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The PAH sits down with McGill State of Mind video creators

The Prince Arthur Herald’s CEO, Alexandre Meterissian, sat down on Monday with Trip Yang and Nasser Marwan Al-Shawwa, two of the gentlemen behind the McGill State of Mind video. Trip is the singer in the video and he is a 2011 McGill graduate in Psychology and Economics. Nasser is a current graduate student in Civil Engineering and the pianist behind the song. Meterissian: What made you put all this effort into making this music video?Yang: I have wanted to make this video for a very long time now. My goal was always to show the rich and vibrant student life we find here at McGill. I believe that the melody and the lyrics that my team and I chose, have really been able to “catch” the student life feeling/experience. We wanted to stay away from political ideologies and focus on campus unity.Meterissian: You talked about a lot of McGill landmarks and events in the video, but which one is your favourite?Yang: Frosh week my first year was simply epic and I remember it like it was yesterday.It really opened my eyes to the university world and allowed me to make new friends that I still have today.Al-Shawwa: I have been at McGill since 2006 and did my under-grad here, so I have had many great moments. I would have to say that “open-mic nights” have been my favourite event at McGill.Meterissian: What is your favourite genre of music?Al-Shawwa: I really love Jazz and Blues, but I also enjoy Hip-HopYang: Obviously Hip-Hop is my favourite genre of music, but I really love live music. During the production of our song, we working with Fight Band and mixed a lot of live marching bands elements into it.Meterissian: What made you choose the melody of the song “New York” for this music video?Yang:… Read More

Queen’s University averts faculty strike after all-night negotiations

Following weeks of uncertainty, Queen’s University has struck a past-the-deadline deal with leadership of the Queen’s University Faculty Association (QUFA), avoiding the threat that students would be returning to a faculty strike or lockout this September.The University’s website is reporting this hour that the deal is tentative, but that both sides are satisfied with the terms and will seek ratification of the agreement in their respective bodies. It will be subject to a vote of QUFA members and the Queen’s Board of Trustees, both of which are expected later this week.In a press release, Principal Daniel Woolf said, “I know these talks were very challenging—there were significant and complex issues at the table—and this outcome is the result of hard work and the parties’ shared dedication to Queen’s.”The union struck a different tone in their release. In a message to members, QUFA President Paul Young stated: “In order to avert a crisis at Queen’s University, and despite deep reservations about some aspects of this proposal, the QUFA Executive has accepted the last employer offer received at 4:40 AM on Monday, August 15, 2011. The QUFA Executive will send the proposal to the QUFA Membership for a ratification vote.”QUFA had been working without a contract since their previous agreement expired on April 30 of this year. The details of the proposed contract will become public after ratification votes by both bodies.This follows merely a week after the University struck an agreement with three locals of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE)—who represents technicians, library workers, and custodial staff. Stay with the Prince Arthur Herald for the most in-depth coverage of this story. Read More

Interview: No to mandatory student unions

A new study released today by the Frontier Centre for Public Policy (FCPP), a think tank based in the Prairie provinces, criticizes student unions in general and especially the practice of “mandatory student unionism.”Jonathan Wensveen, the author, is a current graduate student at Carleton University studying political science and international relations. Wensveen was motivated to write the report, entitled “The Case for Voluntary Student Unionism,” by his own disappointment as an undergraduate with his student union and his frustration that he could not opt out of it.Whether students agree or disagree with the report’s conclusions, it certainly comes at an appropriate time. Canadian higher education has been increasingly tense lately, with this autumn already characterized by protests over tuition hikes, arguments over the funding of student groups, and labour and academic strikes. Student unions have inevitably been drawn into – and sometimes incited – much of this controversy.Wensveen’s report also taps into a potent market. Conservative students have long criticized university student unions, which have a reputation as centres of leftist activism. However, Wensveen’s report takes a more philosophical approach: he criticizes the idea of “mandatory” student unionism itself.Wensveen recently agreed to a short interview with the Herald.The Prince Arthur Herald: Tell us some background about yourself. Jonathan Wensveen: After I was done with my undergraduate thesis, I was looking for something to fill my time with before I went to graduate school. I ended up interning with the Frontier Centre.   The Herald: Tell us about the Frontier Centre.JW: It is a public policy think tank that addresses issues related to liberty and economics. A lot of the stuff they focus on is related to the West, the Western provinces. It is officially nonpartisan, but typically promote policies that reflect libertarian or free market ideals.The Herald: What motivated you to write… Read More