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UBC Reports | Vol. 49 | No. 9 | Sep. 4, 2003


Highlights of UBC Media Coverage in August 2003

Compiled by Brian Lin

Tuition Keeps Rising

A recently released Statistics Canada report shows undergraduate students will pay on average 7.4 per cent more in tuition fees, the biggest increase in four years. This year, the cost of tuition in B.C. will rise 30 per cent on the heels of a similar increase last year.

UBC Vice-President Brian Sullivan told The Globe and Mail that schools in the province have just been playing a game of catch-up to the rest of the country in order to provide increased capacity and quality education to its students.

While acknowledging that paying these extra fees has been challenging for students, Sullivan said the university has made available more financial assistance and tried to expand employment opportunities on campus.


UBC law and sociology professor Richard Ericson told the San Francisco Chronicle that many of the new security guards are being hired to do “what public police used to do, public-order policing on the street itself.

“Although they’re only making citizen’s arrests, they are indeed making the arrests. They may give people their rights in turning them over to police, and because they made the observation, they actually write out reports for prosecutors. The public police only come in after the fact to detain or release the people officially and then process them further from there.”

Last year, California licensed 15,450 new security officers, for a total of 185,000. Of that number, an estimated 14,000 are licensed to carry guns.

Caution on New Drug

Commenting on Seasonale, a new drug designed to reduce the number of menstrual cycles a woman undergoes from 13 a year to four, UBC endocrinology researcher Christine Hitchcock told The Economist that there isn’t enough research to show the long-term effects of the extended use of oral contraceptives on the breast.

Hitchcock is alarmed that some people talk about Seasonale in the same way they might talk about taking a daily vitamin pill.

Animal Welfare Leap

UBC animal behaviour and welfare professor David Fraser told USA Today that the period from 1999 to 2002 was a “watershed” in animal welfare worldwide.

Over the past five years, the push for more humane care is coming from companies with the economic clout to make producers sit up and take notice -- supermarkets and fast food restaurants, including the world’s most famous purveyor of beef, McDonald’s.

“It was as if a crucial mass had been reached and animal welfare and assurance programs became the thing to do,” Fraser said.

Women Run Business Like Men

UBC organizational behaviour professor Nancy Langton told the National Post that there is no evidence women run businesses any differently than men do.

Since 1995, Langton and her colleagues have tracked the owners of 229 small businesses in Vancouver, 141 of which were owned by men and 88 owned by women.

“Women are saying they’re using a more collaborative style,” said Langton. “They make it seem like it’s run in a more female way, but men and women are doing it the same way.”

Langton said the results should reassure banks that might be hesitant to lend money to women, or companies that might waver in choosing a woman for a top managerial role.

Forest Fire Dissected

UBC forest sciences professor Michael Feller told the Vancouver Sun that a forest fire, at its ferocious worst, can reach temperatures as high as 800 degrees Celsius and feed voraciously on fuel, oxygen and heat.

A forest fire needs heat, wind and an unstable atmosphere to get going, exactly the conditions currently present in much of southern B.C., said Feller.

Despite the terror they cause in people, fires are not only natural to B.C.’s forest, they’re essential for the survival of many of its species. “Whenever there’s a fire close to houses and cities, there’s a lot of hype and media coverage. But when you look at the figures and compare them to historical figures, we haven’t had a particularly heavy fire season.”

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Last reviewed 22-Sep-2006

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