "wisdom -- discernment of and possession by".


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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