Canadian university briefs

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Students okay with tuition increases, budget cuts: study
Tannara Yelland –– CUP Prairies & Northern Bureau Chief

SASKATOON (CUP) –– When students know their university is facing a budget crisis, they are willing to accept both tuition increases and budget cuts, according to a new study.

Higher Education Strategy Associates found that when asked to consider a university’s situation in dealing with a budget crisis, most students are willing to see their tuition rise.

Slightly more than 50 per cent of students responding would accept an increase in tuition between $3,000 and $9,000. Only one student in six said they wanted tuition frozen at any cost.

Over one third of students would accept a five per cent tuition increase if it were coupled with budget cuts of 7.5 per cent, and another third said a tuition increase of 10 per cent and budget cuts of five per cent would be acceptable.

Given these facts, it seems strange that students would greet each tuition increase or budget cut with anger, though they frequently do. Perhaps, then, the issue is one of awareness. If students do not realize their institution is in a dire financial situation, they may think they are simply being cheated out of money they feel they need more than their school does. 

Changes to referendum rules, UVSS membership discussed at CFS meeting
Briana Hill –– CUP Ottawa Bureau Chief

OTTAWA (CUP) –– Delegates from across the country discussed campaigns, referenda and a new Day of Action as they helped determine the direction the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) will take over the next six months at their semi-annual national general meeting held in Gatineau, Q.C., from May 31 to June 3.

Opening and closing plenaries were generally friendly in tone, and member locals presented a collaborative approach to the issues dealt with over the course of the meeting.

A marked departure from the relative cohesiveness of the meeting was the recognition of the University of Victoria Student Society’s (UVSS) referendum on decertification from the federation.

Ratification of the referendum is pending the payment of outstanding fees which the UVSS understands to be membership fees for the 2010–11 academic year up to June 30.

Some changes to CFS membership referendum rules also successfully passed, including a motion presented by the York Federation of Students to eliminate the referendum oversight committee and replace it with a chief returning officer.

Previously, an individual referendum oversight committee was struck each time a referendum was held on a university or college campus and was composed of two people from the campus’ student association or member local and two people appointed by the CFS.

Researchers link unemployment to longer life
Bree Mantha –– The Cord (Wilfrid Laurier University)

WATERLOO, Ont. (CUP) –– Despite the apparent downsides to unemployment, two Wilfrid Laurier University professors have found that unemployed Canadians may in fact live longer.

Hideki Ariizumi and Tammy Schirle of the university’s economics department have compiled a study based on over 30 years of data.

“The project was actually done very quickly,” said Schirle, who noted the two had already been working on a project examining the correlation between unemployment and mortality.

“No one had touched on the Canadian side yet,” Ariizumi said.

When the pair discovered this, they turned their attention specifically to Canadian statistics. Schirle and Ariizumi found that during times of recession, mortality rates of middle-aged Canadians were exceptionally low.

When asked to identify a cause, the professors named numerous factors.

“People [have] fewer car accidents during recessions,,” Schirle explained. “They aren’t driving, drinking, or partying as much. All these things lead to lower mortality rates.”

Other contributing factors included individuals tending to spend less money on fast food and cigarettes and finding more time for leisurely exercise. Numerous studies have also found that unemployed people sleep more.

In other countries, research has shown that heart disease decreases during times of recession.

“The biggest difference between the U.S. and the Canadian data we found was that while in the U.S., in seniors, mortality rates drop during recessions,” Schirle explained. “We don’t get that in Canada.”

She and Ariizumi attributed this to Canada’s health care system.

“It brings light to the importance of Canada’s health care institutions, keeping Canadians healthy regardless of what kind of economy we’re in,” she said.

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