U of O students take another break

Students at the University of Ottawa will now have a fall reading week in addition to a winter break.

The university’s Senate approved the decision, making it one of only a handful of universities to offer a fall break.

“I think it’s a good idea to give students a mental health break in the middle of the semester,” Seamus Wolfe, president of the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa, told the Ottawa Citizen. “For students in their first year, it’s a big change. It allows them a chance to clear their heads.”

The break applies to most undergraduate and graduate faculties and will run this year from October 24 to 30.—Tim Legault

Source: Ottawa Citizen

To the Bat Cave!

The ROM will receive $2.75 million from Ottawa to help construct new galleries for Byzantium and Rome, and to reopen the Bat Cave on Feb. 27 after it was closed for renovation last month.

Federal transport and infrastructure minister John Baird, who called the ROM “one of the jewels of Toronto,” made the funding announcement on Jan. 12.

The Bat Cave, a replica of Jamaica’s St. Clair Cave, is “the biggest attraction at the ROM,” said Dan Rahimi, the ROM’s vice president of gallery development. Rahimi said the Bat Cave will be “new and spookier.”

The ROM has over 6,000 objects in its Rome collection that have not been on exhibition in eight years. They will be displayed in almost 6,000 square feet of gallery space, with the Byzantine gallery at around 2,000 square feet. The new galleries are expected to open in 2011.—Meghan McCabe

Source: National Post

CSU says feds mismanaged grants in Quebec

The Concordia Students’ Union is attacking the federal government for withholding Quebec’s portion of funds from the Canadian Student Grant Program.

Students in Quebec have not seen any financial assistance from the $350 million used to replace the Canadian Millennium Scholarship Foundation after it dissolved in 2008.

Grant money began to be distributed to the rest of the country last fall. The CSU is accusing the federal government of “mismanagement.”

The CSGP is responsible for distributing non-repayable grants whenever a student applies for a national student loan.

The main reason Quebec students have not yet received funding from the CSGP is because Quebec has opted out of the Canada Students Loan Program since 1964, according to Human Resources and Skills Development Canada. Instead, the province receives a payment from Ottawa for student financial assistance six months after the end of the loan year.

CSU president Amine Dabchy said Quebec students are entitled to $100 million, and expressed concerns that the feds are trying to negotiate with Quebec to give less than the full amount.

“It’s not true. The Government of Canada will be making a payment to the Government of Québec to compensate for actual costs incurred in the preceding loan year (August to July),” the HRSDC wrote in an email to Maclean’s.—Carolyn Arnett

Source: Maclean’s