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January News Briefs: What you missed over the break

Although the Brunswickan signed off for the winter break, the holiday season didn’t stop the news from happening. Here’s a quick recap of what you missed during 2017’s final moments:

UNB’s Office of the Campus Sexual Assault Advocate releases first annual report

The Office of the Campus Sexual Assault Support Advocate (CSASA) released a report in December that showed an increase in the number of reported acts of sexual violence at UNB.

The annual report includes the activities of both advocates from Sept. 1, 2016 to Sept. 1, 2017 and the data is reflective of UNB student-connected cases.

The report shows a significant increase in the number of reported acts of sexual violence. Of the over 60 incidences received by the advocates, 38 were affiliated with UNB students and 92 per cent of the 38 incidents were students from UNB Fredericton

Ninety-four per cent of the CSASAs’ clients over the year were female and 96 per cent of the identified perpetrators were male, which the report said is reflective of the gendered nature of sexual violence.

Because of privacy concerns raised by small numbers, statistics regarding UNB’s transgender population couldn’t be disclosed—but the report states that their representation in the CSASAs’ clientele highlights “their increased risk to this type of violence and a need to create stronger preventative measures and cultural change.”

The Office of the Campus Sexual Assault Advocate was established in accordance with UNB’s new Sexual Assault Policy and Procedures, which was released in May 2016. Both UNB campuses have an advocate.

Maggie Forsythe is the advocate for the Fredericton campus, hired through the Fredericton Sexual Assault Centre (FSAC); she also serves STU and NBCC. The CSASA for the Saint John campus is April Jendrosch.

The advocates also reported on their work around intervention and response, prevention and education, policy development and research, and evaluation. A full copy of the report can be found on the UNB website.

“I’m proud of the work that’s been done over the past year in creating more safe and welcoming spaces for our students. There are many people across the university who have worked hard to ensure that those who experience sexual assault have access to support and that those who commit a sexual assault are held accountable,” said Campbell.

Potential plans to extend life of Sir Max Aitken pool

On Dec. 21, CBC reported news that UNB’s Sir Max Aitken Pool, which was slated for decommission this upcoming Fall—a long-anticipated fate for the costly, crumbling building—will be lasting longer than previously thought.

According to the CBC article, UNB vice-president academic George MacLean said that to provide some “certainty” to their aquatic programs, UNB would be willing to keep Sir Max Aitken open for another year if the city of Fredericton committed to sharing costs for the construction and operations of a new pool.

The Brunswickan did a feature on the pool closure in our November issue, which highlighted the stress that would be put on the pool’s various user-groups if the city’s only competition pool were to shut down with no replacement, and the lobbying efforts of groups like the Capital Region Aquatics Facility Team (CRAFT) to prevent this from happening.

At the time of the Brunswickan’s feature, MacLean reported that the university and the city were having discussions but that no decisions had been reached.

CBC reports more recently that the university presented their proposal to a closed city council session before the new year and are awaiting a response early this month.

Release of UNB’s annual report

The President’s Office sent out the university’s annual report on Dec. 11, which featured various initiatives UNB has been pursuing over the past year and a message from UNB president Eddy Campbell.

Campbell said in his message that the 2016-2017 year was one of reflection—one where UNB took some time to consider how they want to move forward based on where they’ve come from.

Part of this, Campbell noted, meant acknowledging the mistakes made with regards to Canada’s relations with First Nations, and examining ways the university can contribute to reconciliation.

Exemplifying his optimism for the times ahead, Campbell parted with a quote from Anne Shirley of Anne of Green Gables fame:

“Tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet.”

Divided into six sections, the annual report provides commentary on countless UNB stories—from innovative research initiatives in Smart Grid technology and 3D metal printing to celebrating continued success in the athletic and entrepreneurial worlds.

For instance, UNB has incubated 55 startups in the past two years. In addition, back-to-back national champions, the UNB Varsity Reds men’s hockey team, will be joined in 2018-19 by a reinstated varsity women’s hockey team.

The report highlighted the construction of new infrastructure on both campuses: a new kinesiology building in Fredericton and a multi-research greenhouse in Saint John. The report also provided a financial update that included plans to balance UNB’s budget by 2020-21.

“I am incredibly proud of the work that is being done here every day by our faculty, students and staff. Please take some time to read a few of their stories as an illustration of the impact we’re making in New Brunswick, in Canada and around the world,” said Campbell in an email sharing the report with students.

The annual report is available on the UNB website.

UNB student charged in Shoppers ceiling standoff

Tommy Cousineau, a UNB Engineering student arrested in a break-and-enter at a Shoppers Drug Mart last November, was charged in provincial court on Dec. 29, according to CBC.

The 26-year-old was found hiding in the ceiling of the Shoppers Drug Mart on Prospect Street on Nov. 13, but resisted removal, eliciting a “barricaded person call” to be made following the initial call.

The situation turned into a three hour standoff, with on-scene assistance from an emergency response team, patrol officers, canine unit, crisis negotiators and the Fredericton fire department before Cousineau finally agreed to come down.

Cousineau will appear in court again on Feb. 20 to defend himself against charges of break and enter, having instruments for the purpose of a break-in and having his face covered by a mask.

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