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Wednesday, March 5, 2003

  • Feds file lawsuit over pubs
  • Solar panels slated for Fed Hall roof
  • Much happening on Ash Wednesday
Chris Redmond

March is Learning Disabilities Month

Feds file lawsuit over pubs

The Federation of Students filed suit against UW yesterday, demanding that its Bombshelter and Federation Hall pubs be reopened and claiming $11 million in damages.

University leaders expressed "disappointment" about the move, the most recent development in the dispute that has been ongoing since the university suspended the service of alcohol in the two pubs on January 20.

A news release from the Federation said it is seeking damages "on a number of grounds, including negligence, breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, breach of trust, negligent misstatement and misrepresentation, trespass, conversion, unjust enrichment and intentional interference by the University in their economic relations.

"The Federation is also asking the court to issue injunctions compelling the University to reinstate the student run operations at Federation Hall and The Bombshelter Pub, and to cease unreasonable interference in their operations. Additionally, the Federation is requesting that the University consent to an application by the Federation to obtain a liquor licence."

An official response came from UW's director of communications and public affairs, Martin Van Nierop: "From the outset, we have been eager to keep the pubs open under a management arrangement consistent with the requirements of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario. We want to ensure that we provide good, safe service to our students, and that they have access to these recreational facilities."

During a press conference at Federation Hall yesterday, Feds president Brenda Koprowski said the students launched the statement of claim over what she called the "arbitrary closure" of the two pubs. Vice-president (administration and finance) Chris DiLullo added that the Feds believe the university shut down the campus pubs "because of its non-compliance with the Liquor Licence Act" through the contracting out of the sale and service of alcohol -- to the Federation itself. DiLullo said the compliance issue could be addressed by having the Federation hold its own liquor licence, or by having the licence jointly held by the university and the Feds.

About compliance, Van Nierop said, "This is exactly why UW took the steps it did," adding that longstanding agreements between the university and the Federation are being reviewed by the AGCO. He also said that UW needs to act to bring about arrangements that ensure compliance and safe operations.

Van Nierop added that the university would not be in favour of the Feds holding their own liquor licence, in view of what he cited as past failures to follow procedures -- most notably last New Year's Eve, when a man was beaten after attending the party at Federation Hall.

University administrators and the Federation agreed to an interim management arrangement during the first week of January, one that would have seen the pubs continuing to operate while a more permanent arrangement was developed. The agreement dissolved the week of January 20, and administrators suspended the service of alcohol in the pubs altogether.

Koprowski yesterday referred to "the lack of respect the university has shown with regard to this issue," adding that "the real issue for students is one of autonomy. It is important that we have and maintain control of our establishments, and over the revenue they generate."

She said the suit concerns the adherence to "longstanding legal agreements" between the university and the Federation over the management of the pubs. In the Federation news release, Koprowski said she regretted having to take legal action. "Overall, the administration and students have a very positive working relationship," she said, "but the University's actions and stance on this particular issue left us with little choice."

Van Nierop said, "The overriding issue is one of compliance with the [Liquor Licence] Act as mandated by the AGCO, which takes precedence over any agreements. . . . Since the beginning of January, we've been more than willing to meet with our student leaders to discuss this issue and work toward a resolution. We're still willing to do that, but it's unfortunate that they've now caused the whole process to take a step backward."

The case is scheduled to be heard in court on April 9.

Solar panels slated for Fed Hall roof -- by Barbara Elve, from today's Gazette

Federation Hall will soon be tapping into the sun's energy, with the installation of a grid-connected array of 22 crystalline solar panels on its roof.

The panels are to be raised into place on the south-facing roof by May, providing energy equivalent to about two-thirds of that used by an average home.

The Solar Technology Education Project (STEP), an interdisciplinary group of students, faculty and staff dedicated to the promotion of renewable energy resources, introduced the idea in a meeting with UW's plant operations and waste management departments in December 2001. The group decided to mount a demonstration project, says Jeff DeLoyde, a student director with STEP and now a third-year environmental engineering student, with an emphasis on "community-wide awareness of renewable energy technologies."

With the assistance of geography professor Paul Parker and mechanical engineering professor Steve Lambert, the students developed plans to connect the 2-kilowatt solar array to an online monitoring system which will be used by researchers to measure incoming solar radiation, wind speeds, and electricity produced. As well, display boards at the site will provide real-time information on the amount of energy produced and the amount of greenhouse gas emissions prevented from entering the atmosphere by harnessing the power of the sun.

[Four in front of Fed Hall]

Members of STEP hold aloft a solar panel to be installed on the roof of Fed Hall this spring. From left: mechanical engineering professor Steve Lambert, students Jeff DeLoyde and Chris Hadlock, along Dave Elzinga, an engineer with ARISE Technologies.

The online monitoring system is expected to be developed as a design project by a fourth-year engineering student this summer, under the direction of mechanical engineering professor Mike Collins, who runs the solar lab on campus.

Power collected from the solar array will be fed into the utility grid operated by Waterloo North Hydro, "one of the only utilities in Ontario that supports solar technology," says DeLoyde. His dream is to see the hydro meter on Fed Hall running backwards, showing that the power produced is greater than the energy used.

Out of six possible locations on campus for installation of the array, Fed Hall was selected. A site inspection this week will decide the location of the array on the roof, how it will be mounted, and how it will be wired to the inverter -- which converts the direct current from the solar panels to alternating current used by the electrical system -- and to the utility room.

To date, nearly $22,000 has been donated to the project, closing in on the goal of $25,000. ARISE Technologies of Kitchener is the largest sponsor, providing in-kind support of $5,000. Other sponsors include the cities of Waterloo and Cambridge, and the faculty of engineering.

Other possible sites examined for solar arrays on campus include South Campus Hall, the Physics building, Rod Coutts Engineering, Carl Pollock Hall (on the roof of the WEEF lab), and Needles Hall (third-floor courtyard). The roof of the Physical Activities Complex needs repairs, says DeLoyde, but money could be saved by incorporating the solar panels directly into the roof sections being replaced. "The panels would be the roof, rather than be mounted on the roof."

Much happening on Ash Wednesday

The penitential season of Lent begins today in the Christian tradition, with what's called Ash Wednesday. Services for today will be held at St. Jerome's University (Roman Catholic services at 12:00, 5:00 and 7:00) and Renison College (Anglican services at 12:00 and 7:00).

For undergraduate students who should be making decisions about their futures, it's Pick Your Plan Week. Says the registrar's office: "Undergraduate students who need to select or change a major, or add a minor or option, will need to complete a Plan Modification/Application for Internal Transfer form.

The Women in Mathematics Committee presents a talk today by Carmeliza Navasca of the applied math department. Title: "The Travelling Saleswoman Problem". Abstract:

My goal for this talk is to introduce dynamic programming. Dynamic programming is an optimization technique that is particularly applicable to problems requiring a sequence of interrelated decisions. A sense of decisions yields a sequence of situations which then minimizes (maximizes) some measure of value.

I will demonstrate the key ideas behind dynamic programming through examples, namely, the simple path problem and the travelling salesperson problem. In addition, I will discuss how dynamic programming develops useful results and computational methods for optimal control problems.

This talk is aimed at undergraduates as well as graduate students who are interested in optimization or control theory.

All students are welcome; the talk starts at 4 p.m. in Math and Computer room 5158.

Nine other events today -- it would have been ten, but the noon-hour saxophone concert at Conrad Grebel University College, already postponed once, has been cancelled because of the snowy weather:

And just off campus: "Can Science Journalism Be Entertaining and Responsible?" panel discussion, sponsored by the Perimeter Institute, 7 p.m., Waterloo Recreation Complex.

Tomorrow, the earth sciences department presents the annual Adrian Smith Lecture, this year by Tullis Onstott of Princeton University, speaking on "Nuclear-Powered Deep Subsurface Microbial Communities" (2 p.m., Davis Centre room 1302). Then at 4 p.m. there's a reading at St. Jerome's University by "writer, culture commentator and editor" Hal Nedzviecki. In the evening, author Rudy Wiebe gives the first of this year's two Bechtel Lectures at Conrad Grebel University College ("The Fiction of Ownership", 7 p.m.). Half an hour later (7:30, Siegfried Hall), the Jewish studies program presents Stephen Berk of Union College, speaking on "Germans and Jews: A Strange, Productive and Tragic Relationship"

Finally, Friday will be "Two for Blue Day" in support of research into juvenile arthritis. Michelle Banic of UW's institutional analysis and planning office explains:

In Canada, 1 in 1,000 children will be diagnosed with juvenile arthritis -- a number that's higher than juvenile diabetes! However, common perception is that arthritis is an "elderly" disease. That's not so! My daughter Amanda was diagnosed when she was 18 months old with arthritis. Fortunately for her, she's been one of the lucky ones -- she can still dress herself and can climb out of bed in the morning. However, that isn't the case for all kids who suffer with this disease. Some need assistance with even the basic elements of life.

But you can help make a difference. Friday has been set aside in Kitchener-Waterloo and surrounding area as Two for Blue day -- a day where you can dress casual, wear blue, and pay a toonie in support of juvenile arthritis research. Many departments on campus are already participating -- join us!

For more information, she can be reached at ext. 5042.


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