News you missed while studying

By Samuel Liaw

Computer viruses slow U of C

Early September saw University of Calgary networks hit with e-mail viruses and worms. Many computer networks were shut down.

The Gabot worm saturated the campus network with traffic and prevented students from accessing the Infonet. The problem was due to major bugs in Microsoft Windows operating systems.

"it must be proactive in protecting network and Internet services and do as much as possible to prevent the outages," wrote it Network Services Manager Tom Seto.

Viral traffic peaked at over 60,000 infected e-mail messages a day. In total, U of C mail servers caught 742,842 infected e-mail messages.

U of C computers were all patched at the end of September.

Leisure, Tourism and Society phased out

The Leisure, Tourism and Society program, offered by the Faculty of Communication and Culture, fell victim to budget cuts.

The LTSO program will be phased out within the next three years.

Funding issues were not a new problem for LTSO.

"The program has not been able to find stable funding, and has run on sessional lecturers and courses/professors borrowed from across campus," said Associate Dean of Communication and Culture Dr. Doug Brent. "[We’re] concentrating on what we do best with current budget constraints."

The program has provided many students with opportunities to travel and work outside Canada. This is not offered in a standard tourism programs.

All 50 students currently enrolled in the program will be able to finish their degrees. As for future tourism-interested students, they have the option of the tourism programs offered by the Haskayne School of Business or the Geography Department in Social Sciences.

Lost and found still raising concerns

In late September, people were concerned with Campus Security’s new lost and found procedures.

With the new lost and found policies, only keys, purses, wallets and items valued over $1,000 are kept at the Campus Security office. All items valued under $1,000–including cell phones, textbooks, CD players and Palm Pilots–are to be left in a blue bin by the Info Booth.

Campus Security was forced to implement such a policy due to university budget cuts.

"We used to have someone who would handle the thousands of articles a year that were turned in to Campus Security," explained Campus Security Manager Lanny Fritz, who is sympathetic to students’ concerns regarding this issue. "Unfortunately, we don’t have the human resources anymore that could process all the items that come in."

A tragic evening

September ended with grief when the U of C lost two students, Brian Collins and Joah Atkinson. Their lives were cut short by a vehicle-pedestrian collision while they were crossing 32 Ave. north of campus. Both were returning home from a University of Calgary Rugby Club meeting at the time.

Following the tragic accident, their lives were celebrated by friends, teammates and classmates.

"Always with smiles, always with laughter, and always with some great plan for the weekend you couldn’t help but get excited about," wrote Nick Dodd, a friend of the pair. "Brian and Joah knew life is not to be taken too seriously, and in living this lesson they brought joy, happiness and laughter to all around them."

When the Calgary Police Service investigation wrapped up, charges were laid against a 44-year-old northwest Calgary resident. She was charged with careless driving and failing to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk.

New health partner

In early October, students who walked by the Health Services noticed a new name: University Health Clinic, managed by Inter-national Health Partners Inc.

The university was looking to partner with an outside company to manage their clinic.

The contract with International Health Partners is for two years, with the potential for two subsequent 10-year contracts.

"From the experience of the user of the service, they should experience relatively little difference and that’s particularly true because after discussions with physicians and other health service providers they are there," said Dr. Peggy Patterson, Associate Vice-President Student Affairs. "Built into our contract is a quality-assurance mechanism whereby we pay attention to the experiences of the clients who use University Health Clinic."

Students’ Union President Jayna Gilchrist believes in this new partnership, and stresses quality will be assured.

Student Services will conduct monthly reviews of the services.

New SU General Manager chosen

In early October, the SU hired headhunting firm Conroy Ross to search for a candidate for their vacant General Manager position. Over 30 applicants were inter-viewed, and one was ultimately chosen because of his business skills, creativity and knowledge.

"The candidates we had for general manager are probably the best in Canada," said SU President Jayna Gilchrist. "The job was based on personality."

Jeff Marshall was announced as the new SU gm.

Marshall was formerly the president of the southern Alberta region of Corporate Express, an inter-business supplier, for two and a half years before landing the SU gm job.

"It’s a very exciting environment," Marshall said, adding the gm’s tasks range from student services to food court businesses. "I would like to maximize the services the last gm [Bryan Pryde] created."

Mayhem at the ministry

In October, a report found students may be paying too much tuition.

The Alberta Auditor General’s annual report on the Alberta government found some post-secondary institutions are not correctly calculating the legislated 30 per cent tuition cap.

"The department tells us all but one are in compliance," said Merwan Saher, Director of Communication for the Office of the Alberta Auditor General. "To us, we’re an independent party examining it and they’re not in compliance."

The report also offered recommendations to some post-secondary institutions. The Auditor General recommended both the U of C and the University of Alberta improve their internal control systems. Internal control is a system designed to provide reasonable assurance an organization will achieve its goals.

No space for med students

In late October, many U of C medical students were concerned by a continued decline in the number of post-graduate positions available in Canada.

The Canadian Resident Matching Service projected 1,321 medical students will graduate in 2004, and 1,334 post-graduate positions will be available, a 1:1.01 ratio.

"In past years, there have been surpluses of 1.o2 to 1.11 to one," said Canadian Federation of Medical Students Western Regional Representative and U of C medical student Lanette Prediger. "This year, there’s a projected 1:1 match."

According to U of C Post-Graduate Medical Education Director Dr. Alexandra Harrison, every U of C medical school graduate who applied to CARMS last year received their first or second choice placement. This year, some students are concerned about a deficit.

"It’s really, really unlikely if they are thoughtful in the way they apply to CARMS" Dr. Harrison said. "Last year, 95 per cent of Canadian students were matched. At the U of C, more than 85 per cent were matched to their first choice of residency and 100 per cent obtained their first or second choice of medical discipline."

Dr. Harrison agreed provincial funding for a larger surplus of positions would benefit both current and future students.

Suspect wanted

In October, a sexual predator shocked campus when he assaulted two female students in Lot 10. The suspect tried to force one woman back into her car with an unseen gun.

Unfortunately, the security alert issued after the attacks was slow to reach students.

Associate VP Student Affairs Dr. Peggy Patterson was unsure about why the delay occurred. She suggested the e-mail from Campus Security was sent to her but was not forwarded to students immediately. Her office "didn’t know it was there to communicate."

"We should have sent an alert on the day of or the next day," explained Dr. Patterson, adding the university takes safety seriously.

The offender was described as a black male in his early to mid-30s. He’s 5’8″ to 5’10”, weighing 200 pounds and is slightly overweight. He is bald or has very short hair with no facial hair.

"If at all possible, walk around in the buddy system," advised Campus Security Manager Lanny Fritz. "When you park your vehicle, park under a street lamp. Park where regular members of the public are in the area. Use the Safewalk program."

Another similar incident occurred on SAIT campus in late November and Calgary Police believe the two cases may be connected.

Molson Ballroom anyone?

In early November, it was announced the MacEwan Ballroom would be renamed the Molson Ballroom. Molson Canada would provide funding to renovate the Ballroom. The predicted renovation cost was $150,000, with $75,000 being supplied by Molson.

"At first, I was really against it being renamed," said SU Events Commissioner Jennifer Smith. "Right now I’m kind of torn because, on one hand, I don’t want students to pay for the redevelopment but, at the same time, students put so much money into this building every year. So I think, if any-thing, it should be named after them."

However, SU VP Operations and Finance Gavin Preston held a different position.

"I understand where some people get angry at the aesthetics of the ballroom being called the Molson Ballroom," he explained. "But when I start looking at the fact that the union can start to develop some of the building’s areas and doesn’t have to use students’ money to do so… it seems like a good trade off."

Election fraud?

In late November, Academic Commissioners Kassim Amery and Birju Dattani’s campaigns violated six election bylaws during the SU by-election according to SU VP Op-Fi Gavin Preston.

Phrases like "poor moral character," "campaigns hijacked democracy," and "bylaws were violated with impunity," described two unidentified candidates’ campaigns in the chief returning officer’s report. The two campaigns alluded to were Amery and Dattani’s.

"When democratic principles are violated–and they were by specific campaigns in the 2003 by-election–I hunger to take action rather than hide in the dredges of bureaucracy and rules," said SU CRO Shuvaloy Majumdar.

At the centre of the controversy was a laptop with a wireless Internet card.

"If the law does not exist, does it make the tactic illegal?" questioned Dattani. "You get into ethical and moral issues. I hope people have enough moral fabric about them."