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Thursday, February 24, 2011

  • President's update on 'disturbing' incidents
  • Warming up by degrees, and other notes
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

President's update on 'disturbing' incidents

President Feridun Hamdullahpur issued a memo last night reaffirming that the university's leadership takes the recent "incidents directed toward denigrating women" very seriously.

Here's what he wrote, in an e-mail message to students, faculty and staff:

[Open quote]Further to my email of last week, I want to provide an update on the actions the university is taking to address the recent incidents at Waterloo directed toward denigrating women — incidents that I find profoundly disturbing and unacceptable.

On Wednesday, February 9, in response to posters that denigrate women being put on top of student election posters supporting female candidates, university Police, assisted by Waterloo custodial staff, immediately removed all of the offensive posters. The number of patrols on campus and in university buildings was then increased.

Campus Police have commenced a criminal investigation into the matter and are taking the following steps to identify those responsible: forensic analysis of the posters; review of closed-circuit television footage; and collaboration with computer specialists to track the identity of the individual who sent an impersonating email fraudulently presented as being from me and spreading the same offensive messages. Anyone with information that might be helpful to the investigation is asked to contact the Police at ext. 22222, or through 519-888-4911.

You could also share information anonymously through the Waterloo Regional Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS).

About 150 members of the campus community gathered at the Student Life Centre on Friday, February 18, to discuss these recent events and to express their fears and concerns. Threats against women have no place on this campus and will not be tolerated. Those responsible for threats of any kind will face both university discipline and legal consequences.

Waterloo has many services available to those who live, work, and study on our campus and these can be found on the Police website ( at[Close quote] safety resources, and personal safety guide.

On behalf of the senior administration at Waterloo, I can promise that we are highly committed to maintaining a campus that both is safe for women, and feels safe, for all in our community.

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[Ryder with WUSC staff member beside sign]

The fieldwork coordinator for the International Development program, Grainne Ryder, is traveling in Africa working with partners and local communities setting up field placements for the first class of INDEV students. She’s seen (right) with Abena Acheampong of World University Service of Canada at a youth centre in Ghana where one INDEV student will be stationed this fall to help assess business ventures proposed by young people living along the Volta River. As part of their fourth year, students in INDEV (operated by the environment faculty in partnership with St. Paul’s University College) spend eight months working on a project in a developing country. Placement opportunities this year will take students to Burkina Faso, Botswana, Ghana, Malawi, Peru and Vietnam.

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Warming up by degrees, and other notes

"I can't believe it is already that time of year," says Frank Seglenieks, former graduate student and now volunteer coordinator for the university's weather station. "But I plan on starting the entry period for the weather station contest this week." That's the online contest, now a pre-spring tradition, in which people predict the date and time when sensors on the north campus will record a temperature of 20 degrees Celsius (that's about 68 on the Fahrenheit scale) for the first time this year. Such warmth seems like a daydream on this snowy morning, especially as the weather station says on its website that "When the temperature went above zero on February 13 it broke a streak of 42 days of below zero temperatures." But spring will come, the contest will have a winner, and meanwhile there's more snow in the forecast for tonight. (Hey, it could be worse: associate provost Alan George reports in e-mail from Edmonton that it's “minus-30C or so, with a brisk wind” there.)

And, of course, we can follow the hockey playoffs, the other traditional observance at this time of year. [Warrior goalie makes the save]The men's hockey Warriors made short work of the Lakehead Thunderwolves over the weekend in the Ontario University Athletics quarter-finals, which means they now get to play the Western Mustangs in the semis. (Photo: a moment of unsuccessful action by Lakehead forward Brock McPherson.) Game one is scheduled for tonight in London; game two will be Saturday night at the Icefield, with game three following, if required, Sunday night. Despite reading week, the athletics department knows there are fans keen to see tonight's game; a bus will leave the Physical Activities Complex at 5:45 today, returning from London after the game. A $5 ticket, for sale at the athletics department office, includes both transportation and game admission. Students, staff, faculty and other fans are welcome, says Jenny Mackay of athletics.

A quickly extinguished lab fire closed Chemistry 2 building for a while yesterday afternoon. The fire ignited in a fume hood in room 162 and caused minimal damage, contained to the fume hood and some attached plumbing. Graduate students working with chemistry professor Janusz Pawliszyn were in the lab at the time and left safely; there were no injuries. The city fire department responded to the alarm at 2:09 p.m., and by 2:40 p.m. were packing up to leave campus. According to standard procedure set by the university's safety office, the building was to remain closed for two hours after the fire.

Here's a followup to Tuesday's news about plans for the Equinox Summit: Energy 2030, to be held in June with joint sponsorship from the university and the Perimeter Institute. "Our Summit," writes R. J. Taylor of Perimeter, "is made up of scientific experts, seasoned advisors from various backgrounds, and a Forum open to anybody with an interest in energy ages 20 to 30." Says a flyer: "We’re accepting applications for a Forum of future leaders to work directly with top experts and visionaries in the sciences, engineering, policy, and industry. You’ll have the exciting and strategic opportunity to shape our global energy future. We’re looking for young leaders in policy, politics, civil society, and business aged 20 to 30 to be part of our Summit from June 4 to 9, 2011. All successful applicants will be offered travel scholarships! Join us and some of the world’s greatest innovators." Applications will be accepted online until April 15.

Thanks to a little construction work on the second floor of Needles Hall, the main entrance to the registrar's office will be closed today and Friday, and visitors (including clients of the student awards office) will be directed to a side door. • With the women's volleyball season at an end, Ontario University Athletics has announced its league awards, and named Meaghan Loveday of the Warriors as rookie of the year in the west division. • A brochure is out announcing the Arts Computer Experience children's day camp for this summer, including a new program, "Leaders in Motion", aimed at an older age group, students 13 to 17.

And . . . with the world's news full of tumult and hazard, the co-op education department reports that at least no Waterloo co-op students are currently in danger zones. "We have no students on work terms in New Zealand this term," says Olaf Naese of CECS in the wake of Tuesday's earthquake, "nor in Egypt, Libya, Bahrain or other mid-east hot spots."


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Bud Walker, who has been serving as associate provost (students) on an interim basis since December 2009, will hold that position "for another year starting 1 March", says a brief announcement from the provost. Walker is also the university's director of business operations.

Link of the day

The globe at night

When and where

Reading week February 21-25, classes not held.

Mathematics contests: Pascal (grade 9), Cayley (grade 10), Fermat (grade 11), today. Details.

Ambassador of China Junsai Zhang, open lecture on Canada-China relations, 11:00, Rod Coutts Engineering Lecture Hall room 307.

Institute for Computer Research and Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology present Mario Tokoro, Sony Computer Science Laboratories, “Open Systems Science: A New Research Methodology” 3:00, Davis Centre room 1302.

Bojangles Dance Showcase 7:00, Humanities Theatre.

Centre for Family Business, based at Conrad Grebel U College, breakfast seminar, “Resolving Disputes in Business and in Life” Friday 7 a.m., Bingemans Conference Centre.

Pension and benefits committee Friday 8:30 a.m., Needles Hall room 3004.

Information systems and technology professional development seminar: Liz Koblyk, “Advancing Your Career at uWaterloo” Friday 9:00, IST seminar room.

Warrior track and field team at OUA championships, York University, Friday-Saturday.

Institute for Computer Research and Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology present Mario Tokoro, Sony Computer Science Libraries, “Open Systems Dependability” Friday 3:00, Davis Centre room 1302.

Pre-enrolment for fall 2011 undergraduate courses begins February 28. Details.

Graduate Student Research Conference (April 25-28) deadline for abstracts is February 28. Details.

Imprint Publications annual general meeting Monday 12:30, Student Life Centre multipurpose room.

University senate Monday 4:00, Needles Hall room 3001.

Application deadline for spring term admission to the university: March 1. Details.

Employment information meetings for co-op students matched with spring term jobs, March 1-2.

Demonstration for staff of new myCareer@ UWaterloo system, Tuesday 2:00, Davis Centre room 1302. Register.

Tech Leadership Conference sponsored by Communitech, March 2, 7:30 to 5:00, Bingemans Conference Centre, Kitchener. Details.

Hagey Bonspiel for faculty, staff, students and alumni, March 5, Ayr Curling Club. Details.

Climate Change Awareness Week with events sponsored by Interdisciplinary Centre on Climate Change, March 7-11.

Oracle Financial System downtime March 10 at 12:00 noon to morning of March 16.

‘An Experiment with an Air Pump’ by Shelagh Stephenson, production by department of drama, March 10-12 and 17-19 at 8 p.m., Theatre of the Arts.

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