The Ring

Around the ring

UVic gives thanks Oct. 3-9

The lead-up to Thanksgiving is a perfect time to acknowledge what makes the UVic experience so great, as well as the many people behind that experience.

From Oct. 3-9, UVic’s Student Ambassadors and Donor Relations teams are asking the campus community to celebrate the impact of donors and volunteers through #UVicGivesThanks—a philanthropy awareness week.

Kick things off at Project Serve Day where alumni and students volunteer shoulder to shoulder for local organizations as a way of giving back to our community.

Then, join us Oct. 7-8 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at the Petch Fountain for the first ever UVic Thank-a-thon. This event is your chance to personally thank a donor for contributing to UVic, by funding student awards, filling shelves in the library, helping build a world-class sports facility and countless other ways.

Every student award recipient will have the opportunity to write or bring a letter of thanks for the donor of their award. In addition, our goal is to mail 700 postcards—filled with messages of thanks from staff, faculty and students—to other members of the UVic donor community. When you write or bring your thank you notes and snap a photo with the Canada Post replica mail box, you’ll get free goodies. It’s our way of thanking you for saying thank you.

Throughout the rest of the week the Student Ambassadors will be spreading thanks and recognition around campus and on social media using #UVicGivesThanks. Participate by telling us what you’re grateful for at UVic and sharing your messages of thanks.

President's submission to the BC finance committee

On Sept. 15, UVic President Jamie Cassels gave a presentation to the BC Legislature's Committee on Finance and Government Services as part of pre-budget consultations. In his presentation Cassels highlighted six key policy recommendations—including stable research funding, the reintroduction of a provincial graduate scholarship program and restoration of capital funding—as highly important to maintain quality post-secondary education across the province and at UVic.

Read the full report (pdf)

Six weeks of welcome

Orientation events have already begun for the fall. Keep an eye out for various events and activities on campus to welcome new and returning students, including Graduate Student Orientation (Sept. 4, beginning at the University Centre), Family Orientation (Sept. 6 outside Cadboro Commons), the President’s Welcome Barbecue (see below), UVSS Campus Kickoff (Sept. 9–12), Thunderfest (Sept. 11, noon–4 p.m. in front of the SUB) and more.

A related story about Sexualized Violence Awareness Week also appears this week, and the new orientation app is linked from

Five-year capital plan approved

The university’s five-year capital plan was approved at the June 29th Board of Governors meeting. The plan, which is updated each year, outlines the major capital priorities (greater than $5 million) for the campus including projects to address space pressures as well as deferred building maintenance. The capital priorities for the university include the following:

  • Student housing expansion and renewal;
  • Business and Economics Building expansion;
  • Fraser and Petch Building renewal;
  • Elliot Science teaching laboratory upgrades; and
  • Campus seismic program (Clearihue, MacLaurin, Elliot Lecture Theatre and the University Centre Auditorium).

As well as the above capital projects, planning work will continue over the next two years to develop a plan to address academic space pressures in engineering and computer science, science and social sciences. The full report can be viewed at

Beyond the ring

Academics object to Bill C-51

More than 100 Canadian academics, including five UVic law and political science professors, have signed an open letter to Members of Parliament objecting to the draft government anti-terrorism act known as Bill C-51. Key objections include the open-ended nature of proposed CSIS powers, lack of oversight to balance enhanced powers, and the potential criminalization of legitimate expressions of dissent. 

Strikes at York, University of Toronto

The Toronto Star is estimating that more than 100,000 students in Toronto have had classes disrupted by strikes at York University and the University of Toronto. York facilities will remain open but nearly all classes, exams and academic activities were cancelled after teaching assistants and contract professors rejected the most recent university offer on March 2. 

CUPE 3903 Chair Faiz Ahmed told the Star that contract faculty teach 64 per cent of York’s undergraduate courses, and called for his members to “be assigned to courses for up to three years at a time, not just be slotted in on short notice which can hurt the quality of education.”

Meanwhile, at UofT, contract faculty reached a tentative deal, but 6,000 striking teaching and lab assistants walked off the job on Feb. 27. Media reports suggest that the majority of undergraduate marking at UofT is now done by graduate students, and that the central impasse was a failure to raise a $15,000 income floor for the TAs.

Finals disrupted at UNBC?

Concern is mounting that final exams could be disrupted at Prince George and other UNBC campuses (including some courses at Langara College). UNBC’s Faculty Association issued a 72-hour strike notice on Monday, March 2. Negotiations have been ongoing since November, focusing on issues of tenure, promotion and salary.

ONC data now spans all three Canadian coasts

Ocean Networks Canada (ONC) has expanded its footprint across Canada with the launch of a new collaboration with the Fundy Ocean Research Centre for Energy on the Atlantic coast, in addition to established observatories on the Pacific coast and in the Arctic. ONC was also prominently featured in a Globe and Mail article last Saturday on innovation leaders in BC.