Rick Ross, scam in Calgary & big news in Ontario

What students are talking about today (March 28th)
Too hot for Carleton students? (Rick Ross/Flickr)

1. Activists want Carleton University’s student union to pull funding out of an April 9th show by hip-hop artist Rick Ross. It’s partly because of a song with lyrics that suggest men should put drugs in women’s drinks. Kira-Lynn Ferderber, a Carleton Women’s Studies and Human Rights graduate, started a Facebook page to denounce the show. Ferderber told the Ottawa Citizen that, although she’s a hip-hop fan, she’s also a feminist and, “the song itself is such a blatant celebration of rape.” The Student Federation at the University of Ottawa has already pulled out of the show. A Facebook page arguing students should attend has also popped up. It has 80 ‘likes’ so far.

2. The Brandon University Students’ Union will offer interest-free emergency loans in amounts of up to $500 for students facing a “sudden condition of financial distress that hinders academic success,” BUSU’s Raymond Thomson told The Quill student newspaper. The idea is to help out students who can’t get emergency loans from the university itself, which seems rather redundant. Recipients will have to make a re-payment plan and their names will be confidential. Okay then.

3. Students at the University of Calgary say they’ve been scammed by a group claiming to sell spa treatments for charity. First-year student Anyssa McKee said a woman approached her on campus and said she was a marketing student selling tickets to Club Ronaldo. “They put together this package, it was $60 for four spa treatments and all the money went straight to breast cancer research,” McKee told The Gauntlet. When she called to book her appointment at Club Ronaldo, she was told it was a scam. Calgary Police then told her many other students were also defrauded.

4. Ontario’s LCBO liquor stores are run by unionized government employees and those workers are threatening to strike. Western University’s The Gazette calls a potential strike “tantamount in horror to a student apocalypse.” The Ontario Public Services Employees Union is upset about a four-year wage freeze (or wage cut, depending on how you look at it) and the fact that part-time positions are growing at the expense of full-time jobs. OPSEU points out that the LCBO is profitable. That’s true, but as the LCBO points out, the government has a $12-billion deficit. Every dollar counts.

5. Speaking of that $12-billion deficit, it didn’t stop Ontario’s government from releasing a new tuition framework that will cap annual increases at an average of three per cent. That’s after seven years of increases capped at five per cent. Reaction has been mixed. “Students are disappointed that the government has not frozen tuition for a year, nor limited all future increases to no more than the rate of inflation,” said Alysha Li, president of the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance. “Although we recognize that the new framework is better than the 5 percent annual increases we’ve experienced since 2006, at 3 percent, it is still above Ontario’s rate of inflation.” Ontario has the highest tuition in Canada, averaging $7,180, but many students get a 30 per cent tuition credit.