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CAUT Bulletin Archives

March 1998

Ice Storm Had Chilling Effect on Research

On Friday, Jan. 9, oncologist Richard Béliveau left his blacked-out lab at the University of Quebec at Montreal to face an ice-encrusted and nearly-paralyzed city. Millions of Quebeckers were without power that evening, but Béliveau trusted the building's emergency generator to run the five ultra-low temperature freezers used by the 26 researchers in his lab to store precious tumor and antibody samples. On Saturday, however, the generator had to be switched off after it set fire to the building's roof. The freezers started to warm up.

Policy Centre Presents Its Alternative Budget

In February 10 the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and Cho!ces, a coalition for social justice in Winnipeg, Manitoba, released the fourth annual Alternative Federal Budget. A four-page summary, as well as the complete document, can be obtained from the CCPA web site or telephone 613-563-1341. The CCPA site can also be accessed via the CAUT web site at

A Tense Year for Contract Negotiations

The 1997-1998 academic year is characterized by intense negotiations and the threat of labour action at many university campuses across the country. This report features a successful negotiation at Trent University -- whose faculty walked out on strike two years ago; a settlement at Acadia University -- which teetered on the brink of a strike within the last month; and an update about Dalhousie University -- whose members have just given their association a strike mandate.

Martin Predicts Bright Future

Several government initiatives announced in the Feb. 24 budget speech on student aid and research funding were welcomed by CAUT President William Bruneau. He acknowledged that "they are a first step in the right direction," but "we don't see the light at the end of the tunnel. We are still seriously worried about the effects of years of massive cuts in post-secondary education funding."

Highlights of the1998 Federal Budget

Tax-Free RRSP Withdrawals for Lifelong Learning -- Effective January 1, 1999, Canadians will be able to make tax-free withdrawals from their registered retirement savings plans (RRSPs) to support full-time education and training of at least three months during the year. Withdrawals will be repayable to the individual's RRSP in equal instalments over a 10-year period. Students with disabilities using RRSPs for lifelong learning will be exempt from the requirement that their studies be on a full-time basis.

Mutual benefit projects

Bill Bruneau, in his editorial "Creeping Privatization Threatens Autonomy" (Bulletin, January), raises issues which many academics are currently turning over in their minds. The evidence is certainly in for "monopolies for on-campus services and the 'sale' of a university's name to support fund-raising," especially when one looks south of the border.

How do we fight Philistines?

Congratulations on an excellent statement on "Slippery Slope Proves Perilous for PSE" (Editorial, February). The problem is how to organize a head of steam on the part of those of us who want to take the high road in education, to take action? It seems on the face of it that the philistines have the advantage of having to defend a narrower piece of ground. Nevertheless, your editorial is a step in the right direction. Let's see what support there is.

Thanks for governance study

On behalf of the members of the Mount Allison Faculty Association and in accordance with their wishes I am offering our deepest gratitude for and appreciation of the work CAUT has done in commissioning and publishing "An Inquiry into Governance at Mount Allison University."

Prolifically spending

I see in the February issue of the Bulletin (p. 4) that the University of Victoria is offering a five-day clinic on university dispute resolution. It is designed for deans, directors, chairs and senior administrators.

TechBC Boycott to End?

The CAUT Executive Committee and the presidents of member associations of the Confederation of University Faculty Associations of British Columbia (CUFA/BC) have given approval to discussions between the two organizations and representatives of the Technical University of British Columbia (TechBC) in an attempt to end an international boycott of the new institution.

Case Law & Copyright

The law on the use instructors can make of material developed by students was elaborated in a recent Ontario case. According to the decision, a professor published a paper prepared by a student without giving the student credit. Who is liable for what? On the facts of the case, the court held that the professor who merely supervised the student cannot claim co-authorship. In this case the professor was found to have given direction to the student and offered some suggestions, but had not participated in the drafting. He was not, therefore, considered to have responsibility for the content of the paper. If a professor publishes in his or her own name without giving credit to the student, this results, according to the court, in plagiarism. In this case the professor was found guilty but, significantly, the university was also found liable for failing to monitor and regulate the actions of its employee and was also required to pay damages.