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CAUT Bulletin Archives

May 2016

Journalists recognized for reporting of pay scandal & student poverty

Rachael Grant & Jonathan Sher were honoured at CAUT Council in Ottawa April 30, 2016.
Rachael Grant & Jonathan Sher were honoured at CAUT Council in Ottawa April 30, 2016.
Each year, CAUT honours two journalists — one student and one professional — for outstanding reporting on issues related to post-secondary education.

This year’s award celebrating journalism excellence in the student category was picked up by Rachael Grant for her article “Postsecondary on an Empty Stomach: The Rise of Student Poverty in Canada,” published in the Aug. 18, 2015 edition of the Camosun College student newspaper Nexus.

“By talking to a wide range of people Rachael traced how student poverty relates to rising tuition and housing costs, to inadequate student loan systems, to underemployment and low minimum wages, and social support infrastructure,” CAUT president Robin Vose told delegates at CAUT’s Council meeting April 30 before presenting the award. “These are important points for our universities and governments, and the public at large, to hear and understand.”

Grant said she was honoured in receiving the award. “It is truly humbling to be recognized for my writing by a national organization and on a topic so close to my heart,” she said. “It reinforces that activism within the realms of quality and accessible post-secondary education is well worth the time and effort.”

London Free Press reporter Jonathan Sher grabbed top honours in the professional category for his series on the controversial compensation contract of Western University president Amit Chakma.

“Jonathan played a central role in bringing an unfair situation to light, and in following the denouement of the story through protest demonstrations, votes of non-confidence and resignations,” Vose said while presenting the award.

“I would like to thank CAUT for this award,” Sher said during his acceptance speech, “and more important, for the critical work it has done since 1951 to defend academic freedom and improve the quality of post-secondary education.”

He also acknowledged the work of the University of Western Ontario Faculty Association “for their vigilance advocating for a school community in which the voices and interests of faculty, staff and students are heard and respected.

“In the course of my investigation, countless faculty approached me with a shared concern: How can we restore collegial and accountable governance to Western? While my work cast a brief spotlight on those efforts, their vigilance continues.”