2017 summer news recap

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It may not feel like it (it never does), but it’s been a long summer. And while you’ve been away gallivanting on your lakes, by your cottages, and in your summer school classrooms, the Martlet has been working hard to report the important stories that occasionally pop up during the summer months.

Here’s a recap of what’s gone down this summer:

Diversity in Academia

UVic is often the recipient of awards when it comes to the diversity of its employees and students. But how do the members of its faculty feel about the university’s “deep diversity”? The Martlet, encouraged by, and grateful to, the future academics concerned about the diversity in the field they were entering, talked to professors from all across the academic field about their challenges.

Their stories were indicative of the institutional issues that plague women, Indigenous peoples, and people of colour in academia.

CARSA

The university’s gym started out the summer by suspending a member after they swore at people sexually harassing them at the gym. Next, CARSA changed its code of conduct to explicitly forbid sexual harassment, then updated its dress code to ban the  “gluteal fold” — the area of bum right above the leg.

The “gluteal fold” issue became one of provincial attention when a student was asked to change out of her shorts due to the fold allegedly being visible. The student, Luiza, posted about the incident to her 50 000 Instagram followers. The Martlet wrote a story that was picked up by several provincial publications, and all of a sudden, the term “gluteal fold” was being said by far too many people.

As of September, the dress code is still being enforced.

Licence plate changes

The University of Victoria took a step towards automating the university’s parking system by mandating day parkers on campus input their licence plate number when buying their ticket.

This marks the first step towards licence plate recognition technology. In the future, a Campus Security van will drive around campus scanning license plates and matching them against the user-inputted registry that day.

The change does mean that students won’t be able to share day-passes anymore. This was a point of contention for many commenters on this story.

“That’s sad,” wrote Marcie Callewart John on the Martlet’s Facebook page. “I always enjoyed giving and receiving random acts of kindness with parking tickets.”

A change of name for Trutch

Months before an international debate on problematic place names — spurred by events in Charlottesville and discussions in Ontario about renaming schools named after John A. Macdonald — UVic removed the name of Joseph Trutch from one of its residence buildings. Trutch, a politician in British Columbia during the nineteenth century, was infamous for his racism against First Nations in B.C. He was directly responsible for much of the significant loss of land faced by Indigenous peoples in the province.

No new name for the building has been decided yet. The decision came after a petition to remove the name — one of several such petitions in the past few years.

The Raptors are coming to town

Speaking of CARSA, it won’t only be overeager first-years at the gym this September. The NBA’s Toronto Raptors are coming to the University of Victoria for a three-day training camp — Sept. 26–29 — featuring an intrasquad game.

“Our players and staff feel enthusiasm for basketball in every city we have visited,” said Raptors head coach Dwayne Casey when the news was announced. “We don’t ever want to take that for granted.”

Tickets for the game are available via the Vikes website.

Reflecting on Canada 150

Canada celebrated its 150th birthday this summer — or did it? The Martlet spoke to various students, professors, and academics at UVic and in Victoria to get their perspective on the celebration of Confederation’s 150th anniversary in Canada.

Opinions were varied, but maybe that’s the whole point. As Eva Patenaude, Media and Events Coordinator at the Victoria Pride Society, said in her interview for the feature, “as far as a Canadian identity goes, it is going to be very different from coast to coast, for individuals. Maybe that’s what Canadian identity is — the freedom to be an individual.”

CNF / Fiction contest

The Martlet continued its tradition of publishing student-submitted creative writing in its August issue. Two pieces were included this year — the conest runner-up was Emily Pegg’s story “How to Skin an Apple,” a heart-wrenching fiction piece about family and sisterhood. Kirsty Chan’s creative non-fiction submission  “Louisiana Lightning” took first place for its beautiful description of a stormy fling in New Orleans.

Solar eclipse

Victoria had an exceptional view of the solar eclipse — 90 per cent of the total eclipse, one of the highest percentages in Canada — and UVic took full advantage of this by handing out proper sun-viewing glasses and hosting a viewing party outside and on top of the Bob Wright Centre.

The Martlet attended the party, speaking to astronomy students, hobbyists, and children alike; getting an idea of what people were so excited about. It’ll be another seven years or so until the next partial eclipse visible from Canada, so this certainly was a spectacle worth taking in (with the proper eyewear, of course).

Check us out online

To read all of these stories — and any others you may have missed this summer — check us out online at martlet.ca. We’re looking forward to a successful and exciting 2017-2018 year, and, if this summer has been any indication, it’s looking like it will be a busy one; make sure to pick up our physical copies every two weeks or like us on Facebook to stay informed about all the goings-on on campus.

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