September 30, 2003  
Volume 97, Issue 18  

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TAs like unions

Over the last month, 320 Teaching Assistants at Queen's University have signed up to form a union. In less than a month, the Queen's University Teaching Assistants for Unionization has received a huge response.

According to Derek Blackadder, the Canadian Union of Public Employees organizing representative, the reasons for unionizing vary depending on the department, but some consistently cited reasons include the rate at which tuition is increasing and the workload. "[TAs] are being asked to work well beyond the expected hours, mainly as a result of the double cohort," he said.

Concerns also include receiving traditional benefits such as dental plans, and non-traditional, such as academic benefits to allow TAs to attend conferences and support their research in their programs.

Admitting he was speculating, Blackadder said the vote to unionize is likely to be in November, but the date could be pushed up to sometime in October if the number of respondents continues to increase.

-Amanda Robinson

Quarky scientist comes to town

A star will descend upon Western this evening in a rare and special scientific event.

Bob McDonald, host of the popular science program on CBC Radio called Quirks and Quarks, will make a free public address tonight at 8 p.m. in the Talbot College Theatre, said Jim Moorehead, acting chair of the physics and astronomy department at Western. "Any member of the public who is interested can attend," he stated.

"The title of McDonald's address is ´Miracles of Mad Science; the Love/Hate Relationship Between Science and Society Throughout the Ages,'" said Mitch Zimmer, writer for the faculty of science and organizer of tonight's auspicious occasion.

"McDonald will arrive at 7 p.m.," Zimmer said, adding McDonald is one of the most prominent members of the Canadian scientific community to visit Western this year.

Zimmer further noted the event is sponsored by the faculty of science and the 125th Anniversary Committee.

-Jonathan Yazer

Conference to bring money lovers to London

AIESEC, the International Association of Students in Economics and Business Management (acronym reflects French spelling of the organization) will be holding a conference this week.

The conference is the world's largest non-profit, student-run organization. It tenders to people who want to go on exchange and list off their skills to companies looking to recruit an international trainee.

"AIESEC is a reciprocal exchange program where every local job opened for an international student creates the opportunity for a Western student to work abroad," said Roi Ross, former AIESEC Western president.

"It's a good way to really network yourself - it's an organization that attracts some really awesome people and gives you a good international experience," said James Kufsky, VP-communications for AIESEC.

The conference will take place from Oct. 3 to 5 at the Park Lane Hotel in London, followed by a reception at The Wave. Participants must pay an $80 fee which will include accommodations and meals.

-Natasha Amendola.

Positions for free labour open

Got spare time? If so, the volunteer fair has a gig for you. This week the UCC will be crawling with people who want you to work for free.

Until tomorrow, about 22 volunteer organizations will have stands set up in the University Community Centre atrium, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., said Heather Spiegel, volunteer commissioner for the University Student's Council. The volunteer fair is held annually, she added.

"This is a good way for people to get involved in their community," Spiegel noted, adding the fair has a wide range of groups in attendance. Everything from the museum of archeology, to the Big Sisters and even the London Police Department is looking for volunteers.

"[The volunteer fair] is also good because students don't even have to go out of their way, it is right in the UCC," Spiegel added.

"A lot of people don't know how to get involved," she said. "This is a great way to find out what you're interested in."

-Laura Katsirdakis




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