Briefs of the week

Nova Scotia makes birth certificate changes, Dalhousie searches for new president and Dal Arts Centre gets provincial dough

Week of Sept. 17, 2018

Nova Scotia birth certificates allow for third gender marker

Come January, Nova Scotian birth certificates will have a third option for gender markers. On Sept. 19, the province announced that an amendment to the Vital Statistics Act will “introduce X as an option for gender identity on the Nova Scotia birth certificate and make the display of the sex field optional.” The hope is that the change will allow people who are genderqueer, non-binary or gender fluid to better indicate their gender identity. As this amendment comes into effect, the fee to change the sex indicator on a birth certificate will be waived.


Dalhousie University’s presidential search

Upon Dalhousie University President Richard Florizone’s departure next year, Dal will welcome its 12th president and vice-chancellor. Before that happens, however, committee members are putting together a profile of the ideal candidate – and they’re asking for feedback to help them do so. You can participate in the Presidential Search survey until Oct. 5. 


Dalhousie Arts Centre receives money from provincial government

Premier Stephen McNeil rolled onto campus on Wednesday, Sept. 19. That morning, he announced the province would be pitching in $10 million towards Dalhousie’s $38.5 million Performing Arts Campaign to expand the Dal Arts Centre – home to the Fountain School of the Performing Arts. The expansion will include features such as new practice and rehearsal spaces for voice, music and theatre as well as modern costume studies studios.


HRM residents invited to participate in taxi industry survey

The Halifax Regional Municipality is asking residents to give their feedback about the city’s taxi service. The 2018 Taxi Survey touches on the topics of taxi usage, service, gender diversity and safety measures. “Results from this survey will provide valuable insight into what matters most to residents and will be included in a report to Regional Council in the coming months,” reads a press release. The deadline is Oct. 11.


Dalhousie joins the “F” list in 2018 Campus Freedom Index

As far as this year’s Campus Freedom Index is concerned, Dal has flunked. The Campus Freedom Index is put together by the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms to judge Canadian universities on the state of free speech. It measures policies and practices of the institutions themselves as well as the policies and practices of their student unions and gives them a grade from A-F. “Dalhousie University earns an ‘F’ for its decision to launch an investigation against undergraduate student Masuma Khan, over remarks she made on social media that offended some readers,” reads a press release. Meanwhile, “Acadia University earns an ‘F’ for its decision to investigate and then fire tenured professor Rick Mehta, for controversial remarks he had made in class and on social media.”


Student files Human Rights Complaint against Dal

A Dal engineering student has filed a complaint with the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission against the university. In a story by CBC’s Brett Ruskin, Amik Malik (and his lawyer Barry Mason) allege that Dalhousie did not provide accommodations for Malik’s vision problems. Malik has juvenile macular degeneration, so the Canadian National Institute For The Blind‎ recommended Dal provide lecture notes from professors before class, digital copies of textbooks (to increase the font size) and copies of class notes from a fellow student. Malik and Mason say the school failed to provide these things. As of Monday, Sept. 24, it is not yet known whether Malik’s complaint will be dismissed or sent to a board of inquiry.

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Rebecca Dingwell

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