November 2003 Nader Inquiry Launched CAUT has appointed a committee of inquiry to examine the issue of academic freedom for university administrators. The committee is being chaired by Bill Bruneau, professor emeritus at the University of British Columbia and a member of CAUT's Academic Freedom and Tenure Committee. The other members of the committee are A. Wayne MacKay, president of Mount Allison University and Tim Quigley, a University of Saskatchewan law professor. Government Cutbacks Cause PhD Exodus Canada is experiencing a flight of newly-minted PhDs, a pilot study undertaken by Statistics Canada has found. Cure Worse than Disease In his critique of the current free-market model for funding pharmaceutical research "Bad Rx - Big Pharma & Medical Research" (commentary, Bulletin, Oct. 2003), ethics professor Arthur Schafer argues that, "if biomedical researchers and their universities are to retain public trust, then they should simply not be permitted to put themselves into situations of financial conflict of interest. If the community values public science in the public interest, then it will have to be paid for by public tax dollars." Chemistry Matters Peter Anderson writes (bookshelf, Bulletin, Oct. 2003) "university departments such as chemistry and physics whose major role in the undergraduate curriculum for many years has been the provision of introductory service courses to biology, biochemistry and engineering students." Oh dear! How could I have wasted my time all these years teaching advanced organic chemistry to undergraduates? A Case for Collegiality Victor Catano's column about confusing collegiality with congeniality (Bulletin, Oct. 2003) went straight to the heart of a thorny patch of issues that have caused me a lot of grief in my 10 years at the University of Alberta. McGill Student Penalized for Not Using Internet Plagiarism Service A student at McGill University is challenging a controversial new rule requiring all students to submit essays to a U.S.-based for-profit company that checks papers for plagiarism. A Failing Grade for Media Rankings It's that time of year again when news media attempt to assess universities by way of "report cards" or "rankings." We have already seen a new addition to the ranks of list-makers with the publication in October of the Globe and Mail's "University Report Card" that ranked universities on the basis of a satisfaction survey of university students. Cost of Underfunding Is Too High Students are seen as the beneficiaries of education - they gain what is needed to perform at a higher level, giving them access to higher paid, more satisfying jobs. But others benefit too. Government and industry gain educated employees. Governments also gain increased tax revenue and society benefits from a better educated workforce. In the 19th century, Bismarck introduced universal elementary education in Germany. The resulting industrial advantage forced Britain to follow suit in order to compete. We now face a similar situation at the post-secondary education level although there are arguments about who should pick up the tab. Trial Date Set for Charter Challenge to Bankruptcy Law The Canadian Federation of Students awaits its trial date with the Ontario Superior Court of Justice as a result of the federal government's decision to deny student loan borrowers the right to declare bankruptcy for a period of 10 years. Saskatchewan Ratifies Agreement After a year of negotiating, 935 faculty members at the University of Saskatchewan have a new collective agreement. Strike Averted at Carleton With the hours ticking down to a strike, negotiators for Carleton University and the union representing its academic staff reached a tentative settlement in their contract dispute. Minister Backpedals on National ID Cards Citizenship and Immigration Minister Denis Coderre may be backing away from his strident call for the introduction of a national identity card equipped with biometric identifiers by 2005 for all Canadians. After aggressive promotion of the proposal over the past few months, momentum for the idea has dissipated rapidly with the release of a critical report by the Commons committee on citizenship and immigration. Exeter Pays Canadian Prof $140K Damages Russel Ogden, a criminologist at Kwantlen University College in Surrey, B.C., has won $140,466 in damages from Exeter University after it broke a commitment to protect him while he conducted his PhD dissertation research on a secret global network conducting assisted suicides. Ogden studied at Exeter between 1995 and 1998. Academics in Australia Protest Government Proposal Last month, more than 40,000 university staff across Australia staged a 24-hour strike that shut virtually all the country's 38 public universities. University staff were protesting against plans by the government to take away their rights to bargain collectively and have freedom of association. White Ribbon - Get Involved! The White Ribbon Campaign, entering its 12th year, continues its work of encouraging men to become involved in ending men's violence against women. CAUT Defence Fund Expands Coverage The CAUT Defence Fund board of trustees voted at their annual meeting Oct. 18 to provide financial assistance to member associations that incur costs associated with mediation or interest arbitration (including final offer selection) in the settlement of contract negotiations. Act Violates ILO Convention The International Labour Organization, the UN body responsible for upholding international labour standards, has ruled that section 63 Commercialization - Selling Out or a Shrewd Bit of Business? Commercialization of universities inevitably has consequences. Some are beneficial, for example, knowledge, services, or devices that would benefit many can sometimes be made available more widely, rapidly and economically. Individual faculty members, or the university itself, may also benefit financially or through enhanced reputation.