Fredericton, Indigenous, News, St. Thomas University

Reconciliation through education: Conference asks how STU can participate

St. Thomas University hosted its first-ever conference towards reconciliation Sept. 27 to 29.

The conference was part of a series of events planned for this year to address how STU can participate in meeting the demands of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.

Becoming allies

The conference began last Wednesday afternoon with an address from university president Dawn Russell.

Russell acknowledged the university’s administration has much to do in terms of reconciliation. She said “Indigenization of the academy” means reconciliation through education, dialogue and collective action.

St. Thomas University has 166 Indigenous students, accounting for eight per cent of its overall student population. Four per cent of its faculty identifies as Indigenous. Russell said both of these numbers are well above the national average, emphasizing the importance of reconciliation for the STU community.

“It won’t be easy,” Russell said, but added STU intends to “win the battle,” and use liberal art skills to “beat this challenge.”

Read the full story here.

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Aquinian, Fredericton, News, St. Thomas University, Students

Long Night Against Procrastination gets large turnout

Over 225 students crowded James Dunn Hall on March 31 for St. Thomas University’s first Long Night Against Procrastination.

The event which ran from 5 p.m. until midnight gave students a chance to meet with representatives from student services like the writing centre and peer tutors, but also presented opportunities to take a break and de-stress as exam season nears.

Heather MacDonald, a learning strategist at STU, said she and her colleagues began storming up plans for the event after hearing of similar events at other universities. She stressed how important it is for students to take breaks in the midst of end-of-semester chaos.

Full story here.

Photo credit: Book Saprasid/The Aquinian

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Canada, Fredericton, New Brunswick, News, Refugees, Saint Mary's University, Sports, St. Thomas University, Students

The Canadian way: SMU uses hockey to welcome refugees

Saint Mary’s University invited 60 Syrian newcomers to the Huskies’ first game at CIS Nationals to give them an authentic Canadian experience and make it “feel like home,” said vice president of student affairs Ossama Nasrallah.

“These refugees will soon become Canadians and stay in Canada,” Nasrallah said. “Refugees are thinking of the future here in Canada and how they will get used to the Canadian culture.”

Nasrallah said it’s important for Canadians to welcome the refugees and that these kind of events also build good student leadership skills for those who care about others and want to make a change in the world.

“A smile from a kid to those students means the world to them and makes them feel they can do better,” said Nasrallah.

St. Thomas’ athletics department could not be reached for comment on possible plans to do anything similar for the Syrian refugees, but men’s hockey team member Dillon Donnelley said it would be a great idea.

“[Hockey]’s our national sport, so in a way it gives the refugees a look at a part of our history and culture,” he said.  “I think it’s a good thing to do for sure.”

Nasrallah said SMU has no other plans to do anything else like this right now, but hopes that a football game could be used for something similar. He also hopes these kinds of events can help Syrian parents feel comfortable about their children’s future when they see the university in action.

“Sports really play a big role in getting people together, especially when you get people to a new game and teach them,” Nasrallah said. “This makes them feel really welcome and the atmosphere in the game makes them feel excited and happy.”

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Aquinian, Fredericton, New Brunswick, News, Sports

New roller derby team The Spitfires roll into ring

Fredericton’s Capital City Rollers roller derby league has announced its newest team, the Spitfires, who will kick off their first season May. 28 at the Willie O’Ree Place.

Rachel Harvey, the league’s communications coordinator and player on all three teams, said the Spitfires was created to blend all skill levels in the league.

“There are a lot of different levels of play,” Harvey said. “We wanted to form a team that would allow us to be able play both A teams and B teams.”

Until now, the Capital City Rollers’ 35-member league has only had two teams: the Daisy Cutters, the higher-level A team, and the Bazooka Janes, the lower-level B team.

Full story here.

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Aquinian, Fredericton, News, St. Thomas University, Students, University of New Brunswick

Safety tips sent after suspected drink spiking

The warning issued to students on nightlife safety and drink-spiking is a safety message that never expires, said St. Thomas’s director of communications Jeffrey Carleton.

An e-mail equipped with prevention tips was sent to STU and UNB students on Mar. 4 after the university received reports from three students who suspected they were the victims of drink-spiking after an evening out.

Full story here.

Photo credit: Book Saprasid/The Aquinian

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Aquinian, Canada, Fredericton, New Brunswick, News, Profile, Sports, St. Thomas University, Students

Athlete of the month looks forward to playoffs

Kelty Apperson said it’s a special feeling to be named St. Thomas University Coastal Graphics Athlete of the Month for January.

“It’s always nice to be recognized for the hard work,” she said. “But I only received this award due to my team. They are always pushing me to be improving, so their support has allowed me to find success on the ice.”

Apperson, a fourth-year student and captain of the women’s hockey team is second in the Atlantic University Sport scoring race with 22 points.

Full story here.

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Arts, Feature, Fredericton, Opinion, Review, St. Thomas University, Students, Theatre, Theatre St. Thomas

The Bacchae: Lisa Anne Ross tackles gender fluidity and moral extremes

Don’t mess with the gods: advice that is heeded by humans in the latest Theatre St. Thomas production. Enter demi-god Dionysus, son of Zeus, self-indulgent and self-assured as he towers over his cult of sexually spell-bound followers who huff and puff in ecstasy with his every move. Now, enter Pentheus, king of Thebes – the city that Dionysus craves revenge over for disbelieving him as a god. Its ruler is the only one who dares to look Dionysus in the eye without being overcome with the erotic infection the demi-god has begun to spread across the land. Soon, the king will find out that his raging testosterone and prison chains hold no power over the unleashed Dionysian powers.

The Euripides tragic play is over 2400 years old, but feels revived and oddly fit for 2016 with director Lisa Anne Ross’ take on it. Even with the long, complex Grecian dialogues the actors and actresses spit out effortlessly, the audience is pulled in by more than just the story.

Dionysus, portrayed by the uncomfortably captivating Alex Rioux, walks into the first scene from behind the disarrayed walls of the Black Box Theatre. He is dressed in a skin-tight black garment and a lacy black top, embellished with a black sparkly corset, matching elbow-length gloves, Mary Jane-style platform heels, and devil horns. He summons his animalistic followers, the Bacchae, into a dance routine to M.I.A.’s “Bad Girls” – something that leaves the audiences wondering how it made its way out of the strip club and into STU’s campus. We are not sure what or who he is, but we cannot look away.

The Bacchae constantly grunt, moan, and sway their hips rousingly at the sight and sound of their beloved Dionysus. Clad in lace, chains, fur and lipstick – though not much else – they look like they’re on their way to a burlesque show or a gothic-themed rave. They murder to the sounds of remixed-Fleetwood Mac and perform rituals to “The Sound of Music.” The group lures in outsiders via sexual summoning and sing and dance in ways that are reminiscent of a tribal cult. They are bad but, for whatever reason, no one can overcome them.

Though the Bacchic frenzy and exploration of movement can be distracting, it doesn’t take away from the messages the story offers. Obvious tones of gender fluidity and homoeroticism reveal themselves. The relationship of religion and sex – and how they overpower or seduce in similar ways – is out in the open for all to see. The riff between Dionysus and Pentheus demonstrates law and order, but also extremes of morals and the ambiguity of madness. The Euripides-meets-Lady-Gaga play suggests that too much madness and excess cause chaos, but not accepting it or maintaining moderation is just as bad. Basically, they’re trying to tell us that extremism of any kind never leads to any good – something that is just as relevant today as it was 2400 years ago.

The Bacchae is not for the faint of heart. It is not for those who are uncomfortable being made to feel uncomfortable. But it is for those who enjoy distorted views of reality and answers to questions they don’t want to ask.

Originally written for a class at St. Thomas University.

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Fredericton, News, Politics, St. Thomas University

Fredericton South MLA Coon upset by budget

Fredericton-South MLA David Coon told a class at St. Thomas University that he believes the government has missed the mark on the 2016 Provincial Budget.

“I think they’ve missed a pretty big opportunity to do things different here,” Coon said. “I think what they’re doing is pretty conventional… it just seems like we’re doing something because we’ve been paralyzed for so long and nothing’s been happening.”

Coon won the vote in the 2014 provincial election as the first Green Party seat to ever be elected into the legislature. Since then, he has struggled to go up against the larger parties of the province, who he contests have convinced the public that “as a province, we’re broke.”

“We weren’t broke then and we’re not broke now,” Coon said. “That’s the sort of narrative that, generally, people have accepted… so, some governments love that because people feel like there’s no choice and they can just carry out their program with limited opposition to it.”

Coon said unconventional ways of doing things in politics need to be considered for New Brunswick, as well as appropriate areas for surplus to be directed. These areas included mental health care, poverty, and income assistance.

He said also said that while he hopes things such as increasing the HST can be useful, looking at the province’s assets in an integrative and unconventional way is what will truly build N.B.’s economy.

“The government has been looking for jobs in all the wrong places,” Coon said. “The right places are here in New Brunswick – building on what we’ve got, building on what we have here, what we’re able to do here, building on the great ideas and ingenuity of people in New Brunswick.”

Originally written for a class at St. Thomas University.

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Fredericton, Irving, New Brunswick, News, Politics, St. Thomas University

Professor calls pressure to develop shale ‘corporate blackmail’

A professor at St. Thomas University has urged that the province of New Brunswick should not feel pressured to develop its shale gas industry.

Tony Tremblay, Canada Chair in New Brunswick Studies, addressed the issue of corporate “blackmail” in a recent editorial, saying it implies N.B. has no right to partner with others if it does not develop its own deposits.

“What the overheated rhetoric obscures is that New Brunswickers want what is best for their province,” Tremblay said. “Not what is best for corporations at the expense of New Brunswick, but what is best for New Brunswick in equal partnership with corporations.”

Exploration of shale gas was encouraged by the previous Conservative government of Premier David Alward. In October 2013, a demonstration against shale gas near Rexton turned violent, resulting in five RCMP cars burned and 40 arrests.

Tremblay said the implications of governments who favour those with similar ideas is worrisome for those in economic barrens.

“When a narrow-minded agenda is aligned squarely with the interests of resource-extracting economies then non-resource extracting economies such as New Brunswick must develop their own policies in overheated and often coercive environments,” he said.

Soon after the Liberal government was elected in the fall of 2014, it legislated a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing for shale gas. A three-member commission was named to investigate and make recommendations, such as new regulations for the industry and feedback from consultations with First Nations representatives. Its findings are expected to be reported to the legislature by the end of March.

Premier Brian Gallant cannot commit to a decision until the panel reports. Despite this, editorials in the Irving-owned Brunswick News Inc. newspapers Monday are already calling for a lift of the moratorium as soon as possible.

Tremblay stressed that the alternative to this blackmail from corporations is a responsible and respectful dialogue with New Brunswickers.

“New Brunswickers await clear and honest answers to legitimate questions,” he said. “In an absence of these answers…New Brunswickers will continue to be skeptical of the shale gas agenda.”

He also said that the threats and continued insults will never be enough and will not win the long argument.

“What New Brunswickers have been asking for all along, and what our leaders seem strangely incapable of providing, is transparency and forthrightness,” Tremblay said. “If there is a moratorium on anything in this province, the moratorium on transparency is surely the longest-lived.”

Originally written for a class at St. Thomas University.

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Aquinian, Fredericton, New Brunswick, News, Profile, Sports, St. Thomas University, Students

Provincial and STU records broken

Two Tommies got-off to a record-breaking start this season at the 2015 Gagetown Indoor Track and Field Meet Nov. 28.

Jonathon Gionet broke the New Brunswick shot put record with a 14.86 meter throw, while Sarah Hickman broke St. Thomas University’s record in the 60 and 200 meters race.

Gionet, a fourth-year student from Bathurst beat the 21-year-old former record of 14.85 meters. This was also a personal-best performance for Gionet that earned him the 2015 Atlantic University Sport title.

Full story here.

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