Caper Times Year in Review 2018-2019
On behalf of Caper Times staff (Daniel, Shivam and Robert), we thank you for your support and interest in stories that directly concern the Cape Breton University Community. This year Caper Times moved to online-only publishing; it may have taken a while to find our audience, but find you we did! This school year the Caper Times recorded over 10,000 views, and we hope that this is only the beginning of things to come.
The topics that interested you most this year were connected to the sudden increase of international students beginning in September. There were hardships and growing pains experienced by some, but also positive stories about people helping one another make connections and get settled.
Of particular concern for new international students were the availability of housing, public transportation, and part-time jobs.
An acute housing shortage in the Fall caused the price of rent to increase markedly and some students ended up in difficult living situations (find one extreme example of this, involving students evicted at knifepoint, here.). Housing continued to be an issue in the Winter Term as well (Helping Out or Taking Advantage? Students face rising costs as January intake set to arrive).
Public transit saw some improvements with formal cooperation between CBU, CBUSU, and CBRM Transit that increased bus routes to and from CBU. (Daniel’s photo essay shows just how strained the transit system was early on).
The lack of part-time jobs was a concern for many students from India (CBC Article Sparks Anger, Disagreement Among Indian Students, Director of Student Affairs on Transit, Housing, and Jobs). This was made worse with the closure of the Servicom call centre, later re-opened under new management.
In spite of these hardships, students remained upbeat about the potential to come together and realize the multicultural experience the school promotes (Sadana: Connected to the World? , Multicultural Effort culminates in ‘Multicultural Week’ at CBU) while President Dingwall encouraged further enrolment from the Indian community (Dingwall to Punjab, India: Send More Students!).
Issues affecting returning and domestic students were on our radar as well; examples include when a student protested the addition of a $10 fee for the dean’s list banquet, or more recently when Nursing Students were Surprised by $515 in Exam Fees Close to Final Semester.
Students’ Union politics were also under scrutiny this year:
Two senior staff positions at CBUSU were eliminated with no public explanation, leaving the future of The Pit in limbo.
We had an exclusive interview with CFS Chair Coty Zachariah about our Students’ Union’s tumultuous relationship with the organization in the past. This story came on the eve of being eligible to defederate from CFS next September. CFS also hosted a forum on fairness for international students at CBU.
Students’ Union elections received a record turnout with Indian students making up most of the ballot. The man in charge of the elections highlighted this unprecedented challenge at a meeting of the SRC (Student Representative Council).
Recently Student Union President Gunny Brar faced allegations that a conflict of interest may have affected the hiring process for the Vice President of Finance and Operations. This story is ongoing, with further developments likely during the last SRC meeting today, April 23rd.
Unfortunately, this will be our last article of the year. There are still more loose ends we would like to see tied up, threads to pull, but we simply ran out of time. The Caper Times currently runs roughly from September to April— as enrollment and student involvement on campus continues to rise, it is our hope that the paper will operate year-round in the not-to-distant future.
This is the end of our storytelling; but as with every year before, new stories will soon be told – with new voices. It is our hope that future Caper Times employees have the ambition, diligence, and courage to follow those stories wherever they should lead.