New Kinesiology building opens its doors

On Aug. 1 UNB officially cut the ribbon on its new home for the Faculty of Kinesiology. The 60 000 square-foot, three-storey building cost a total of $36 million, of which the Government of Canada and the Government of New Brunswick invested $25 million. According to a UNB press release announcing its opening, the building is intended to “create a nationally significant research cluster focused on health, wellness, physical fitness and health promotion that will establish New Brunswick as a leader in preventative health care.” In the release, Fredericton MP Matt DeCourcey is quoted as saying, “Through the opening of UNB’s brand new Kinesiology Building, our city and province will continue to be leaders in innovative health research that will provide a greater sense of well-being for all Canadians.”

UNB constructed the new building to replace the decommissioning Lady Beaverbrook Gym. After opening in 1940, the gym has not been able to keep up with the needs of the school’s growing and modernizing kinesiology faculty. The university said that efforts to build the new Centre for Healthy Living first began in 2004 while construction on the building started in fall 2016. This past May it was announced that the Lady Beaverbrook Gym will remain open for at least three more years in order to preserve the Max Aitken Pool housed within it, which is currently the city’s only competition-sized aquatic centre.

Campus cannabis policy announced

With cannabis set to be legalized nationally on Oct. 17, UNB created a cannabis working group to consider the implications of legalization on its Fredericton and Saint John campuses. The office of UNB president Eddie Campbell revealed the details of the updated policy for recreational cannabis in late June through an e-mail sent to students. The revised policy states that, in accordance with provincial laws, consumption of marijuana will be restricted to “private dwellings, vacant land and prescribed locations.” Smoking of any kind will remain banned from residences and smoking cannabis will not be permitted anywhere on campus. Edible cannabis products may only be consumed by individuals over the age of 19 and must be done in private residence rooms and “designated residence common rooms or lounges.” Additionally, the cultivation of cannabis plants anywhere on campus will not be permitted and intoxication or impairment from cannabis use while working or in class will be addressed through “internal policies and procedures.”

Campbell also noted that, despite these policies, the university must still accommodate the use of medical marijuana and will formalize the details of such accommodation in consultation with Human Resources and Student Services.

Board of Governors approves tuition increase

UNB is moving ahead with its plan to increase tuition for each of its faculties, undeterred by concerns and criticisms voiced by students, staff and faculty members. The Board of Governors voted on the issue in mid-May despite Senate’s recommendation that the decision be delayed until October. The tuition hike, which is set to take effect in fall of 2019 and will only apply to incoming students, will introduce differential fees for each faculty; the Faculty of Law is set to experience the steepest increase.

In a statement reacting to the announcement, the UNB Student Union called the Board of Governor’s decision “profoundly disappointing.”

“The timing of the vote is particularly disconcerting as many students are away for the summer term,” the statement said.

Specific rates for each faculty are still not set in stone and will not be ratified until the spring of 2019.

Sharon Wahl named Dean of Education

In late June, UNB announced the appointment of its new dean of education,  Sharon Wahl. The position had been vacant since the passing of Ann Sherman, the preceding dean of education, in the summer of 2017. Wahl has previously served as a professor and associate dean of education at Vancouver Island University and has more than 30 years of teaching experience.

In the press release announcing her hiring, Wahl expressed her desire to further establish the faculty as a leader in the field of education.

“Research tells us that the nature of learning is changing as our societies continue to evolve. I believe we are in a prime position to facilitate that evolution,” she said. “The faculty of education at UNB has a strong and vibrant position in the community and I am eager to continue that good work.”

Wahl’s five-year term as dean began on July 1, 2018.