The Ring

Around the ring

100 UVic People Who Care: upcoming dates

100 UVic People Who Care is an opportunity for current UVic faculty and staff to come together to raise funds for UVic community-based projects. Those interested will be asked to commit $100 (and receive a tax receipt) to support these worthwhile programs.

The idea is to encourage a spirit of philanthropy and community where there have been few opportunities in the past. One hundred people who care, $100 each, 4 times/year = $40,000/year supporting important community-based projects.

Date and location

On March 31 at 12:30 p.m. in the Bob Wright Centre, room A104, faculty and staff are invited to hear about wonderful community-based projects at UVic and to celebrate these works with colleagues. The event will be hosted by Dr. Leslie Brown, Director of the Institute for Studies and Innovation in Community-University Engagement.

Send projects for consideration to Lynne Milnes, Development & External Relations Officer, at

Read about the inaugural session on Dec. 14, 2014.

Students win a seat on regional transit board

The UVSS passed another transit milestone in February, winning a nonvoting seat on the Victoria Regional Transit Commission.

"Students are excited to sit at the table with local mayors and councillors as partners in delivering better public transit in Greater Victoria," said UVSS Director of External Relations Greg Atkinson. "We have a vested interest in improving transit in every area of the region and we share this interest with all members of the Commission."

Together, UVic and Camosun student societies represent over 36,000 student members—the largest ridership demographic and stakeholder in the CRD. The latest transit success is part of a longstanding tradition of student activism, which also drove the 1976 pilot and formal 1999 establishment of the U-PASS system. U-PASS is a major sustainability achievement that provides transit passes to UVic and Camosun students, contributing $5.4 million to public transit each year.

The UVic Family Centre at 20

On April 1, the UVic Family Centre will celebrate its 20th birthday. The Family Centre recognizes the specific needs of families where one or more members is a student. They are proud to celebrate 20 years of offering a welcoming space for families to connect, learn and play together. Their goal is to make everyone feel at home whether they have come to UVic from near or far. Programs include early learning for children under five, clubs for schoolaged children, parent discussion groups, and information, referral and support services. The Family Centre is also a place for study and research. The April 1 celebration will take place from 4:30-6:30 p.m. at the centre, 2375 Lam Circle, and will include refreshments, face painting, crafts and games.

March 2015 Campus Plan update

The first phase of the process to update UVic’s official Campus Plan received excellent engagement and input from the campus and the surrounding community.

The 2003 Campus Plan is being updated to provide a refreshed vision, guidelines and direction for future campus development, in topics such as building placement and parameters, transportation, and open and natural spaces. It also plays a key role in supporting the university’s academic priorities and commitments to sustainability.

Engaging with the campus community and the public is critical to the success of the process. There were a number of engagement activities through January and February as part of Phase 1 of the engagement plan.  A mobile booth display, placed in high visibility locations around campus during the week of Jan. 13-16, provided information on the current Campus Plan and the update process. It asked students, faculty and staff for ideas that would enhance how the future campus could better function as a place of learning, teaching and research.

This was followed by a speakers event on Jan. 28, featuring lectures by Dr. Eric Higgs, associate professor with the School of Environmental Studies, and Antonio Gomez-Palacio, a national expert on urban and campus planning. Dr. Higgs organized his presentation on the themes of learning matters, ecology matters and planning matters and their importance in preparing a Campus Plan. Ten sources of inspiration, including new ways of learning, mobility and active living were outlined by Mr. Gomez-Palacio in his talk. The audience included both campus community members and some members of the public.

The main engagement events on February 4th, the Ideas Forum and Ideas Workshop, attracted over 300 attendees who contributed more than 1000 comments about the campus. The public and campus community were invited to come to Open House sessions at the Student Union Building, while a focused workshop in the afternoon, with faculty, staff, students and community representatives explored more specific themes and priorities.

Some of the more popular topics of the conversations focused on:

  • Preference for increased density to minimize building footprints and the impacts on natural areas;
  • The high value placed on open space and natural areas as they present rich educational opportunities, make the campus attractive and impact our sense of identity;
  • The need for increased opportunities for social activities throughout the week, to increase the vibrancy on campus;
  • A desire for more weather-protected outdoor areas to allow broader use of existing open spaces;
  • The need to accommodate more students in residence on campus;
  • Prioritizing cycling, walking, and transit, with suggestions for separate bike lanes and reducing traffic on Ring Road.

These were just a few of the many topics that generated lively discussions, loads of ideas and a lot of friendly debates. An online survey and photo contest also enabled idea-sharing through digital formats.

All of the input collected is now being organized and compiled into an engagement report that will be reviewed by the Campus Planning Committee. The report will guide the development of concepts, options and possible directions for the draft updated Campus Plan. A second set of engagement events will be held to present the draft plan and gather feedback and further input from the campus and public. 

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.