May 2004 SFU & UBC Explore Plan for Private Student Loans A private loan company is courting Simon Fraser University and the University of British Columbia with a controversial plan to offer students fast on-line credit, sparking concerns that student debt levels will explode. Why 'Merit' Flounders I agree with Donald Savage ("Performance Lessons," Bulletin, April 2004) that merit is a cumbersome system with dubious benefits in the workplace. But the merit system is also among those corporate mechanisms that break down in the academy for simple structural reasons. A Hollow Victory I am not particularly surprised by the ruling on intellectual property stemming from the Bryson/UBC arbitration (Bulletin, April 2004). However, I am disappointed in the lack of alternatives presented by our faculty associations in the need and opportunity for Canadian faculty and students presented by new models of education. It is true that distance education systems can be (but are not necessarily) built on industrial models that move university teaching beyond individual craft production to models that employ specialized labour in addition to that of an individual faculty member. In such cases it is hardly fair for academics to claim sole ownership of the works jointly created by a team of professionals. CMS Foundation Seeks Program Feedback The Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation is holding a series of country-wide public consultations on the future of its bursary program. Workplace Safety Bought with a Price Both of my grandfathers immigrated to Pennsylvania in the 1890s when they were young boys of nine and 10 years old. They were sent by their families in Italy and Eastern Europe to find a better life in the U.S. They lived with relatives who worked in the anthracite coal mines. The youngsters worked in the coal breakers to earn money to help their families. "Breaker boys" sat astride chutes that carried coal down from a machine that dry cleaned, crushed and sorted the coal. The boys had the task of picking out rock, slate and other refuse from the passing stream of coal. It was very common for the breaker boys to be swept down the chutes and lose their lives.1 If the boys survived until they were about 14 or so, they were taken on underground to start their careers as miners, where they worked until they retired or died. Very few retired. Students Welcome Tuition Freezes Student groups in Manitoba and Ontario found themselves praising their provincial governments last month. York University Draws Criticism Delegates to CAUT Council voted overwhelmingly to express criticism of York University for its failure to provide prompt legal assistance to a political scientist at the university served with a libel notice by an Ontario cabinet minister. New Executive Assistant CAUT has appointed Cynthia Wagner to the position of executive assistant, communications and information Council Highlights UBC's Clinical Faculty Association Joins CAUT Best News Stories Win Prizes The works of Canadian journalists Ann Dowsett Johnston and Eric Warwaruk have earned them the CAUT Awards for Excellence in Post-Secondary Education Journalism this year. Campuses: Four More Certification Drives The winter term saw a flurry of organizing activity on Canadian campuses. Four faculty associations held successful certification drives and are now waiting for labour board processes to unfold. Tuition Hikes Driving Up Debt Rising tuition fees have led to an explosion in student debt in recent years, according to a new study released in April by Statistics Canada.