Women’s Collective Update

On October 3rd the Women’s Collective had their second meeting of the 2018/2019 academic year. Part of the discussion was the desire to offer a reimbursement for birth control as many are often not covered by Insurance such as an IUD or the shot. It was decided this would be something the executive would look into and attempt to see what funds could be set aside for such an endeavour. 

Some activities planned for this year discussed in the previous article were a topic of conversation at the latest meeting, and some dates were set for certain events. One of these events will be with SERC on October 23. The Sexuality Education Resource Centre (SERC) will be coming to campus with reproductive health information and resources. 

At the beginning of the Winter semester there will be more reproductive tabling, with raffle prizes and hopefully a resident gynecologist to talk to students and answer questions. Alexandra Mackay who is one of the Women’s Collective members in charge of organizing the event said “Reproductive health is important because most education systems lack a consistent and scientifically founded approach to the topic. The subject is usually shrouded in shame or vagueness that perpetrates myths and misunderstandings. And a university campus is often where all the misinformation culminates to create real-life consequences.”

On November 23rd the Collective will be holding a wine and paint night. Last year a paint night was put on at Forbidden Flavours and went over well so the hope is this year will have a similar turn out. 

Erotic Bingo is another event that has been put on previously in partnership with Flora Cowan. This event goes over well and is lots of fun, so it will be held again this year with a date to be announced. 

Take Back the Night is scheduled to be revisited in second term with the hope to be happening in late spring due to busy schedules and weather as noted in the previous Quill article. Planning will begin in February so if this is an event you are interested in helping with please contact the Collective! 

With some for sure dates set, the Women’s Collective is excited for another great year and welcomes any new members to come to the next meeting, so watch for a meeting announcement on Facebook!  

Chris Hadfield Coming To Brandon

On October 12, Chris Hadfield, the first Canadian to walk in space, will be giving a speech on “An Astronauts Guide to Life on Earth”. This talk will revolve around the idea of how to think like an astronaut.

Chris Hadfield was born on August 29th, 1959 in Sarina, Ontario, Canada. Commander Hadfield was one of the top test pilots for the United States Military. He was the first Canadian to live aboard the International Space Station, doing research on human biology and  studying the effects of low gravity on the body. On expedition 35, Chris Hadfield became the commander of the I.S.S. after the crew of expedition 34 had departed. Commander Hadfield is also an author with many popular books, to name a few, “You Are Here: Around the World in 92 Minutes,” and “An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth.” Commander Hadfield has also received many awards and special honours such as, the Order of Canada, N.A.S.A. Exceptional Service Medal, and Meritorious Service Cross.

When Commander Hadfield was in space, he would share insight to life aboard the ISS and some truly captivating photos via Twitter. Commander Hadfield made perhaps one of the most amazing music videos ever while in space. He played “Space Oddity,” as a tribute to David Bowie. The video was released on May 12, 2013. The video, as of today has over 41 million views. Commander Hadfield would even get the attention of David Bowie himself. David Bowie was quoted as saying “It’s possibly the most poignant version of the song ever created.”

Commander Hadfield is currently a retired astronaut who began his retirement as of July 3, 2013. Commander Hadfield’s retirement has been rewarding and busy. He spends his time travelling the world sharing his knowledge and experience through public speaking events. Most recently, Commander Hadfield has started a master class where he teaches space exploration. 

New Weed Policies 

Following the board meeting on September 22nd Brandon University has developed two new policies that deal with the legalization of cannabis on October 17th. The purpose of the first policy is to provide set guidelines for the permitted use and consumption of cannabis on the Brandon University campus. In accordance with Manitoba legislation the policy states that “The use or consumption of cannabis is not permitted on University property, including residence property, with the exception of medical purposes where the requirement for use is declared and appropriate accommodations for the use has been established, as per policy.” 

The policy is accommodating to students who have their green cards and are using or consuming marijuana for medical purposes. If this is the case, Michelle Magnusson will be working with students to help them create a plan for how they can continue to use or consume marijuana in compliance with the new policies. Michelle can be found at Student Accessibility Services in room 106-2 A. E. McKenzie building. Lack of compliance to this new Board of Governors policy will result in disciplinary action which will vary in severity depending on the degree of the offence and if the offence is continuously repeated. 

The second policy that was approved is the Harm Reduction Policy which is an Administrative policy that focuses on the health, safety and well-being of students on the Brandon University campus. Katie Gross, the Dean of Students, is promoting “responsible use” of marijuana. She believes that education about the new policies and also about marijuana itself is crucial to maintaining a safe and healthy campus environment for all students, faculty and staff. There will be an information session about responsible use on October 15th. More information about this can be found on the BU website. 

Both policies are available to be viewed online on the Brandon University website or can be found in physical copy at the Office of the President, Room 116 Clark Hall.  

World Mental Health Day

Light Up The World Purple day is coming up on Oct 10th and the “World Mental Health Day,” has been officially signed by the Mayor of Brandon as the date that the city of Brandon recognizes as a day for mental health. Light Up The World Purple phenomena and “World Mental Health Day,” is an international day created to raise awareness about mental health in memory of Canadian Amanda Todd. 

Here is a list of the resources available to everyone here in Brandon, for anyone who might find themselves needing some support. 

First, Brandon University has it’s own counsellors whose information can be found at ww.brandonu.ca/personal-counselling. Contact information for booking appointments can be found on the website.

The Brandon Friendship Centre specializes in aboriginal counselling and cultural practices, with an open door policy for both aboriginal and non-aboriginal people alike. With services consisting of individual counselling for adults, sharing circles, and anger management, the Brandon Friendship Centre offers support for various needs. Their full information and services can be found on their website at www.brandonfriendshipcentre.com.

Anxiety Disorders Association of Manitoba possesses a great deal of information about anxiety, what it is and how it may manifest in some individuals, success stories, as well as contact information for different services in case of an emergency. Their website also has helpful tools like relaxing audio and videos for visitors to access. Find them at www.adam.mb.ca

The Canadian Mental Health Association has educational documents made to supply information on various topics ranging from Mental Health and Smoking, Stress, Understanding Mental Illness, and information on where to find help. Their website is mbwpg.cmha.ca

Mood Disorders Association of Manitoba is another resource that covers a range of mental illnesses. They have workshops and programs, Family Navigation, postpartum assistance, SAD lights, support groups, and are familiar with cases in addictions, bullying, bipolar disorder, depression, self-care and others you can find on their website at www.mooddisordersmanitoba.ca 

Klinic is a resource for mental health, dedicated to helping “people of every age, background, ethnicity, gender identity, and socio-economic circumstance.” A crisis line in available along the top of their website. Find them at www.klinic.mb.ca 

Anxiety Disorders Association of Manitoba supplies the following phone numbers in case of an emergency:

KLINIC Crisis Line: 204-786-8686

Manitoba Suicide Line: 1-877-435-7170

Crisis Stabilization Unit: 204-940-3633

Mobile Crisis Service: 204-940-1781

Youth Mobile Crisis Team: 204-949-4777

Seneca House: 204-942-9276 (7:00 P.M. - 11:00 P.M.)

Kids Help Phone: 1-800-668-6868

MB Farm & Rural Support Services: 1-866-367-3276

Take care of yourself this year and try to recognize when you need that extra bit of help and support. It can be difficult when you’re busy but remember to check in on your friends and colleagues. Even if you don't need this type of information maybe one of your friends could use it. Share the knowledge, share the love.

LGBTTQ* Collective!

            For those of you unaware, nestled on the second floor of the Knowles Douglas Building is Brandon University’s LGBTTQ* Collective. The best way to get in contact with them is through their Facebook page at www. Facebook.com/bulgbttq. Office hours are of this moment undecided. If you’re looking to join or get involved in any way there’s currently a meeting set for October 12th from 6:00- 9:00p.m. with the location undetermined at this point, keep an eye on their Facebook page for any updates. Stefon stressed that “it’ll be a real casual, it’s more or less people just need to know that I’m leaving so I’m hoping that we can get a few folks out this year where more of an actual collective could start and then that collective would continue on once I leave.” The involvement is extremely casual, time commitments are up to members, if times get busy for students there’s no expectation that the collective would take priority over school studies or work. Opportunities for small scale as well as large scale planning are available, “It’s whatever you want the collective can be.”

While small, their office is host to various resources open for the Brandon University student body. Books on sexual education on topics aside from the cisgender heterosexual material often taught in schools are available. Along with this, Stefon current head of the collective explained that how though they don’t have a fortune set aside, they do have funds for “any students faculty or staff who are maybe starting a transition… If we can help in a small way to get the ball rolling that’s cool. That’s one of the things we do that not a lot of folks know about.” They also offer knowledge about LGBTTQ* friendly business and people in Brandon and safe sex materials ranging from condoms both internal and external, as well as dental dams.

            Their plans for the year are completely at the behest of the collective. New and returning members will determine what happens throughout the school term. While Stefon was thinking of holding another social after the huge success of the last one, the collective he explained, is completely open for new ideas and plans any members may bring. “Other than that, come to the meeting!”

Arts And Culture: The Hard Work Of BU Students

Brandon’s growing arts community is currently hosting three exhibitions, with BU fine arts students dominating two of them. The Art Gallery of Southwestern Manitoba’s main gallery is displaying the work of current BUFASA (Brandon University Fine Arts Students Association) students and recent graduates including Albyn Carias, Timothy Brown, and Melanie Barnett with the show curated by recent graduate Jessie Januska. The community gallery at the AGSM is displaying the favourite works of their famed and legendary Figure Drawing Studio, for whom I have been lucky to have modeled and mused, with paintings and sketches by Neil Strouffer, Curt Shoultz, and Kurt Noll, among others, gracing the corridor.

Upcoming is another BUFASA show opening October 11th at the Glen P. Sutherland

Gallery of Art titled “In The (K)now” which explores recent themes worked on by BU Fine Art Students, curated by the department of Visual and Aboriginal Art. The show opens at 7 pm and runs from the 11th to the last day on the 26th. The AGSM and GPS are the two bigger galleries in Brandon, providing a wealth of art events to the general public and BU students. The BFA program sees multiple students graduate every year and it’s graduates have gone on to residency programs in Banff, China, and France. Courses provided include but are not limited to, ceramics, painting, drawing, printmaking, and performance art. Future plans for the GPS currently include upcoming thesis shows of senior BFA students with times announced later in the semester.

Women ’s Collective on Campus!

            Brandon University’s Women’s Collective is a group of exceptional women motivated to improving life on campus for everyone. The Women’s Collective president, for the second consecutive year, is Jenna English, a passionate intersectional feminist dedicated to representing self-identifying women’s rights on campus. Vice president this year is Jenna Murray, a feminist focused on bringing together like minded people and promoting awareness of social issues.

            Every year, the Women’s Collective offers a resource library, free condoms, sanitary supplies, discounted pregnancy tests and diva cups, sexual health resources, as well as access to phone and internet services. The Women’s Collective is also involved with the “No Means No” campaign for the promotion of positive sexual relationships. (Let’s make one thing clear: Consensual sex, is just sex. The idea that there is any other type of sex is ludicrous. Non-consensual sex? The word you’re looking for is rape. Respect all people’s choices and their dignity.)

            Some of this year’s goals include; promoting awareness of sexual health through a day dedicated to reproductive health, as well as events that foster social relations including paint night and trivia night. The annual event “Take Back The Night” – a march to end violence against women with the intention of feeling safe at night – will not run this fall semester, but will hopefully take place in the spring.

            If there are any causes or events that you are passionate about and would like to see the Women’s Collective take on, please consider joining to make them happen. More members make planning and implementing events easier and more enjoyable. Membership in the Women’s Collective is open to the entire BU community, including men. Although male members do not have voting rights (sucks doesn’t it) their input is valued and appreciated.

            You can connect with the Women’s Collective on Facebook (Brandon University Women’s Collective) and Instagram (buwomenscollective). The Women’s Collective office is located on the 2nd floor of the Knowles-Douglas Building. Office hours will be announced soon. The next collective meeting is Wednesday October 3rd at 5pm in the KDC boardroom – all are welcome.

            And finally, to answer the burning question that may be distracting you from taking any substance from this article; yes, we’re all feminists here. To quote Beyoncé quoting Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, “feminist: a person who believes in the social, economic, and political equality of the sexes”.

BU’s Discrimination And Harassment Prevention Policy

                In this upcoming academic year BU is making a concerted effort to combat discrimination and harassment on campus. The Brandon University Sexual Violence Education and Prevention Office is ensuring through its “I Believe You” campaign, which it launched right at the beginning of the year, that sexual assault is treated in the proper serious manner. The idea is to encourage victims of sexual assault to come forward and disclose the trauma they suffered, thereby beginning the healing process and seeing to it that justice is served. This year will mark the last of the campaigns 4 year running period. All together the participation throughout the years, numbering in the millions, would indicate that the program was a huge success. The reason for this campaign is that many victims of sexual harassment are reluctant to talk about what they went through by fear of facing disbelief and ridicule if they do take a stand. It is in combating this phenomena that the campaign was particularly successful as there has been an increase in reporting of Sexual Harassment cases.

                 On the 11th of September there was a #IBelieveYou selfie booth set up on the Courtyard where students would stop to take a picture with a temporary #IBelieveYou tattoo which could later be uploaded to social media. The Farm 101.1 FM as well as Star 94.7 FM radio stations were on the scene as well handing out free Subway coupons amongst other stuff for those that decided to stop by. Furthermore Bystander training was held on campus to teach students more about how to intervene and prevent sexual assault from happening.         

                According Brandon Universities Discrimination and Harassment Prevention Policy "every member of the University community must adhere to University policies and support the aim of the University to create a climate of understanding and respect for the dignity and rights of all,” as well as "support the University's efforts to ensure that the working and learning environment is free of discrimination and harassment". With this in mind all of us should take care that we do our best to create a campus that is a safe environment for everyone to study at. It is events the “I Believe You” campaign that can provide the training and awareness needed to effectively approach a case and correctly deal with it. We all benefit from the awareness surrounding the struggles of different people. It both ensures that actions are taken to reduce the number of victims created and allows those already victimized to heal.


New Fines in Manitoba for Weed 

As Canada prepares for the legalization of marijuana across the country on October 17th new policies are being developed in each province and territory to control the growth, distribution and possession of the drug. In Manitoba, following the legalization of marijuana there will be fines in effect for cannabis-related offences. In accordance with Bill C-45 or, the Cannabis Act which deals with marijuana legalization and regulation in Canada, adults in Canada are allowed to grow and cultivate up to four marijuana plants in their own home with a height restriction of one meter. Each province however, has the ability to place further restrictions on this legislation. Manitoba and Quebec have decided to take advantage of this option and have set a zero tolerance for growing marijuana. In Manitoba, individuals found in the possession of a marijuana plant that is not being grown for medical reasons can be subject to a fine of $2,542.

Once legal, cannabis will be easily accessible in Brandon. There are at least three locations that have been approved to sell marijuana and are considered licensed cannabis distributors. All of the marijuana sold from these retailers must be sourced through Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries. The age requirement to enter these retail locations will be 19 years old in accordance with provincial legislation. Supplying marijuana to a young person under the age of 19 can result in a hefty fine of $2,542. 

Other pre-set fines will be coming into effect after the legalization of cannabis on October 17th. These include a $237 fine for improper transportation of marijuana, meaning the driver is carrying cannabis in or on the vehicle that is not stored in an inaccessible separate compartment. There will also be a $672 fine for smoking or vaping in provincial parks. There are exceptions however, for those who have private residences within a provincial park. For a complete list of cannabis related offences visit the Government of Manitoba website at gov.mb.ca. 

You Paid The Fees, Now What?

BUSU Fee= $66.60

Student Services Fee= $63.00

Student Fitness Fee= $77.20

U-Pass= $19.00

You paid this and more in student fees. Why? What’s the benefit? It breaks down to a lot of money in fees, so I would recommend you take full advantages of the services BU has to offer. I didn’t really utilize the academic skills that my fees paid for until my third year. So, be smarter than I, and let’s break down some of the services available to you!

You paid for an academic advisor to help you look over your courses to ensure that you’re on track to graduate. The Academic Skills Centre can help you with math, writing and learning skills. Sheilagh Grills has helped me hold it together more than once with creating study plans and setting realistic academic goals. They’re also many workshops that are upcoming, including Making a Study Plan and Study Skills 101: Textbook Basics, both happening on September 18th.

Also included in the Student Services fee is access to personal counselling. Sherry or Marsha can help you find ways to manage anxiety, depression, stress, family issues, homesickness, etc. New this year on the BU page is Sexualized Violence Supports and Information, where there are resources available that you can access anonymously if you wish.

The Career Planning and Placement Office helps students determine possible career paths, career fairs, assistance with résumés and cover letters and student and graduate referrals for employment.

For international students, the Office of International Activities provides a space for students visiting Canada to feel more at home and connect with others going through the same experience. The Indigenous People’s Centre creates a space for people to come together and provide academic, social and cultural supports.

Through BUSU students get year-round Health & Dental benefits for $250 (with the option to opt-out if you have an alternative plan). The VP Internal Emily Simmons can advocate for you if you have grievances regarding grades, academic suspension, late submissions or accusations of academic dishonesty. The Paw Pass is a free sticker available at the BUSU office that is placed on the back of your student ID to indicate to participating businesses that you’re eligible for discounts. Most businesses have a discount ranging from 10%-50% with businesses such as Dominos, Little Italy Pizzeria, The Green Spot, Smitten, The Dock, Grand Valley Animal Clinic, Muse and Keywest Photo. 

Also included in your student fees are access to computers and internet, the Healthy Living Center fitness facilities and year-round bus services. If you find yourself looking for something to do, Bobcat games are free to all BU students!

#IBelieveYou Campaign

This week around the Brandon University campus students may have noticed new posters in the common areas that display #IBelieveYou on them. Starting in Alberta in 2013 this campaign is primarily promoted through social media and the hashtag #IBeliveYou. It covers all social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube in order to reach a broad audience, spark conversations, and educate as many people as possible. The goal of this campaign is to spread the message to victims of sexual assault that they will be believed and that support is available for them if they were to come forward. It also focuses on training bystanders to be that support for victims and show them that being believed is a big obstacle for most victims of sexual assault. This is due to the victims fear that they won’t be believed or taken seriously if they were to disclose their experience.  

Launched this past week at BU by the Sexual Violence Education and Prevention Coordinator, Carla Navid, the campaign has been brought to BU in an attempt to educate the campus community. Navid hosted a few events on campus including the #IBelieveYou selfie booth in the courtyard on September 11th which promoted uploading a selfie with #IBelieveYou to show support and spread awareness through social media. She also organized two bystander training sessions on September 11th and 13th which focused on teaching students how to intervene and prevent sexual assault before it happens. For more information on ways to get involved visit the campaign website www.brandonu.ca/sexualviolence/ibelieveyou/.

Navid wants to educate students at Brandon University about the support for sexual assault survivors that is available and easily accessible right here on campus. She advocates for survivors that they should come forward in whatever way they feel comfortable. For support throughout the whole process Navid can be found in her office which is located at 227 inside the Health Studies Building. 

Ontario Universities And Free Speech: Continued

In following up on last week’s article on the free speech issue in Ontario Universities I conducted the following interview of the CFS spokesperson Nour Alideeb. 

The Quill: What is the background? What prompted the government to believe this new directive to be necessary?

Nour Alideeb: “Protecting free speech is fundamental to academia. It allows for the open exchange of ideas, creative and critical thinking, and is key to our ability to grow intellectually. The concept of free speech is being co-opted to give people who carry extreme views a platform at Ontario colleges and universities. The Ford government is using this policy to protect those who wish to continue to argue for racist, sexist and homophobic ideologies that people have fought for generations to prove wrong. We believe that this policy is in response to a number of high profile incidences over the past 3 years that were successfully shut down at various campuses by students, staff and faculty.”

TQ: Does the CFS have any way of currently monitoring the state of free speech on campuses? If so in what ways is it preferential to monitoring by the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario? 

NA: “The Federation has no way of tracking and keeping records of such incidents other than when they are high profile and make it to the media or if members reach out to the Federation to report them and seek support.” 

TQ: How are the Universities or the CFS-O fighting back against this attack.

NA: “The Canadian Federation of Students - Ontario is supporting students across the province who want to be apart of the consultation sessions between now and January 2019. We are committed to ensuring that students’ voices and concerns are heard and reflected in this policy. In addition, we are working with other campus organizations, faculty and labour unions to challenge this policy. Though we are the largest and oldest organization representing students in post-secondary education, the government has not consulted us on this new policy. We will be contacting the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities to share our concerns and opposition to this policy.”

The question laying at the heart of this issue goes as follows. Should all viewpoints be protected with the right to free speech, or do the ones that we perceive to be harmful need to be limited? What are the full ramifications of this decision? Try and find the faults in whatever conclusion you make and attempt to see the matter from the other side. Some topics require education, experience and open-mindedness, so don’t hastily rush to condemn one side or the other. How would one justify totally free speech and what are the reasons to support the limiting of certain ideas?

What The Hell(o)

You’ve seen it. I’ve seen it. You probably have wondered: What the hell does it mean? The bright yellow signs posted in yards, windows and on the boulevard that greet students from both post-secondary institutions in the Wheat City. These The Big Hello are part of a social media campaign to highlight the relationship between Assiniboine Community College and Brandon University.

Assiniboine Community College and Brandon University are the two dominant post-secondary institutions in Brandon and have created these campaigns to highlight the collaborations between these institutions. Partnerships include the 2+2 programs, a new joint program in Public History as well as shared residence spaces.

“Having two post-secondary institutions in a community the size of ours brings many enormous advantages — for students who appreciate the quality and options we can offer, for all levels of government who can invest through us in economic and labour-market growth, and for the business and community organizations who benefit from the passion, creativity and industry of our students, faculty and staff,” said ACC President Mark Frison.

Interim BU President Steve Robinson echoed similar sentiments of how Brandon benefits from its students, “Students come to Brandon and share with us their perspectives, their ambition and their energy. As they graduate and move full-time into the workforce and into civic life, the skills and insight they develop through education provide significant economic, cultural and social benefits to us all.”

Both institutions enrich the Westman Community with Bobcat games at the HLC, The Grey Owl at the North End ACC campus and the Western Centennial Hall which provides a space for musical performances. While these facilities were designed with students in mind, its integration into the wider community has formed an invaluable connection between ACC, BU, Brandon and the surrounding area.

MJ Policy at BU 

Starting October 17th Cannabis will be legalized across Canada. As a result of this new legislation Brandon University will be making changes to their administrative and Board policies in regards to the use of marijuana on BU property. The Board meeting to develop these policies will occur on September 22nd. 

In accordance with Manitoba legislation Cannabis will not be allowed to be smoked anywhere on the Brandon University campus as it is public property. Policies will also be developed that address the medical use of marijuana on campus. 

The legal use of Cannabis in Manitoba comes with its own set of rigid regulations. The legal age for possession, purchase and use of Marijuana has been set to 19 years old. This age, according to the Government of Manitoba website, was decided upon to “keep cannabis out of the hands of youth, protect the health of young people and restrict the legal market.”.

Multiple Acts were put in place to promote the safe distribution and retail of cannabis in the public which state that all stores or online businesses selling cannabis must be provincially licensed. Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries is responsible for all marijuana that is available for retail and businesses must source their product through them. 

Changes were made to The Highway Traffic Act to incorporate consequences for drug-impaired driving. Drivers may receive a 24-hour suspension on their license with the possibility of further consequences if a police officer believes the driver is under the influence of drugs. Cannabis must be kept in an inaccessible compartment of the vehicle when it is in use. 

For more information on the legalization of cannabis in Manitoba you can visit the Government of Manitoba website gov.mb.ca. More information about the Brandon University policies regarding the use of cannabis on campus will be available after the Board meeting on September 22nd. 

CFS Free Speech

The provincial government of Ontario recently mandated that all publicly assisted colleges and universities within the province develop and post their own free speech policies by January 1, 2019. If Institutions do not comply the provincial government may withhold funding. The Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario is crying wolf. They say that this unprecedented policy is an attack on universities. It claims that the move forces people to choose a side in an important public debate. According to the new directive the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario is to monitor progress of free speech.   

Why should you care about such matters? To many students university may just be a vehicle to a good career. Although it is true that in the world that we live in today such post-grad success is no longer guaranteed, it is no less a valid motivation for a number of university students. However in the charged political climate that we find ourselves in today it comes to mind that the university campus should and could represent something more. University is a place where ideas could be tested and tried. Where opposing opinions could face off in contest to see which fails under scrutiny. A school that disallows representation, through civil discourse, to groups and camps of thought that it finds reprehensible, ridiculous or erroneous is committing a grave mistake. Foremost, such actions are an affront to the spirit of the Institution. Men such as Darwin, Copernicus, or Luther were proponents of just such unpopular views. Today they are seen as revolutionaries, yet one must ask how our world would look like today should they have been successfully silenced. A spirit open to at least engaging a variety of ideas is one that will lead to continuing progress. What of those opinions which bear no hope of vindication however? Even in these cases we must allow them a voice. For how are we to test the soundness of our own argument except by the criticisms voiced by those who dissent? Furthermore, it is our moral obligation, as Socrates would have it, to engage those which we deem in the wrong in a manner which may enlighten them. If universities in Ontario have failed to ensure free speech then they should be ashamed that the government had to step in. However if this is simply a move by the government to control the voice of academia then they haven't learnt a thing from history.

I have contacted the chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario for further comments. At this time there has been no reply.

Welcome Letter From The Editor - Robert Killam III

It was four years ago the first time I walked on campus for classes. Three years ago I figured out what my major was going to be, following something I loved. Two years since I was frightened about not making it into the program I wanted to. One year since I entered the Faculty of Education as an aspiring History teacher. 

Next year I don't know what the future will hold for me. I know what I want it to hold but life has this funny way of saying “not yet,” “I got something different for you,” or basically “you’re an idiot.” What was consistent and didn't surprise me throughout my academic career was my jobs I worked at, doing things I love. All aspects of my life lined up and I was able to chase several different dreams at once. This year I will be completing my studies as an Education student to become a teacher, I will get my promotion within 26th Field Artillery Regiment to Lieutenant and as a member of The Quill I will have the opportunity to represent the organization as the Editor-in-Chief. I am truly honoured and humbled to have had my life turn out so fortunate.

It has been many hours of hard work, whether it was putting together my first newspaper, completing my Basic Military Officer Qualification Army with my fellow Quill reporter Mr. Gohl, or lesson planning nightly and preparing a geography based treasure hunt on my second placement at the high school in McCreary Manitoba. They all took a lot of time, persistence and dedication to succeed at, sacrificing a social life and sleep.

I don’t expect a lot of either of those this coming year. I’m going to make a lot of mistakes, put my foot in my mouth, not achieve all of my goals and be extremely overwhelmed this season. I have no regrets though. I wont shy away from these challenges I will face. I pray not for lighter burdens but for broader shoulders. 

It is with this in mind that I welcome you to Brandon University. I would like to welcome you into a land of possibilities and changes. I hope that you are all trying new things and taking leaps and bounds to achieve your dreams and goals. Even if you trip along the run, even if your grades fall during the midterm exams, never give up. Learn to fail better. Learn that to fail something is not necessarily a failure on your part. It is a stepping stone on your path, one that can lead to brilliant revelations if you let it. Never give up.

I spent a lot of time writing this article. Going about it in 3-4 different ways before deciding on what version I wanted to send. What version of it I thought would be most beneficial to our readers. I’ve been writing these articles for four years now and I still have difficulty, I still have to work hard and plan through things in different ways to try and get what I suspect are the best results. It doesn't matter if only one person reads this article, if there is a possibility that The Quill can help, inform or support that one person, then I believe we have the responsibility to produce the highest quality of content possible.

I will work at becoming a better Editor and aim to offer as much support to the campus community as possible. If you need to get ahold of me for a story you would like covered, have something you would like to talk about or would like to write for us you can contact me at the eic.thequill@gmail.com. I can’t promise an exact time I will respond but my goal is to check all my emails twice daily and get responses out asap.

I look forward to this year. I hope you do to. Best of luck and welcome to Brandon University.

 History of Brandon University

The first Baptist settlers arrived in southwestern Manitoba in 1871, and soon after, decided they need a denominational college for Manitoba’s youth. After a failed attempt to open Prairie College in Rapid city, Professor S.J. McKee took over the endeavour but sought to open the college in Brandon after the Canadian Pacific Railway had been established through the Assiniboine Valley. At the same time, a Toronto industrialist, Mr. William Davies and his sister-in-law, Mrs. Emily Davies, pledged $25,000 in support of opening a Baptist College in Brandon. The two enterprises were merged into one institution. Headed by the Baptist Convention of Manitoba and the North West Territories, and affiliated with McMaster University, Brandon College was born in 1899, and classes began in the same year. The college focused on liberal arts, offering studies in Theology, and had both a high school department, and a commercial department; the school of music was added in 1906.  

Enrolment sharply decreased in 1916, as more than 200 students served in the first world war. Citing financial reasons, the Baptist Church withdrew their support in 1938, and the college became non-denominational. Brandon College established a Bachelor of Science degree in 1939, and went on to offer the first Bachelor of Music program in Manitoba, added in 1963.

Brandon College ended their affiliation with McMaster in 1939, and became instead associated with the University of Manitoba. On June 5th, 1967, Brandon College received its charter and became Brandon University. The occasion coincided with the visit of Her Royal Highness Princess Alexandra and the Honourable Angus Ogilvy, while the charter was dated July 1, 1967 to commemorate the centennial of Canada’s confederation.  

BU’s Interim President Dr. Steve Robinson reflected on this transition in 2017; “When we were chartered as Brandon University, we took a significant and ambitious step in our continuing growth. It was a period of progress, with new buildings and new programs laying the foundations for today’s success.”

Last year, homecoming weekend welcomed back over 200 alumni from many graduating classes, particularly Brandon College’s last graduating class, the class of 1967. The year honoured the milestone of the 50th anniversary of Brandon University’s charter. This year’s homecoming will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first class of graduates to convocate from the newly-charted Brandon University. 

Last year’s 50th anniversary allowed for discussion of BU’s lasting impact on the community; “This goes far beyond the hundreds of millions of dollars in economic impact produced by BU every year. Research here advances and create new knowledge, creative and scholarly works both delight and inform us all, and our graduates enrich our culture and our communities as engaged citizens with meaningful careers.” Dr. Robinson says, “Brandon University makes a tremendous impact every single day. Our students, faculty, staff and alumni make essential contributions here on campus and to the vibrancy of our communities”. 

The Interim President added that, “becoming a chartered university brought with it the benefits of autonomy, allowing us to govern and award our own degrees and to nimbly respond to community needs through research and new programming. It was a time of tremendous change and growth for post-secondary education in Canada, and Brandon University is embracing similar change right now.” With the acquisition of new property downtown, and a new Campus Master Plan, Brandon University will continue to grow and thrive.  


Women's Day

On Thursday, March 8th, Brandon University (BU) celebrated fifteen female students in honour of International Women’s Day. With a reception held in the Gathering Space of the John E. Robbins Library from 4:30PM to 6:30PM, the ladies of BU had the opportunity to mingle with their fellow students as well as staff and faculty members and discuss their distinguishing achievements.

The ladies were nominated by faculty and staff for the recognition. “It’s very inspiring to see such a talented, intelligent and diverse collection of students at BU,” said Dr. Cathryn Smith in a BU press release. Smith is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Education and the chair of BU’s Status of Women Review Committee.

Among the women honoured on Thursday, at least six different Manitoba communities were represented, as well as women originally from Costa Rica, Jamaica, and Greece.

Among the honourees were Abby Ziprick, Amanda Martin, Eleni Galatsanou Tellidis, Emily Hodge, Ericka Serrano, Jasmine Bajus, Jen Greigson, Jenna McDonald, Jennifer Kennedy, Katherine Charles, Kelsey Demond, Sherine Salmon, Tara VanCauwenberghe, Tori Wirch, and Whitney Hodgins.

Congratulations, ladies! We at The Quill are so proud to attend an institution with so many remarkable people!


The IELTS (International English Language Testing System) test is to be held at Brandon University this year. The IELTS which is co-owned by British Council is one of the worlds most popular English language proficiency tests. The test is designed to assess the language ability of people who aim to study and work in, immigrate to and integrate into an English-speaking environment. It is based on the four key English skills required by those wishing to excel in Canadian society: listening, reading, writing and speaking. British council has been teaching English throughout the world for 85 years and evaluating it through IELTS for the past 25.

The global outreach that this testing system has cannot be understated. There are 1,100 test centers and locations around the world that, over the past years, have provided English language testing to three million people. Within Canada, IELTS is the preferred high stakes English language test. Trusted by over 350 Canadian organizations, it was the first test to be recognized by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC, formerly CIC) and Immigration Québec as proof of English language proficiency for such government programs as Express Entry and other Canadian programs. In May 2014, IRCC announced it was renewing its trust in IELTS for another five years.

One of those organizations that recognizes IELTS scoring is Brandon University itself. Any international student whose mother tongue is not English will be required to submit evidence acceptable to the University or faculty that a minimum English proficiency scoring was attained. The minimal acceptable score on the IELTS is a 6.5 overall. The way that ranking within the testing system works is that each skill, once tested, is assigned a score from 1-9 and then an overall band score is issued.

Tests such as this one allow for Brandon University to accept students from around the world while still ensuring that they are not left at a disadvantage in their studies due to the presence of a language barrier. With the ever-shrinking world that we are living in it is important that Brandon University makes itself a desirable location of study not only for native Canadians, but international students as well. BU has managed to achieve this, and the fact that events such as this one are now also being held at BU shows that it is continuing to take steps down the right path.

Enactus To File Taxes

We’re now coming onto one of the most stressful times of the year as a student. Not only is it marathon writing for term papers, cramming for midterms and finals, but now’s the time to get ready to file taxes.  If you’re a student like me who has zero financial literacy and doesn’t know much past what a T4 is, then you’re going to need some help. Fortunately, the lovely folks who are part of Enactus will help with your financial woes. Enactus is a university group run by students who use business to address issues such as food security and financial literacy. The Brandon chapter of Enactus is volunteering their time to help students by filing their taxes… for free!

Enactus will be running their free tax clinic from March 12th to April 20th in CHO 407. Their clinic will run Monday, Wednesday to Friday from 9:30AM to 3:30PM and Tuesday from 9:30AM to 12:30PM, then re-opening from 1:30PM to 3:30PM. Eligible students are single people who make $30,000 or less per year, or couples who earn up to $40,000 jointly per year. To file your taxes students must bring their student ID, social insurance number, tax receipts (i.e. T4s, T2202A, etc.) and receipts for other expenses.