Canadian University Press briefs

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Studies suggest wage gaps persist on Prairie campuses
Universities of Calgary, Manitoba singled out in two studies

Tannara Yelland
CUP Prairies & Northern Bureau Chief

SASKATOON (CUP) — In the wake of two recent studies, Canadian universities are being encouraged to look at wage equality between their male and female instructors.

Professors Laura Brown, Elizabeth Troutt, and Susan Prentice of the University of Manitoba conducted an independent study of wage equality at their institution, titled, “Ten Years After: Sex and Salaries at a Canadian University,” which gathered data from a 1993 study and from 2003 records of wages.

“Overall, there is a wage differential that existed in 1993 and persisted in 2003,” Brown said. “While it has gone down, [the decrease is] not actually statistically significant.”

Brown admitted the age of the data is a problem, but said neither the university, the union, or the U of M faculty association keep rigorous records of wages and promotions.

“At least if you have to face the fact of what you’re doing, then I think that you can start trying to be more even,” she said. “The major thing is if they at least started paying attention.”

While women at the U of M made gains in both salaries and in the proportion of upper-level professors they comprised, these increases were “not enough to make things anywhere near even,” according to Brown.

The highest level of academia at the U of M is full professor, which has a maximum salary of $139,000 per year. In 1993, just seven per cent of full professors were women. By 2003, that number had only increased to 15 per cent.

Meanwhile, women make up the majority of instructors for whom the highest level of pay is $97,000 per year at the senior-instructor level. The pay scale for instructors is generally about 40 per cent below that of professors, Brown explained, because their “job is seen as only teaching, although they regularly do administrative duties and some of them actually do conduct research.”

The U of M has noted its concern with the wage-gap study. Leah Janzen, associate director of marketing and communications at the U of M, indicated the administration has “significant issues” with the researchers’methodology.

“This study does not allow for consideration of a number of factors related to salary, which we feel are important to include – such things as years since PhD, the discipline the person is working in, the classification they’re working under, and market conditions for that particular area of study,” she said. “As you factor in those considerations, the differences in salaries shrink.”

Janzen added the collective agreement between the university and the faculty association includes provisions on equality in salaries and other areas, and that the administration has a committee in place that reviews salary discrepancies annually.

“We have what we believe is a strong equity policy in place and one that has checks and balances included within it,” she said.
Another study investigating wage discrepancies was recently released by Statistics Canada, which looked at wage equality at 29 institutions across the country. The study found the largest wage gap existed at the University of Calgary, where male professors make an average of $20,168 more than their female counterparts.

With files from Emma Godmere

Student to file complaint with Quebec Human Rights Commission over frosh blackface incident
HEC wants to turn “regrettable” incident into a “learning opportunity”

Sarah Deshaies
CUP Quebec Bureau Chief

MONTREAL (CUP) — A McGill law student will be filing a complaint with the Quebec  Human Rights Commission after witnessing and recording the use of blackface at a frosh activity on Sept. 15.

Anthony Morgan explained he was walking by the Université de Montréal campus when he passed a group of students dressed in Jamaican colours and “rasta” hats, who were waving the Jamaican flag, chanting, “More weed, ya mon, ya mon!” Morgan returned to film the incident and posted it on YouTube. He said when he returned, someone pointed to him, saying, “We’ve got a real black person here.”

“I was just stunned. I couldn't believe what I was seeing,” said Morgan, who is of Jamaican descent. “I felt … it was very offensive.”

Blackface originated as a form of theatrical makeup in vaudeville to depict black characters, often propagating negative stereotypes.
The students were a group from HEC Montréal, the elite business school affiliated with Université de Montréal. According to a student representative, they were paying tribute to Olympian Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt.

HEC spokesman Michael Lartigau forwarded an email written by Frank Sciortino, a second-year student and a frosh organizer, to Canadian University Press. Sciortino explained students had to choose an “ambassador” for an Olympics-themed activity. The group depicted in Morgan’s video selected Bolt and “decided to costume themselves” as the sprinter. Sciortino wrote it was not a racist act.
Morgan does not agree.

“That is the part of it that is the most violently racist,” he said in response. “[Being black] is not a costume that you put on.”
“Regardless of what the students intended, it is wrong. – it is a symbol of hatred and denigration. It should not be used in the way that it was used.”

Student convicted of manslaughter returns to UBC
University states extra-campus sanctions “would not be appropriate”

Arshy Mann
CUP Western Bureau Chief

VANCOUVER (CUP) — Like many students, Sasan Ansari is to be returning to university after a short hiatus – two years – away from school. But, unlike most students, Ansari spent those years in jail for manslaughter.

Ansari was convicted of stabbing his friend, Josh Goos, 33 times in the parking lot outside of a West Vancouver country club after a dispute about money in 2006. He was charged in 2008, completed his sentence this year and has returned to the University of British Columbia law school to finish his degree.

“He should still be in prison, as far as I’m concerned,” Diane Goos, Josh’s mother, told the North Shore News.

Ansari was admitted to law school before being convicted and attended UBC for the two years he was awaiting trial. He even won a $1,000 scholarship during that time.

UBC does not deny admission or expel any student for committing a criminal act off campus – even one as serious as manslaughter.

“Sanctions for criminal offences are established by our judicial system, and it would not be appropriate for UBC to act on its own in adding an additional sanction – denial of access to education – to those already imposed by the courts,” wrote associate vice-president and registrar James Ridge in a statement.

Students can, however, be disciplined for non-academic misconduct that either occurs on campus, or is directed at a member of the university. In 2009, Amirali Mirsayah was expelled from UBC for making threats to former UBC president Martha Piper in 2002.
During Ansari’s trial, his performance at law school was taken into consideration during his sentencing.

In court documents, judge Mark McEwan, who presided over Ansari’s trial, said “nothing in Ansari’s circumstances suggest that the events of May 23, 2006, were anything but an aberration.”

“He is a highly motivated student who has always done well academically, continued McEwan. “He is athletic and has an impressive record of service to other people as a coach and as a tutor and mentor to learning disabled and other students.”

Bijan Ahmadian, a business and law student who takes classes with Ansari, argued he should be allowed to attend UBC.

“I met him yesterday. He’s in one of my classes [and] he’s a very nice guy,” Ahmadian said. “I had a chat with him and, had I not known from the news, I wouldn’t have guessed.”

Ahmadian argued law students especially have a responsibility to respect the rulings of the justice system.

“[We] should take this as an opportunity to help them reintegrate back and take that as a challenge, because that’s what our profession is all about."

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