1. It’s almost April 20th, the annual day when marijuana smokers gather, often on campuses, to smoke pot, throw Frisbees and in some cases protest cannabis laws. One such protest, Fill the Hill, happens on Parliament Hill in Ottawa each year. Kyle Walton, a second-year student from Carleton University, told The Fulcrum student newspaper that marijuana is particularly important this year following the Conservative government’s omnibus budget bill, which toughened penalties for marijuana possession. Pot could become an election issue ahead of 2015. Justin Trudeau, who was elected leader of the Liberal Party on Sunday, favours decriminalization. The NDP’s Thomas Mulcair once said he believes legalization would be a mistake, “because the information that we have right now is that the marijuana that’s on the market is extremely potent and can actually cause mental illness.” He later clarified that he does not believe anyone should go to jail for possessing small amounts.
2. Speaking of marijuana, a student at SAIT Polytechnic in Calgary told CBC News she plans to continue using marijuana during class despite the administration’s view that she’s committing academic misconduct. Lisa Kirkman has a medical marijuana license and uses a vapourizer once per hour, including during classes. She says she wants the school to provide a ventilated room.
3. Hundreds of students at the University of British Columbia took part in the fourth annual Undie Run last week. Justin Fleming, writing in The Ubyssey student newspaper, offers a full account (plus photos). Here’s a sample: “In the security office on the second floor a grinning security guard got on the horn and sounded the alarm, turning off the lights as jeers and waggling bums turned his way. Clothes were flying through the air as the chanting grew louder; shorts, shirts, airborne undies like wounded ducks flying back into the crowd. A guy on a megaphone fought for some high ground, his yelling drowned beneath boiling excitement, and all at once, as if on some atavistic cue, we surged forward into the night. The fourth annual Undie Run was underway.”
4. The 2013 International Quidditch Association World Cup was held this weekend in Kissimmee, Fla. The Harry Potter inspired sport is now played at more than 1,000 campuses on three continents. Three Canadian teams were invited: Carleton University’s (ranked ninth), McGill University’s (ranked 10th) and the University of Ottawa’s (ranked 29th), according to the website.
5. The Winnipeg Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid is threatening to take legal action against the University of Manitoba Students’ Union after it booted the controversial group’s student branch from UMSU property and decided to no longer fund it with student money, reports the Winnipeg Free Press. Joshua Morry, a Jewish student, put forward the motion last Thursday night citing discrimination against Jewish students. The motion passed 19 to 16, despite legal advice that it would put the student union at risk. Liz Carlyle, a representative of the coalition, told the Free Press, “it’s clearly an attempt to silence criticism of the (Israeli) government.” Meanwhile, the University of Toronto Scarborough Campus Students’ Union has joined it peers at York Federation of Students in endorsing “boycott, divestment and sanctions” against Israel.