The release of the province’s annual “Sunshine List” of top public sector earners has revealed that U of T’s highest paid staff is William Moriarty, president and chief executive officer for the University of Toronto Asset Management Corporation (UTAM). This year, Moriarty earned $655,995.00, a 6.2 per cent decrease from the last year’s chart-topping $697,020.00.Moriarty joined the UTAM in 2008, where he was responsible for overseeing investments with the university’s sizeable endowment. In the global financial crisis that same year, its hedge fund investments lost the university $528.1 million. This led to cutbacks in faculties that relied on endowed teaching positions, as well as endowed bursaries and grants.Kent Womack, a professor of finance and Manulife Chair in Financial Services, was the second highest earner with $560,928.04, a $359,928 or 179 per cent increase from $201,000.04. Glen Whyte, a professor of organizational behaviour, followed at $396,521.48.To cap off the top five, Catharine Isobel Whiteside, dean of the faculty of medicine, raked in $392,182.51. Joel Baum, an associate dean of faculty and professor of strategic management, earned $389,956.02.David Naylor, president of U of T, came in with sixth place at $384,250.50.“The performance of every faculty member is assessed on an annual basis, and increases are based on that merit assessment, as well as on negotiated across-the-board settlements,” said Laurie Stephens, a spokesperson for the administration in an email response.Stephens pointed out that U of T’s faculty has won 21.7 per cent of Canada’s most prestigious research awards, despite representing less than seven per cent of all Canadian professors.“As one of the world’s top-ranked research universities, U of T must offer competitive salaries to attract and retain talented faculty,” she said.James Nugent, former chief spokesperson for CUPE 3902 Unit 1, said he had “mixed feelings” about the public release of the list, although he agrees professors should be compensated depending on the quality of their research.Nugent was particularly critical of the wage disparity between administrators and post-graduate students.He referred specifically to last month’s collective agreement deal, which set post-graduate workers wage increase for the next year at 1.75 per cent. This, Nugent pointed out, is not enough to keep up with rising cost of living with a 3.1 per cent inflation rate.“You have someone like the provost [Cheryl Misak] giving herself a 4.1 per cent [salary] increase while at the same time coming to the bargaining table telling us that this is tough times for the university financially,” Nugent said. “It strikes me as very hypocritical.”Danielle Sandhu, president of the UTSU, expressed concern regarding the wage discrepancies on the list. “The data in the [sunshine list] suggests a significant and potentially growing disparity between administrators and faculty, and a disparity between faculty members in different fields,” she said in an email response. “The numbers challenge the idea that the administration does not have the money to provide fair wages to all staff and instructors.”Nugent tends to agree. “The very same people that are forcing the lowest paid workers to decrease their wages in real terms, are giving themselves 4, 6, 9 per cent wage increases, which is unacceptable.”
Meet the 1 per cent
Investments overseer tops list, while finance prof reaps 179 percent increase
Profs: academic freedom at risk
Fears of undue donor influence prompt calls for censure of universities
Less than a year after the protest against Peter Munk’s donation to build the Munk School of Global Affairs, agreements between three Ontario universities and a private thinktank chaired by former RIM co-CEO Jim Balsillie have brought questions of academic freedom again to the fore.The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) is seeking to censure York University, the University of Waterloo, and Wilfrid Laurier University over concerns that the institutions’ partnerships with Balsillie’s Waterloo-based Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) may threaten academic integrity.“The [York–CIGI] agreement is the most egregious we’ve seen,” said Robert Ramsay, professional officer at CAUT.York’s $60-million agreement will see CIGI contributing $30 million over the next 10 years to create an international law program with 10 research chairs and 20 graduate scholarships at the university. The other $30 million will come from the Ontario government.CAUT argued that the York–CIGI agreement, signed in August 2011, offers the thinktank an “unprecedented level of influence” over the recruitment process and the priorities of the program.The agreement states that CIGI will appoint two of the program’s five-member steering committee, which is responsible for “establishing the specific financial terms and expectations for each of the chairs, including their research plans and research support.”York must only appoint or renew chairs recommended by the steering committee, according to the agreement. All decisions require unanimous approval by the committee.Fred Kuntz, CIGI’s vice-president of public affairs, adamantly rejected CAUT’s claims and denied that the thinktank has veto power over the academic matters of the program.“The reason we want to partner with universities is because of their free and independent thought. If we weren’t interested in academic freedom, we wouldn’t go near universities,” he said.Following the agreement, CIGI and York established protocols outlining that both the protection of academic freedom and recruitment process of the program will be governed by York’s existing policies, according to Kuntz.CAUT’s academic freedom and tenure committee put forth the censure motion, which seeks to initiate academic boycott. Despite extensive media coverage of the faculty union’s rare move, Ramsay said there is a chance a formal censure could be avoided.CAUT’s executive committee will consider the censure motion on April 26 and decide whether to initiate a six-month-long process, during which it can work with different parties involved.“Only if that negotiation over six months is not fruitful would the question of actually imposing the censure come before the council in November,” Ramsay explained. “There is a chance the problem will be solved.”Kuntz said while CIGI is expecting opposition, it remains optimistic about the outcome.“Partnerships are always somewhat more difficult than just working in isolation, but the rewards are greater too.”While both York faculty and the media sift through the discrepancies between CIGI’s and CAUT’s arguments, the finance of the agreement is also being called into question.A recent commentary by Osgoode Hall tax law professor Neil Brooks, circulated amongst disgruntled York faculty and CAUT members, shows that as much as 83 per cent of the funds to the York–CIGI collaboration could come from public money once tax credits available to Balsillie are taken into account.Brooks wrote that Balsillie’s $30-million contribution would cost him $16 million, after deducting 46 per cent of charitable tax credit. A large contribution like this is usually made not in cash, but in shares of publicly traded corporations, which, Brooks suggests, would likely be RIM shares. When such shares are donated, the capital gains tax on these shares — estimated to be $6 to $7 million — will be forgiven.“In sum, the actual cost to Mr. Balsillie is likely about $10 million. The remainder of the $60 million contribution comes from Canadian taxpayers,” Brooks wrote.Kuntz rejected the idea that the fund is a donation to York and said, although Balsillie is the founder and chair, CIGI, a registered charity, relies on donations from many other donors.“There’s so much misinformation circulating,” he said. “It’s not about Jim Balsillie. It’s about an organization that’s trying to do something great … Something we are trying to build in Canada is being put at risk.”CIGI also launched the Balsillie School of International Affairs in 2007 in a three-way partnership with Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier.Kuntz also suggested that CAUT has been running “a campaign of untruth” in an effort to unionize university teachers, especially those from the University of Waterloo.“I don’t like how a union cynically distorts the truth and launches a campaign of lies to increase its membership,” Kuntz said. “I’m sorry, but that’s evil.”
University backtracks on primate ban
Admin: university to support primate research in the future
The University of Toronto appears to have reversed its ban on the use of primates in research.Last month, the university spoke out on the use of non-human primates for scientific research in response to student complaints regarding the ethical treatment of two macaques.Peter Lewis, associate vice president, research for U of T, told the Toronto Star that the macaques were the university’s “very last ‘non-human’ primates.” At the time, Lewis seemed to indicate that the university had no intention of using any more, as technology now allows resaerchers to get the same information from smaller animals.Lewis indicated otherwise in a recent email to the international journal Nature.“If a proposed research project at U of T required the use of non-human primates and was scientifically and ethically justified, then we would endeavour to support it,”After being questioned about the seeming contradiction, Lewis responded that his comments had been generalized from a specific situation. The premeditated euthanasia of two macaques at the end of a seven-year study spun into a pronouncement on the permanent use of non-human primates in research at U of T.Lewis explains that the two macaques were the last non-human primates at U of T on campus. At the moment, there are no more studies planned that will require non-human primates.“We are not stating that in the future we will never use non-human primates. We are simply stating that we have no plans at the moment,” he clarified.With regard to the use of smaller animals, Lewis said that the researchers that had been using the two macaques previously were capable of continuing their work on smaller animals, like rats and mice, thanks to advances in technology.“Again, this has been generalized by the media to ‘all studies with non-human primates could be done on rodents,’” said Lewis.Lewis pointed out that there are many types of research that require the use of non-human primates but that “our researchers are not engaged in any of them at the moment.”The Canadian Council on Animal Care (CCAC) policy statement on the ethics of animal investigation determines whether research involving primates is “scientifically and ethically justified,” as Lewis promises.Although U of T faces pressure to rethink the use of non-human primates from activists citing ethical concerns, the university is not in violation of any laws.CCAC guidelines and the Ontario Animals for Research Act specify the conditions for housing non-human primates for research studies. According to Lewis, the university adheres to these guidelines and is fully accredited. The university received CCAC accreditation most recently in 2010.
New round of disqualifications rocks UTSU election
Appeals, re-appeals continue weeks after preliminary results announced
A trio of candidates seeking New College seats on the UTSU board of directors have been disqualified once again on charges of campaigning inside student residences.Baliqis Hashiru, Khalid Khan, and Ali Mustafa Bello received nine demerit points Friday in a ruling on an appeal submitted by opponent Craig Maniscalco.Hashiru, Khan, and Bello were disqualified earlier in the election along with 22 other Unity candidates, only to be requalified less then 24 hours later.“It’s great to have our concerns addressed,” said Maniscalco. “It took them thirteen days to address my appeals,” he added. Maniscalco received a response from Elections and Referenda Committee chair Clara Ho, after hearing nothing from chief returning officer Daniel Lo for almost two weeks.In the ERC ruling, Unity candidates received four demerit points for postering within six metres of the Wilson Hall residence.They also received five points for campaigning with six metres of Chestnut residence. Chief returning officer for Chestnut residence Gerrit Van de Riet had originally submitted a complaint, which CRO Daniel Lo never responded to.Lo explained to Maniscalco in an email that he had dealt with Van de Riet’s complaint in a single ruling.“Lo never responded to Gerrit’s email,” said Maniscalco. “It is pretty frustrating when you consider that they managed to turn it around in 24 hours when Unity candidates were about to be disqualified,” said Maniscalco.The ERC ruled Friday to separate the complaints.The disqualification means that the Familiar Faces slate — Craig Maniscalco, Laurel Chester, and Justin Charlick — will fill all of New College’s seats on the UTSU board of directors, barring a reversal of Friday’s ruling by the Elections and Referenda Appeals Committee.Earlier in the week, a “major calculation error” discovered by Familiar Faces led to a recount of New College, St. Michael’s College, and Engineering constituencies.The new tally resulted in Laurel Chester prevailing over Hashiru, even before the latest round of disqualifications. In the first count, she lost by three votes, but once the error was corrected, she won by seven votes.“I’m really excited,” said Chester. “I wanted to run with the Familiar Faces slate because I find there is a huge disconnect between college councils and the UTSU.”In a separate ruling issued Friday, all Unity candidates received five demerit points for “intentional misrepresentation of fact” by claiming that they won an increase to the Ontario Student Opportunity Grant this year. The increase took place in 2010.The Unity candidates are appealing the decision to the Elections and Referenda Appeals Committee (ERAC), which will hear arguments on Monday at 2 pm. The ERAC has previously thrown out several rulings made by the ERC.
Online voting takes off?
U of T testing the waters with e-voting, though fears of hacking, crashes, and delays dissaude some
Efforts to digitize elections continued this year with widespread experiments in online voting and campaigning. But the process has been rocky, and some question whether the rush to adopt online polling will expose elections to security flaws.Supporters consider online voting a silver bullet against historically low rates of voter turnout on campus. The question has become how much of the electoral process can be carried out securely in cyberspace.Woodsworth, Victoria, and Trinity are just a few of the colleges that have cautiously experimented with online voting systems in recent years. Rotman commerce students also vote online through the Rotman Web Portal, while university-administered elections for various positions and groups have also made the leap online at www.voting.utoronto.ca or under the “Elections” tab on ROSI.The largest and most closely watched campus election — for the University of Toronto Students’ Union — is bucking the trend and shying away from even the future prospect of online voting.In November 2011, on the advice of chief returning officer Daniel Lo, the Elections and Referenda Committee and the UTSU board of directors struck a provision from the electoral code that could eventually have enabled online voting.Director Michael Scott, a vocal critic of the move, listed off the many apparent benefits of online voting.Scott said that the online system is more convenient, less expensive, and easier to administer than paper ballots, and voting hours can be extended at no additional cost.However, what Scott acknowledged as “legitimate security concerns” have become the major stumbling block in the push online.“Online voting is not only easily compromised but unreliable,” said Corey Scott, vice-president internal and services at the UTSU, pointing to the frequent blackouts that plague ROSI during course registration and previous difficulties at Woodsworth College, which has used online voting for several years.In March 2010, Rotman students were required to re-cast their votes after administrators uncovered five separate incidents of fraud.Trinity College, which debuted an online voting system this year, has experienced several mishaps, including a benign hacker who contacted administrators to report a major security error. The college has settled on a system of having scrutineers manually check hard copies of all votes cast online in order to ensure the integrity of the system.Madeline Burkhardt-Jones, chief returning officer at Trinity College, said that this year saw a huge increase in voter turnout, up to 20 per cent. But she also described some of the difficulties of pioneering an online system: emails with unique voter IDs accidentally deleted or absent-minded students forgetting to vote without the physical polling station to remind them.At the University of Western Ontario (UWO), the implementation of online voting saw the highest turnout ever, up to 50 per cent of the student body. However, the system was also hacked, forcing a recount. The alleged hacker, Keith Horwood, is not a student at UWO and has since been charged on four different counts.“I’m not magic, I’m not a superhero, I just happened to recognize the vulnerability and knew what to do with it,” Horwood told UWO’s Gazette.Still, Michael Scott believes it is possible to “work to improve security instead of scrapping the idea entirely.”“Internet banking and ROSI already involve the transfer of similarly sensitive information online, yet we accept that the benefits in these cases outweigh the costs,” he pointed out.
ASSU incumbents returned to office
First “hotly contested” election in years
Katharine Ball has been re-elected for a second term as president of the Arts and Science Students Union (ASSU), with a clear mandate.“It’s really great to finally be elected,” said Ball after her victory.Ball was acclaimed to the position of president last year and also acclaimed as an executive member the year before. “I appreciated the chance to be judged by my peers and to discuss my ideas during the election,” she said.Ball received 30 votes while runner-up Manisha Kaura, who currently serves on the ASSU executive, received seven.“The results are quite surprising,” said Kaura, after the vote took place. “I thought people would really respond to my platform.”Kaura ran on a platform that included abolishing the presidential honorarium of $10,000 and redistributing the funds to research grants and scholarships.Attempts by student politicians to highlight what they claim are bloated executive salaries have found little traction with voters. A group named “Stop the Salaries” appeared last fall (in which Kaura was not involved) and failed to win its pet cause any serious attention in the recently-concluded UTSU elections.Unlike the UTSU elections, in which any student member can vote, the ASSU election uses course union executives as proxies to determine the executive.“There are 50 course unions, each with two votes, so in theory there should be 100 people in the room,” said Lanor Mallon, chief returning officer for the election.Kaura confirmed she will seek office again in the fall, when elections for the remainder of the ASSU executive are scheduled to take place.“This election has certainly been more hotly contested then those in the past few years,” said Mallon.ASSU elections have been relatively calm of late. After an election scandal three years ago, university administration stepped in, withholding student fees until sufficient electoral reforms had been instituted. The intervention was staged after The Varsity published evidence proving ballot-stuffing and voter fraud on the part of the incumbents.“There is an excellent set of guidelines that has been produced since the problematic elections three years ago,” said Mallon. “There have been no similar issues this election,” he explained.In addition to the presidential elections, four executive-at-large positions were also filled.Incumbent ASSU executive members Shawn Tian, Onaizah Onaizah, and Sarah Ball (Katharine’s younger sister) were all re-elected for a second term.“I’m not sure what to say; I feel really happy right now,” said Tian.“For me, ASSU is a community. It’s a friendly place to come by any time,” said Onaizah.Sarah Ball vowed to continue her efforts to provide “outreach to our most marginalized students.”Joining the slate of incumbent executives is Megan O’Neil, current president of the Canadian Studies Students’ Union. O’Neil ran on a platform of improving the relationship between course unions and ASSU executive.“I would really love to have a course union social, to meet each other, to network and really get us off to the races at the beginning of the year,” said O’Neil.Shaun Shepherd, UTSU president-elect, addressed the room while votes were tabulated.“I want to congratulate everyone for being here,” said Shepherd. “It takes a lot of courage to run for a position. By encouraging students to get involved in unions and their own education, we can create a better university for all.”
Aisha Raja tells her story
How one student combats the stereotype of an “‘exotic Muslim woman.’”
“I don’t only want to be seen as the Muslim girl who wears the hijab,” says third-year student, Aisha Raja. “There’s more to my identity than just that.”Troubled by other students’ negative perceptions of Muslim women, Raja’s studies in ethics, society, and law have encouraged her participation in dialogues aimed to counteract these stereotypes.
Lounging in her chair at Trinity’s Buttery Café, she reminisces about incidents that have impacted her experience at U of T.In her first year, after leaving her close-knit suburban community, she found herself among the many strangers populating U of T’s large lecture halls — an intimidating experience shared by many St. George students.To take part in U of T’s vibrant community and to meet new people, she became involved in the Muslim Students’ Association.“Its hard to connect with everyone on campus,” Raja points out. “But through the MSA, I met different groups and it gave me the resources to get involved in other campus organizations and cultural and religious groups.”Her dedication led her to become MSA’s vice president of social advancement. In this position, Raja organizes social justice initiatives which present positive images of Muslim students at U of T, such as the MSA-run orphan sponsorship program.Despite her successes, unfortunately, she says that some members of U of T’s community are still determined to associate her with the stereotype of an “‘exotic Muslim woman.’”“I feel like when I am doing other things, people focus on ‘It’s a Muslim girl doing this,’ not a Canadian,” she says. “People don’t assume I’m Canadian; they ask where I’m from and will genuinely believe I’m from somewhere else, like Saudi Arabia.”Raja’s experiences facing stereotypes extends to encounters with students who believe that Muslim women are denied the right to education.As she expressed her outrage against these misconceptions, her voice grew louder.“Obviously there are the general stereotypes that Muslim women are very restricted in what they are allowed to do. But education is a value that is emphasized in Islam,” Raja stresses.She believes that the media influences students’ perceptions through images of burqa-clad women instead of female Muslim leaders.However, Raja says that the media is not the only perpetrator of these stereotypes. She mentions that there are some professors at U of T who reinforce images of oppressed Muslim women to students, contributing to the misconceptions.To illustrate her point, Raja talks about professors who display images of women in burqas to represent gender inequality. She argues that it is wrong to assume that a person’s religion determines their social position.“You can’t just assume that practices in Afghanistan are what are attributed to all Muslims,” says Raja adamantly.Nonetheless, she admits that these stereotypes impact her contributions to class discussions. Occasionally, she censors her statements because she doesn’t want her comments to be accredited to her religious beliefs.“Sometimes I’m the only person wearing a hijab in class — I have to be careful what I say because it will be attributed to the ‘Muslim girl in the class’ and not necessarily as Aisha Raja’s opinion,” she explains.Although she commends the university for accommodating Muslim students with prayer spaces and other resources, Raja believes that there’s still work to be done so that students and faculty recognize that a person’s faith is not the sole determinant of his or her identity.
Canadian Music Week 2012
Photos by Ryan Kelpin
CMW Indie Awards
Now in its 30th year, Canadian Music Week features over 80 bands across 60 venues in five nights, along with film screenings, a comedy festival, and a final awards ceremony. Caught in between SXSW and NXNE, it’s the fest that people love to hate, but with live performances by The Sheepdogs, Passion Pit, and Rich Aucoin (confetti cannon included), we weren’t complaining (too much). Assunta Alegiani fills us in on the CMW Indie Awards showcase.(more…)