March 25, 2004  
Volume 97, Issue 92  

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News Briefs

Congrats to bottom-feeders
The verdict is in: Western law is producing some of the best lawyers in the country.

Western law was well-represented at the recent Sopinka Cup criminal trial competition in Ottawa. The team placed third overall and was the top Ontario team in the competition. Team members included Shawn MacDonald, Kevin O’Brien and Rochard Beharry.

MacDonald also won national honours as top overall advocate. His prize was awarded by Justice Morris Fish of the Supreme Court of Canada and consisted of a biography on the late Justice Dickson and an invitation to speak to the American College of Trial Lawyers in St. Louis, Missouri.

According to Doug Ferguson, the team’s coach and director of community legal services, the Sopinka Cup began seven years ago, but this is the first time in four or five years Western has competed. Western competed against seven other teams from across the country after gaining entry as a wildcard.

“It’s a real feather in our hat,” Ferguson said. “It shows that we have a good practical program in litigation. It helps students who are interested in litigation as a career path, and prepares them for the real world.”

—Kelly Gow

Drop out and go to school
The University of Guelph’s Central Student Association executive is offering free courses for all.

The CSA Free School opened last week and offers a unique opportunity for workers, students and members of the community to attend or even teach a course free of charge, said CSA external affairs commissioner Luke Weiler. “It was a project that last year’s executive wanted to go through with, and is modelled loosely on the Anarchist Free School in Toronto,” Weiler said.

The school offers an interesting array of courses, including web design, media literacy and birdwatching, he confirmed. “Anyone can submit a course proposal form, and it is looked over by the collective to ensure that it meets the CSA’s anti-oppression mandate,” he added.

“The budget is low-scale since all the work is volunteer-based, and teachers are encouraged to teach out of public spaces. Money for posters and equipment is put up by the CSA executive,” Weiler said.

Visit for more information.

—Sarvenaz Kermanshahi

Liberals pat each other on the back
Surprise, surprise — Joe Fontana, Liberal member of Parliament for London North Centre, is pleased with the federal budget released Tuesday.

“He’s happy with the budget,” said Fontana’s executive assistant Chantal Gobeil. “He’s really, really happy with the science and technology part,” she added, referring to the $50 million earmarked for the commercialization of research. “It’s a little bit of a vision thing.”

According to Gobeil, the funds will allow small businesses to find better ways to commercialize their research into viable products for the market.

She also noted that Fontana was pleased with the funding promised to post-secondary education, such as the Canadian Learning Bond, and funding to allow disabled students to attend post-secondary schools. “It’s building foundations,” she added.

—Marshall Bellamy

“Hi everybody!” Doctors invade Convocation
At Western’s Convocation this June, eight people will be receiving honorary degrees.

On Tuesday, June 8, at 10 a.m., distinguished actor Christopher Plummer will be receiving a doctor of laws, and at 3:30 p.m., Canadian entrepreneur Allen Zeman will receive a doctor of laws.

Western grad and expert on semiconductors and superconductors Robert Dynes will receive a doctor of laws at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, June 9. Margaret Visser, a best-selling author, will receive a doctor of letters at 3:30 p.m..

Hayden White, a presidential professor emeritus of history of consciousness and professor of comparative literature, will receive a doctor of letters at 10 a.m. on Thursday, June 10, and at 3:30 p.m., the president and CEO of the Canada Foundation for Innovation, David Strangeway, will receive a doctor of laws.

Friday’s ceremony at 10 a.m. will give a doctor of laws to William Peel, former chair of Western’s Board of Governors. Richard Pound, the president of the World Anti-Doping Agency will — yup, you guessed it — receive a doctor of laws at 3”30 p.m..

—Laura Katsirdakis



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