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Wednesday, February 6, 2013



  • The Student Life Centre, in student hands...
  • ...45 years after it was first "liberated"
  • Canada’s largest job fair today at RIM Park


  • Editor:
  • Brandon Sweet
  • Communications and Public Affairs


The Student Life Centre after a snowfall.
The Student Life Centre, in student hands...

The Federation of Students is promising more study space, more resources, and more activities for undergraduates as they announced they signed an agreement with the university on Monday to assume operational control of the Student Life Centre.

"This is an exciting day for Feds and undergraduates," said federation president Andrew Noble in a statement released Monday.

The new Student Life Centre Operation Agreement supplants an earlier document, which has been in effect since April 1994. The new agreement gives the Federation of Students operational oversight of ongoing activities in the Student Life Centre, which had previously been the purview of a Student Life Centre Management Board, made up of students, Federation representatives, staff members, and university administrators. That management board has been dissolved, and the federation now has greater latitude in handling the Student Life Centre's day-to-day operations.

The operating agreement grants the federation the right to use its managed space, which includes Campus Bubble, Feds Used Books, Federation Xpress, Wasabi, and areas occupied by clubs and services, to name but a few. However, the university retains the right to veto any decision or proposal made by the federation "in the allocation, use or management" of its space. The federation will also be responsible for administrating the SLC's bookable space.

Federation of Students staff will be taking up the centre's existing administrative activities and the staff managing the SLC now report to the federation's general manager and vice-president, administration and finance.

Areas controlled by Plant Operations and Food Services remain controlled by the university, as do areas used by the university under pre-existing space arrangements, including Campus Tech, the WatCard office, and the Housing & Residences and Off-Campus Housing Offices. These space arrangements remain in force until the university notifies the federation otherwise.

As well, for the businesses and services that occupy space in the Student Life Centre, it is business as usual, with existing space agreements continuing to be honoured.

The agreement has a 49-year lifespan with the opportunity to renew.

"We know the Federation of Students will operate the Student Life Centre in the best interests of undergraduates," said Chris Read, associate provost, students. "Feds is well positioned to make day-to-day decisions for students, and supports their initiatives like campus clubs. I look forward to seeing how they evolve the space to serve students."

The Federation of Students will be releasing more details on the agreement and their plans to operate the Student Life Centre in the coming weeks. In the meantime, the university community is invited to attend a celebration on Thursday, February 7 at 11:00 a.m. in the SLC's Great Hall. Students have also been invited to share their questions and comments with the Federation of Students' executive and others from the university community on FedsConnect. The Federation of Students has posted more information about the new operations agreement online.

The original 57,300 square foot Campus Centre was constructed in 1967, with a major 59,800 square foot addition built in 1996 along with a name change to the Student Life Centre (with a few stubborn holdouts still preferring to refer to it as the SLiCe). In 2004, an 8,500 square foot third floor was added.

Photograph by Nick Soave.


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...45 years after it was first "liberated"

The issue of student control of the Student Life Centre is, if you'll pardon the pun, a foundational one going back to the construction of the Campus Centre in 1967. In fact, it goes back further than that - "what's a student union building without student control?" was a common refrain in the Coryphaeus, the university's student newspaper, as early as 1962, well before ground had been broken on the proposed student building.

Under a system proposed by the Federation of Students in 1965, the operation of the building, under construction at the time, would be undertaken by the Federation’s own administrative staff, and agreements for financing the operation of the Campus Centre would be negotiated between the Federation and the university with the proviso that incidental fees and tuition would not be raised to cover any new costs.

When the Campus Centre opened in April 1968, it was under control of the office of student affairs, with a Campus Centre director answerable to the provost, Bill Scott, as well as the Provost's Advisory Committee on the Campus Centre. A subcommittee of the provost's advisory committee dealt chiefly with space allocation, and though students constituted the majority, it was an advisory body. Furthermore, the university's president, Gerry Hagey, retained a veto over what sort of things would happen in the new building.

The Federation of Students was dissatisfied with the power structure of the campus centre, but was not above using it to move their agenda forward.  They pressed for the building's Great Hall to remain open 24 hours a day, a motion which was approved by both the advisory committee and Dr. Hagey.  However, Students’ Council made the federation’s position on the governance of the building quite clear:


The Campus Centre, while open for use by all members of the university, is the students’ building and therefore, that the policies for the building be set by a committee composed of a majority of students with representation from other groups in the university, subject to the direction of the Students’ Council of the Federation of Students.


Paul Gerster surveying his new domain, at his desk in the Campus Centre Great Hall.There was also a fair amount of friction between student leaders and the campus centre director, Paul Gerster. On more than one occasion Gerster arrived at the Campus Centre to find the contents of his office, from potted plant to telephone, neatly arranged in the centre of the Great Hall. It didn't help that Gerster referred to the Campus Centre as "his building" to run. Federation of Students president Brian Iler called the power structure an "immoral system." By October 1968, tensions and tempers were running high.

When Provost Scott sent a memo to Gerster asking him to draw up proposals outlining what specific problems, if any, would be entailed in giving students a greater measure of control over the Campus Centre's operations, the Federation of Students, who had received a copy of the memo, immediately seized on it as proof that the university had given in to their demands, and blanketed the campus in leaflets to that effect. This caused President Hagey to dig in his heels and disabuse the student leaders of any such notion, as the university printed up leaflets of its own to distribute that condemned any unilateral action in declaring that students were in control of the building.

Meanwhile, the Provosts Advisory Committee on the Campus Centre decided unanimously that control of the campus centre should be the responsibility of an autonomous committee comprised of a majority of students, with representation from faculty, staff and administration.  Hagey said he would need time to take in the results of the committee’s deliberations and that he would have to take the decision to the Board of Governors, prompting one student leader to dismiss it as a ploy, given the president's broad decision-making authority.

Students look on as Paul Gerster conducts business in his transplanted office in the Great Hall, post-liberation.This confrontation took place around the time of the Federation of Students' annual general meeting, and at said meeting, a motion was passed calling for a student takeover of the Campus Centre and the establishment of a committee with representation from all segments of the university with a student majority, to manage operations in the ‘liberated’ building.  The first step of the takeover was the immediate occupation of the Campus Centre.  Anywhere from 75 to 100 students stayed in the Great Hall overnight, with hundreds more stopping by to visit as word of the seizure spread across campus.  Posters went up announcing the liberation of the Campus Centre by the students, and once again Paul Gerster’s office found a new home in the Great Hall, potted plants and all.

President Hagey was informed of the overnight sleep-in when he arrived on campus the next day, but took no immediate action other than to make sure that campus security left the students alone. 

The university’s administration agreed to the creation of an autonomous rather than advisory committee. The Campus Centre Board would be made up of one staff member, two faculty members, one student representative from each faculty and college (9 in total) and one member of the venerable turnkey staff.

Naturally, student opinion on the move was divided. "They say the students use it so the students should run it," wrote one irate engineering undergraduate in a letter to the editor. "on that criteria hospital patients should run the hospitals."

The day after the successful sleep-in, more than 70 students marched into the Great Hall to once again liberate the Campus Centre, but this time from the Federation of Students.  In a parody of the previous night’s takeover, they dismantled President Brian Iler’s office and moved its contents into the Great Hall, while Gerster’s office was reassembled in its old home. No word on whether his potted plants survived the return trip.

Photographs courtesy of A History of the Student Life Centre.


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Canada's largest job fair today at RIM Park

A close-up of a man's suit jacket, with a nametag that says "Network 4 Success."A quick reminder that the annual Partnerships for Employment (P4E) Job Fair takes place from 10:00am to 3:30pm today at RIM Park. Thousands of hopeful students and alumni will network with potential employers and explore career opportunities. Participants can also attend one of three sessions on “Leveraging LinkedIn to network and job search… Learn how to use it like a pro.”

A collaboration between the four local post-secondary institutions, the fair is open to students and alumni of these institutions – University of Waterloo, University of Guelph, Wilfrid Laurier University, and Conestoga College. If you want to check it out a bus is running to and from the fair. The bus will leave every half hour from Ring Road in front of Hagey Hall.

Last week’s poll results: 89 per cent of you guessed correctly: students cite the employer’s website as the most valuable resource in career research. Congratulations to last week’s draw winner Emily Gruber, nanotechnology engineering student.

This week’s question: How many organizations are participating in today’s job fair? (Hint: the answer is on the P4E website) Take a guess and enter to win a chocolate bar.


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Faculty invited to take digital learning survey

The following is a message from Retail Services:

"The BookStore is supporting the independent research of Academica Group, who are conducting a brief survey to better understand experiences with digital learning among North American post-secondary faculty. This 10-minute survey explores usage, satisfaction, and challenges with using digital course materials available through access codes. Whether you are familiar with access codes or not, you can still participate in this survey. Join the conversation!"

Link of the day

Sami National Day

When and where

Imaginus Poster Sale Wednesday, February 6, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Student Life Centre Great Hall.

MDEI Program Information Session, Wednesday, February 6, 12:00 p.m., Communitech Hub, P2P room. Details.

Noon Hour Concert series featuring the Crusell Trio, "Classical music on original instruments: No valves and not enough keys!" Wednesday, February 6, 12:30 p.m., Conrad Grebel University College Chapel.

The Reading Series at St. Jerome's featuring Anne Michaels, Wednesday, February 6, 4:30 p.m., STJ 3027. Details.

Waterloo Stratford Campus Master Talks, Wednesday, February 6, 7:30 p.m., Stratford Campus.

Gustav Bakos Observatory Tour, Wednesday, February 6, 8:00 p.m., PHY 308

UW Drama Department presents On Love, Wednesday, February 6 to Saturday, February 9, Hagey Hall 180.

Kitchener Public Library Ideas and Issues Lecture Series featuring Professor Gary Bruce, Department of History, "Displaying animals…and humans: The Berlin Zoo in German History," Wednesday, February 6, 12:00 p.m., Forest Heights Community Library, Kitchener.

Visiting Humphrey Professor in Feminist Philosophy talk featuring Anita M. Superson, University of Kentucky, “ The Right to Bodily Autonomy and the Abortion Controversy”, Wednesday, February 6, 12:00 p.m., HH, 373. Details.

Observations and Free Inquiries seminar featuring Hamid Tizhoosh, Systems Design Engineering, "The Myth of Nonviolence," Thursday, February 7, 5:30 p.m., E5 6004. Details.

Deadline for Amit and Meena Chakma Award for Exceptional Teaching by a Student nominations, Friday, February 8.

History Speaker Series featuring Prof. Lynne Taylor, associate professor, history department, "“In the Children's Best Interests”: Unaccompanied Children in Germany, 1945-1949,"
Friday, February 8, 1:00-2:00 p.m., Hagey Hall 117. Details.

Conrad Grebel presents Prof. Gerald Gerbrandt, Canadian Mennonite University, "Where the Church Thinks: The Role of the Christian Scholar," Friday, February 8, 7:00 p.m. Details.

FASS presents FASS for President, Thursday, February 7, 8:00 p.m., Friday, February 8, 7:00 p.m., Saturday, February 9, 7:00 p.m. All shows at the Humanities Theatre. Details.

University of Waterloo Chinese Student and Scholars Association (UWCSSA) 2013 Spring Festival Gala, Sunday, February 10, 7:30 p.m., Humanities Theatre. Details.

Town Hall Meeting, Tuesday, February 12, 3:00 p.m., Humanities Theatre.

VeloCity Campus Event: "Customer Discovery #1 Cold Calling, how to ask customers for money," Wednesday, February 13, 7:30-8:30 p.m., EV3 4412, Details. FREE pizza.

UWRC Book Club meeting, featuring "The House I Loved" by Tatiana de Rosnay, Wednesday, February 20, 12:00 p.m., LIB 407.

Retirement party for Linda Kieswetter, Wednesday, February 20, 3:30 p.m., University Club. RSVP to Karen Browne, ext. 31743 by Monday, February 11.

PhD Oral Defences

Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering. Ahmad El Sayed, "Conditional Moment Closure Methods for Turbulent Combustion Modelling." Supervisor, Roydon Fraser. On deposit in the Engineering Graduate Office, PHY 3004. Oral defence Thursday, February 21, 1:00 p.m., E3 4117.

Electrical and Computer Engineering. Yu-Ting David Wu, "A Doherty Power Amplifier with Extended Bandwidth and Reconfigurable Back-Off Power Level." Supervisor, Slim Boumaiza. On deposit in the Engineering Graduate Office, PHY 3004. Oral defence Tuesday, February 26, 2:30 p.m., EIT 3142.

Electrical and Computer Engineering. Akbar Ghasemi, "Interface Management for MIMO Wireless Networks." Supervisor, Amir Khandani. On deposit in the Engineering Graduate Office, PHY 3004. Oral defence Wednesday, February 27, 2:30 p.m. EIT 3142.

Chemical Engineering. Samira Masoumi, "Model Discrimination Using Makov Chain Monte Carlo Methods." Supervisors, Tom Duever, Park Reilly. On deposit in the Engineering Graduate Office, PHY 3004. Oral defence Thursday, February 28, 8:30 a.m., E6 2022.

Positions available

On this week's list from the human resources department, viewable through myHRinfo:

• Job ID# 1999 - Industrial Liaison Officer, Office of Research, Water Institute, USG 11
• Job ID# 2015 - Manager, HR Administration, Human Resources, USG 11
• Job ID# 2006 - Graduate Studies Admin Coordinator, Management Sciences, USG 6
• Job ID# 2013 - Clubs Manager, Federation of Students, USG 6
• Job ID# 2014 - Senior Director Community Relations & Events, Vice-President University Relations – General, USG 16


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