StFX anthropology professor Dr. L. Jane McMillan has celebrated significant accomplishments over the past few weeks: she was an invited speaker at Harvard University, travelled to Toronto to accept an award, and her new book, Truth and Conviction: Donald Marshall Jr. and the Mi’kmaw Quest for Justice, has just been released—to much praise.
The book is an account of how one man’s fight against racism and injustice transformed the criminal justice system and galvanized the Mi’kmaw nation’s struggle for self-determination, changing the landscape of Indigenous rights in Canada and around the world.
“The name ‘Donald Marshall Jr.’ is synonymous with ‘wrongful conviction’ and the fight for Indigenous rights in Canada,” the book’s jacket reads. “In Truth and Conviction, Dr. McMillan—Marshall’s former partner, an acclaimed anthropologist, and an original defendant in the Supreme Court’s Marshall decision on Indigenous fishing rights—tells the story of how his fight against injustice permeated Canadian legal consciousness and revitalized Indigenous law.”
Reviews have been terrific.
“Jane McMillan has written an admirable, engaging, and formidable book about an Indigenous man’s quest for justice against the systemic injustices of Canada,” writes Sákéj Henderson, Research Fellow, Native Law Centre of Canada, at the University of Saskatchewan.
It’s praise echoed by John Borrows, Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Law, at the University of Victoria.
“This book offers powerful, insightful, and intimate insights into Mi’kmaw law and lifeways. It contains a perfect mix of stories, context, history, and analysis. It is just what I need to understand and be able to teach law in more nuanced ways,” he writes.
The book’s publisher, UBC Press, has selected Truth and Conviction as a lead title, an honour in that it means they believe the story will resonate beyond the academy.
“I’m excited. I hope it’s helpful. I hope there’s messages in the text that will be useful and will provide some guidance in how to engage in relationships that are reconciliatory and will help advance Indigenous rights,” says Dr. McMillan, the former Canada Research Chair for Indigenous People and Sustainable Communities (2006-16) at StFX and the current chair of the StFX Anthropology Department.
She is a cultural and legal anthropologist specializing in Indigenous justice and applied research methodologies. She has worked in collaboration with Mi’kmaw communities through Atlantic Canada for 20 years, advocating for what they would like to see for legal reforms.
“It’s surprisingly an emotional experience,” she says on receiving the book. “It had been a long and sometimes difficult journey.
“It chronicles the wrongful conviction of Donald Marshall Jr. and the Supreme Court of Canada fishing decision R. v. Marshall. It assesses the shifting legal landscape of the Mi’kmaw nation and investigates the state of justice for Indigenous peoples in Canada. It is in part a personal account. I was Donald’s partner for 13 years. It’s really about honouring the impacts of his life and legacy,” she says, noting how his life was a catalyst for legal reform in the Canadian justice system and for the reinvigoration of Mi’kmaw legal principles.
The book is also about treaty rights and treaty education.
She says it is important to document, teach and learn from Indigenous ways of knowing and being so that we can continually endeavor towards the goals of a more just society.
In reviewing the book, Prof. Ronald Niezen, the William Lyon MacKenzie King Visiting Chair at Harvard University, was so impressed by the work and felt like it would be a good fit for the Canada Seminar at Harvard, he invited Dr. McMillan to present a paper and speak. Previous speakers have included the Hon. Paul Okalik premier of Nunavut, Jeffrey Simpson, columnist and author, and Ken Dryden, author, MP, and former president of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Dr. McMillan prepared and presented a paper on Oct. 29 entitled, “Tropes, treaties and trials: Indigenous peoples and access to justice in Canada.”
“I was thrilled to receive the invitation,” she says. “It was a great seminar, well attended, and excellent questions. I really enjoyed the experience.”
Dr. McMillan was also recently in Toronto with Mr. Marshall’s family to accept the inaugural Donald Marshall Award from Innocence Canada, an organization which advocates on behalf of prisoners who have been wrongfully convicted. Donald Marshall Jr. was the first person in Canada to be exonerated, and to honour his fight, Innocence Canada created an award in his name for other wrongfully convicted people who never give up until they are vindicated. The organization presented the inaugural award to Mr. Marshall’s family and to Dr. McMillan.
An update to the campus community:
IT Services continues to reinstate servers within the StFX network. At this time, we are employing a staggered approach in bringing the systems back online to minimize potential risk. Some services have now been restored such as Wifi, Moodle, DCB and debit transactions, among others. ITS will continue to work on bringing all services back online as soon as possible. Of note, services such as MesAmis and Banner are not yet available. ITS will prepare a list and update the status of services on an ongoing basis as services become available. A link to the list will be shared when ready.
On Thursday, ITS, in consultation with security specialists, purposefully disabled all network systems in response to what we learned to be to be an automated attack on our systems known as ‘crytpocoin mining.’ The malicious software attempted to utilize StFX’s collective computing power in order to create or discover bitcoin for monetary gain. At this time, there is no evidence that any personal information within our network was breached, however, ITS will continue to analyze and monitor for suspicious activity in the days and weeks ahead. ITS has also implemented heightened security measures in response to this event.
In this scenario, it is standard practice to reset all network passwords. We recognize this may be an inconvenience, however, it is necessary to protect the integrity of our systems.
How to reset your password and recover your StFX account:
Option #1: (recommended)
- Access the internet via a non-StFX connection (i.e. using data plan on your mobile phone, home connection, etc.)
- Use the following link to reset your password and recover access to your StFX account. Please remember to put in your full email address. (e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org)
- If you are having difficulty resetting your password, please refer to the online guide found here:
- Visit the StFX Contact Centre located in the Angus L. MacDonald Library. Staff will be able to assist. Hours are
Sunday, November 4 12:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Monday – Thursday 8:00 AM – 10:00 PM
Friday 8:00 AM – 8:00 PM
Saturday 12:00 PM – 5:00 PM
If you continue to have difficulty connecting to the StFX Wifi after resetting your password, please refer to the online guide found here: https://stfx.teamdynamix.com/TDClient/KB/ArticleDet?ID=30051
IT Services continues to reinstate servers within the StFX network. At this time, we are employing a staggered approach in bringing the systems back online to minimize potential risk. We remain committed to sharing details as they become available. We appreciate your patience.
An update to the campus community:
The systems restart process continues and is proceeding well. Timing of having the systems completely operational is still being determined, however, we remain committed to keeping the campus community updated as we continue to work toward restoring all systems. We will be providing updates to the StFX Alerts Emergency System, stfx.ca and StFX social media (Facebook and Twitter) as relevant details become available.
To sign up for StFX Alerts, click here.
To the StFX community
Not long ago, the ITS team recognized odd activity occurring within the StFX networked environment. An investigation was launched immediately.
Cyber-security is a serious threat to any network. As a precaution, we are implementing an entire system shutdown to the campus systems as we investigate the issue. This includes disrupting access to all services that access the StFX environment, including
- Email (including via webmail)
- Shared storage space and drives on the StFX network
We do not know how long this interruption will be in effect. We will be providing updates to the StFX Alerts Emergency System, stfx.ca and StFX social media (Facebook and Twitter) as relevant details become available. To sign up for StFX Alerts, click here.
We recognize that this is an inconvenience to the campus and are committed to restoring services as soon as possible.
The life and legacy of the late John C. (Jack) O’Donnell, Professor Emeritus and former chair of the StFX Music Department, will live on at StFX, his alma mater, in a newly established scholarship.
The Professor Jack O'Donnell Scholarship has been established by an anonymous donor who has admired Professor O’Donnell’s extensive service to the StFX Music Department and to the university, as well as the contributions he made to music in Nova Scotia, in Canada, and worldwide.
Prof. O’Donnell, who passed away earlier this month, spent 40 years as a music professor at StFX. StFX awarded him an honorary degree in 2016. He also made an outstanding contribution to Canadian culture, serving for 50 years as conductor and musical director of The Men of the Deeps, North America’s only coal miner chorus, organized to preserve the rich folklore of Cape Breton’s coal mining communities. He received an Order of Canada for his work with the group.
Prof. O’Donnell also made important contributions as a humanitarian, working along with his wife Judy to build and support L’Arche Antigonish, a community of people with and without intellectual disabilities that’s part of the international L’Arche network.
The O’Donnell Scholarship awards $1,500 and will be presented annually to a fourth year music student each September who has the highest grade average in their third year. The first recipient is Robyn Gale, a fourth year honours music student from Canning, NS.
“I am honoured to receive the inaugural Jack O’Donnell Scholarship,” she says.
“Although I did not know Jack personally, I deeply appreciate the contributions he made to the StFX Music Department and the greater music community. It is incredibly humbling to receive this award. His contributions continue to make an impact on the students in this program. Thank you very much.”
Kevin Brunkhorst, the current chair of the StFX Music Department says Prof. O’Donnell was a committed researcher into vocal music traditions in Nova Scotia, and he served as chair of the department several times, for many years.
“His vision for the department was far ahead of its time, and he was a strong advocate for our discipline. It’s entirely fitting that a scholarship be established in his name,” says Prof. Brunkhorst.
From pivotal moments in global politics to his time as a StFX student, members of the StFX and Antigonish communities had a tremendous opportunity to glimpse into the life and legacy of the Rt. Hon. Brian Mulroney, Canada’s 18th prime minister, who was on campus Oct. 25 as a special guest at the launch of Dr. Fen Osler Hampson’s book, Master of Persuasion: Brian Mulroney’s Global Legacy.
The book by Dr. Hampson, Chancellor’s Professor at Carleton University and Distinguished Fellow and Director of the Global Security and Politics Program at the Centre for International Governance Innovation, is based on unprecedented access—interviews with key players, diaries, memos, etc.—and is the first book to document Mr. Mulroney's impressive foreign policy record, from NAFTA to the collapse of the Soviet Union, climate change to the release of Nelson Mandela.
International affairs historian Dr. Hampson is the author/co-author of 12 books on Canadian foreign policy and international affairs and co-editor of 28 volumes. He holds a PhD from Harvard University and is also a graduate of the London School of Economics and Political Science and the University of Toronto.
“It is a real honour and privilege to be with you at his wonderful, outstanding university to celebrate the global legacy of the Rt. Hon. Brian Mulroney,” Dr. Hampson said, opening his presentation at the book launch held before a large crowd of StFX students, faculty and staff, and community members in StFX’s Schwartz Auditorium.
“I wrote this book as I’ve been studying Canadian foreign policy for many years. It struck me as I looked at the record, and I began to put the pieces together, how much was achieved in his almost nine years as prime minister. It really is a remarkable legacy,” said Dr. Hampson, who during the evening’s event also participated in a question and answer session with Mr. Mulroney.
The book, Dr. Hampson said, is a story about a leader who brought a laser-like focus to his relations working with international leaders and who produced major, measurable, and transformative results during his time in office.
Prime Minister Mulroney, he said, had the talent for mobilizing the right people, a leadership style that reached across the political aisle, and he understood what national interest is all about. He was also a team builder, he said, something that requires real leadership.
During a fireside chat, which at times drew standing ovations, Mr. Mulroney answered questions, taking the audience back to key moments during his time as prime minister as well as into modern day issues. He gave intimate glimpses into a range of issues from his perspective on the recently signed free trade deal between Canada, the U.S. and Mexico to his take on iconic international leaders with whom he worked.
He also touched on how lessons he learned during his time as a StFX student influenced his global politics and foreign policy, including the fight for Nelson Mandela’s liberation.
Coady Chair in Social Justice, Sadi Mfalatsane of South Africa, who was in the audience, took the opportunity during the audience question period to sing a song for Mr. Mulroney and thank him “for what you’ve done for us.” She also asked and received his opinion regarding South Africa’s future.
StFX political science professor Dr. Lavinia Stan moderated the event, which was hosted by StFX President Dr. Kent MacDonald and Board of Governors Chair Mike Boyd on behalf of the StFX Board of Governors.
“We’re brought back in time in terms of the impact a young man had on this country since he left here (StFX) in 1959,” Dr. MacDonald noted.
Audience members were gifted with a signed copy of Master of Persuasion.
St. Francis Xavier University’s leadership came from away—all the way from Antigonish—to Toronto this week and joined many of the university’s loyal alumni to celebrate the philanthropy of Gerry Schwartz, and his $5.3 million donation to StFX’s Gerald Schwartz School of Business—a gift which includes $4 million to create 44 new entrance scholarships and 20 new bursaries at the business school.
The funding, to start in the 2019-20 academic year, will make an undergraduate business education at StFX even more accessible, and will help the Schwartz School—named in recognition of Mr. Schwartz’s already significant contributions to the university—attract the best and brightest young minds from across Canada and beyond.
The Royal Alexandra Theatre in downtown Toronto provided the backdrop for the event and the stage where the award-winning Canadian musical, Come From Away, is playing.
“First of all, I love StFX,” Mr. Schwartz, President and CEO or ONEX Corporation, told the crowd of about 100 StFX alumni, supporters and friends.
“I have never had a bad day there … and I’ve only had one rainy day,” he said. “I’m very pleased to be part of the school of business.”
L-r, StFX President Dr. Kent MacDonald, Heather Reisman and Gerry Schwartz
The $5.3 million gift, from the Gerald Schwartz and Heather Reisman Foundation, will allocate $4 million toward scholarships and bursaries for students enrolled in the business school, including the introduction of the Schwartz National Scholar award for four students, who will each receive $80,000 over four years to attend StFX.
The new funding will also provide many other benefits, including bursaries for students in financial need, those looking for an international exchange experience and support for summer research internships. Academic scholarships will also be designated specifically for women, international students, and students transferring from college diploma programs.
In addition, about $1 million of the gift is dedicated to supporting StFX’s marketing and recruitment work across Canada to encourage young people from all over the country to attend StFX. There are also opportunities for new scholarships in the business program that can be matched by some of the foundation’s gift.
“The great thing I like about StFX is when you make a contribution to the university it doesn’t disappear into some big fund … instead something happens,” said Mr. Schwartz. “People take action … and use the contribution and something moves forward, I love it.”
StFX President Dr. Kent MacDonald characterized the gift as a “game changer.”
“It’s going to transform the school,” he said. “Overall, over the period of four years, we will be able to touch hundreds upon hundreds of students who will be able to come to the school and study in the Schwartz School. So that really is a game changer.”
“This is tremendous news for StFX, and great news for StFX business students. These scholarships and bursaries will have an incredible impact on the lives of many young people,” says Schwartz School Dean of Business Dr. Tim Hynes. “A huge ‘thank you’ to Mr. Schwartz for the generosity and foresight to establish this wonderful legacy in support of talented young leaders.”
In addition to recognizing superior scholastic achievement, the new Schwartz School scholarships are intended to support well-rounded students who demonstrate StFX’s commitment to leadership and service to one’s community, Dr. Hynes says.
Known for its small class sizes, talented faculty, and an immersive, hands-on approach to learning, the Schwarz School of Business is recognized as one of the best undergraduate business schools in the country.
Erica Harper, who was at the event, and who graduated from the Schwartz School of Business with a marketing degree in 2018, said StFX changed her life. It gave her confidence and she was able to find a job almost immediately upon graduating.
“It’s such a special place,” she said.
Lisa Downey agrees with that sentiment. She graduated with a business degree from the Schwartz School in 2017.
“I am so excited about it,” she said referring to the donation. “It’s such a great opportunity. The Schwartz School of Business was such a great four years of my life and the best time I have had. This donation is going to let other students have the opportunity to go the school as well.”
Ms. Downey was able to get a job in her field after graduating – and in a matter of hours discovered her boss’ daughter attends StFX.
“I made that connection on my first day,” she said. “So it was great.”
For Trish Murphy, a StFX graduate who brought her Toronto family to the event, Nova Scotia is in her heart and StFX is part of her extended family. Her father, stepmother and brother attended the university. Ms. Murphy graduated with an education degree from StFX in 1989 and has been teaching in Toronto ever since. “What I see Mr. Schwartz doing is celebrating community,” she said. “I am so impressed by people who celebrate ties to communities, like StFX.”
Among the new awards offered are:
• Schwartz National Scholars. StFX will offer annually four Schwartz National Scholars awards of $20,000 per year, renewable, for a total of $80,000 over four years. These awards are open to all first-year full-time BBA students who have a minimum 90 per cent average and demonstrated StFX qualities of leadership and service to community. The awards are open to all nationalities.
• Order of Merit Entrance Awards. StFX will offer six Order of Merit Entrance Awards, of $7,500 per year, renewable for a total of $30,000 over four years. These awards will be open to first-year full-time BBA students enrolling from high school who are Canadian residents and have a minimum 90 per cent average and demonstrated StFX qualities of leadership and service to society.
• Heather Reisman Women in Business Scholars. StFX will offer two Heather Reisman Women in Business Scholars awards, each renewal at $7,500 per year for a total of $30,000 over four years. These awards are open to first-year full-time female BBA students enrolling from high school. The awards are open to Canadian residents, with a minimum 90 per cent average and demonstrated StFX qualities of leadership and service to community.
• Scholars of Distinction. StFX will offer 14 Schwartz Business Scholars of Distinction awards of $4,000 per year, renewable for a total of $16,000 over four years. The awards are open to first-year, full-time BBA students enrolling from high school with a minimum average of 85 per cent and demonstrated StFX qualities of leadership and service to community. The awards are open to Canadian residents.
• International Scholars. StFX will offer 14 Schwartz School of Business International Scholars awards, each valued at $8,000 annually and renewable for a total of $32,000 over four years. These awards are open to all first-year, full-time BBA students enrolling from high school with a minimum average of 85 per cent and demonstrated StFX qualities of leadership and service to community. The awards are open to all non-Canadian residents.
• Transfer Entrance Scholarships. StFX will offer four Transfer Entrance Scholarships of $3,000, each renewable for a total of $9,000 over three years. These awards will be open to students transferring full-time into the BBA program from the Nova Scotia Community College system or equivalent college in Canada with a minimum of 80 per cent average and no fewer than 24 credits in the past year of study. The scholarship is open to all Canadian residents.
• The scholarship and bursary program will also offer annually eight International Exchange Travel Bursaries of $2,000 each; three Summer Research Internships of $7,000 each; one McKenna Fellowship valued at $33,000; and 10 Financial Need Bursaries of $2,000 each.
For more information or to apply for a scholarship, please see https://www.stfx.ca/admissions/financing-your-education/scholarships/bba-scholarships
Liam Elbourne, a StFX Schwartz School of Business student from Halifax, NS, taking joint honours in business and economics, has had a busy and successful summer, gaining international attention for his research.
In June, he presented his paper “Shocks to Military Support and Subsequent Assassinations in Ancient Rome,” co-authored with former StFX economics professor Cornelius Christian, at the 52nd annual conference of the Canadian Economics Association at McGill University in Montreal. He was the only active undergraduate student to present in a regular session at this conference, which featured almost 1,000 presenters.
The paper, which showed that ancient Roman troops who relied heavily on local food sources were more likely to mutiny during drought years, thus reducing the emporer’s support and increasing the probability of their assassination, was subsequently published in the international peer-reviewed journal Economics Letters, a highly-respected outlet that has published the work of many past Nobel Prize recipients.
Although historical in nature, the findings of this paper received extensive media exposure due to the current prevalence of droughts and global warming. Full-length stories about this research appeared in some of the world’s leading outlets, including The Smithsonian magazine (which has a print circulation of 1.8 million), The Economist (1.1 million) and The Telegraph (400,000).
Mr. Elbourne attributes much of his success to the guidance he has received from Dr. Christian and the StFX Economics Department.
“Coming to university without a clear idea of what field of study I might like to pursue, I feel quite lucky to have landed in one of the top undergraduate economics programs in the country,” he says. “Not only is the teaching exceptional, but the StFX Economics Department provides students the opportunity to pursue research with their professors. Without the guidance and support of Dr. Christian and the department, the incredible summer that I just had wouldn’t have been possible.”
Mr. Elbourne, who is also captain of the X-Men soccer team, will graduate in May. He plans to pursue a master’s degree in economics.
StFX math, stats and computer science students had a very impressive showing at the recent Science Atlantic Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science conference held Oct. 12-14, 2018 at the Université de Moncton.
Three StFX students won research oral presentation awards—including a first place finish for Grace Tompkins in the Statistics Research Oral Presentation category—and the computer science team of Darwin Groskleg, Brandon Anthony and Thomas Ciha placed so well in the competition, they earned the right to advance to the North American North East regional competition.
Also, in the oral presentations, StFX student Katie MacEachern received second prize in the Computer Science Research Oral category, while Cynthia Forgeron received third prize in that same category.
"Congratulations to StFX's computer science team, Darwin Groskleg, Brandon Anthony, and Thomas Ciha, whose excellent performance in the computer science competition placed StFX as the third ranked school in Atlantic Canada. They are proceeding to compete at the North Eastern North America regional competition next month," says StFX computer science professor Dr. Jacob Levman.
This is the first time that StFX has a computer science team heading to the North American North East regionals, which take place on November 10th in Rochester, NY, he says. StFX will host a satellite event on campus where the team will compete alongside the leading team from Mount Allison University and UNB Fredericton.
StFX psychology professor Dr. Karen Blair and several students recently attended and gave presentations at the Canadian Sex Research Forum held in Toronto, ON—a terrific opportunity to broaden their academic learning.
“This is the second year in a row that we have been able to take students to this conference and have them present their thesis research,” Dr. Blair says.
“The students (Odessa McKenna, Amira Hmidan and Emilia Lorenz) were supported by funds from the Jules Leger Fund. We absolutely would not be able to take this many students to conferences without this source of funding. This level of support for undergraduate students to attend conferences where they get to present their research is simply unparalleled by other universities,” she says.
Dr. Blair said the students had the opportunity to meet and interact with some of the leading researchers in the field from across Canada, including a number of Canada Research Chairs. She says she also received a number of positive comments about their presentations, and that they were some of the only undergraduate students giving oral presentations at the conference.
The conference was a fantastic learning experience and very student-friendly, says StFX student Odessa McKenna.
“It was enlightening, entertaining, informative and inspiring, exposing me to a variety of new and unique research relevant to the pertinent issues of sexual assault, public sexual health, sexual discrimination and much more,” she says. “It also gave me the opportunity to interact with and learn from a number of successful and experienced researchers and professionals. CSRF is a remarkable organization and I always felt extremely welcomed and appreciated. I hope to have the chance to attend in the future.”
The student presentations included:
Emilia Lorenz, who graduated from StFX in May 2018 with a degree in psychology, gave an oral presentation on her thesis research examining the psychophysiology of sexual prejudice. She is an international student from Germany and flew back to attend the conference and to visit StFX. Her presentation was titled, “Turning the Other Cheek: Evidence of Cognitive and Physiological Self-Regulation Among Heterosexual Men with a History of Anti-Gay Aggression.”
Amira Hmidan, who also graduated in May 2018 in psychology, gave a poster presentation on her research examining sex dreams, “Gender, Erotophilia and Sociosexuality as Predictors of Sexual Dream Content, Valence and Frequency.”
Odessa McKenna, a current StFX human kinetics student, gave a poster presentation on her proposed thesis research exploring public vs. private affection in same-sex vs. mixed-sex relationships, titled “It’s a Comfort to Hold Hands,” Or Is It? A Survey and Experience Sampling Study of Private v. Public Affection Sharing Patterns in Same-Sex and Mixed-Sex Relationships.”
Bre O’Handley, a StFX psychology graduate who is currently working as StFX’s Gender and Sexual Diversity Student Advisor, gave an oral presentation on the research that she has continued to work on since graduation exploring LGBTQ individuals and their parents’ memories of coming out. Her presentation was titled, “Memories of Coming Out: Recall Concordance Between LGBTQ+ Adults and their Parents.”
Steve Wilton, a former StFX music student who is now studying psychology at Acadia University, gave a poster presentation on a StFX Funded Observation Study conducted over the summer with Ms. McKenna, Dr. Blair, Ms. O’Handley, and Rhea Hoskin where they observed public displays of affection in 10 different cities.
Rhea Hoskin, a Student Success Centre instructor at StFX, also gave a poster presentation on research from her recently defended dissertation, titled, “Femininity? It’s the Aesthetic of Subordination”: Examining the Intersecting Role of Femmephobia in Experiences of Discrimination and Oppression Among Sexual and Gender Minorities.”
Dr. Blair says the delegation also listened to a number of relevant and current presentations, such as a presentation on experiences of sexual violence on Canadian campuses showing that nearly half of all sexual assaults that take place on Canadian university campuses take place during a student’s first year on campus. Dr. Blair and Ms. O’Handley look forward to sharing the knowledge they learned on this topic with the StFX community as it moves forward in implementing evidence-based practices to reduce campus-based sexual violence.
StFX and the Antigonish community will have a rare opportunity, on October 19 and 20, to meet faculty, independent scholars, and graduate and undergraduate students, from central and eastern Canada and the northeast United States coming to participate in this year’s meeting of the Atlantic Region Philosophers Association.
Established in 1970, the association’s aim is to foster research and scholarship within the philosophical community in Atlantic Canada. StFX has hosted the conference in 1998 and 2008, but this year’s conference has attracted more participants than ever before. Among the topics that will be discussed at this year’s meeting are respect for rights and the ethics of organ donation, indigenization and the curriculum, and questions in the history of philosophy and Canadian philosophy.
In addition to specialist lectures and presentations, there will be a public lecture at StFX on Friday, October 19, at 7.30 p.m., in 205 Schwartz. Dr. Eleonore Stump, the Robert J. Henle, S.J., Professor of Philosophy at Saint Louis University will speak on “Guilt and Forgiveness,” addressing the question of whether there are some things for which a person can never, and should never, be forgiven. The lecture is open to all.
Dr. Stump is the author or editor of some 20 books and over 100 articles. She is a former Gifford Lecturer at Glasgow, a former Wilde lecturer at Oxford, and a former president of both the American Catholic Philosophical Association and the Society of Christian Philosophers. In addition to her teaching and research at Saint Louis, she is an Honorary Professor at Wuhan University (China), the Logos Institute (St. Andrews, Scotland), and the Australian Catholic University.
While Dr. Stump is in Antigonish, she will meet with StFX students from the Humanities Colloquium and senior students in the Faculty of Arts, as well as with interested members of the Antigonish community.
StFX will also be well represented at the conference. Among the presenters will be Jamie Samson, a fourth year philosophy student and a recipient of a StFX Irving Internship this past summer, and six StFX philosophy alumni: Mary-Jo Curry (BA 2008), Paul Curry (BA 2005), Dylan Mackenzie (BA 2008) from Saint Mary's, Robbie Moser (BA 2001) from Mount Alison, Edward Taylor (BA 2012) from Concordia and Peter Haskett (BA 2014) from Carleton University.
For more information on the conference and on Dr. Stump’s visit, contact StFX philosophy professor Dr. William Sweet. Information on the conference, along with details for registration, can be found at https://www2.mystfx.ca/philosophy/atlantic-region-philosophers-association
What started as a class research paper for Schwartz School of Business marketing student Alexandra (Ali) Barnes has taken on a life of its own, evolving and growing so much that the
fourth year student from Toronto, ON, had her paper accepted for presentation at an academic conference attended mainly by faculty and graduate students.
Ms. Barnes presented her paper, “Restorying activism and precarious work through Denise Cole’s dedication to protecting Labrador lands and waters,” during the Atlantic Schools of Business annual academic conference held Sept. 28-30 in Moncton, NB—an achievement even more significant as it’s rare for undergraduate students to present at the conference.
The paper is co-authored with Ms. Barnes’ Gender and Management class professor, Schwartz School faculty Shelley Price and their colleague Denise Cole.
“In this paper, we restory “activism” and “precarious work” through Denise Cole’s dedication to protecting Labrador lands and waters at the Muskrat Falls Hydroelectric Development site,” the authors write in the paper’s abstract. “We were curious about activism as “community work” and how it challenges the boundary conditions of precarious work.”
Ms. Barnes says the paper all started as an assignment in her Gender and Management class, in which she wanted to look at activism as a form of precarious work, particularly Indigenous women’s role in protection work
Since then, the paper has shifted and evolved, and changed to better understanding Indigenous storytelling methodology, which Ms. Barnes has learned is very central in many Indigenous cultures.
After the completion of the course, the study expanded as a collaborative effort between the three authors.
Ms. Barnes credits Prof. Price as an instrumental mentor.
After reading the essay, she says Prof. Price approached her to let her know the work had much potential and provided a list of conferences to which she could apply to present the work if interested. She says she also supported her in the decision to take on the extra work of the paper, in which she worked hard to understand story as Indigenous methodology and Indigenous axiology in her decolonizing efforts.
“It was a really cool experience,” Ms. Barnes says. “She really pushed me in ways to learn and grow and to explore new ways of writing and conducting collaborative research.”
Conducting research using a circular approach toward the co-creation of story is very different and challenging, she says, but a very good learning experience.
The work, Ms. Barnes says, continues to evolve even now. It’s going into a book chapter. The book is titled, Connecting Values to Action: Non-Corporeal Actants and Choice in Actor Network Theory (ANT), with editor, Dr, Chris Hartt. The title of the chapter is, A mighty river and its story-acts: An approach to capture a more holistic network of agencies, by authors, Shelley Price, Chris Hartt, Denise Cole and Alexandra Barnes.
Ms. Barnes says her interest in Indigenous cultures and colonization—something she wasn’t exposed to her during her high school career—started at StFX when she took first year women’s and gender studies and sociology classes.
“I was floored by what I learned. I was shocked. And also fascinated,” she says. “Every opportunity I got to write papers or do projects, I took it as my responsibility to learn.”
Ms. Barnes says the opportunity to participate in the academic conference was a terrific learning experience. She particularly enjoyed meeting many like-minded people who are interested in research and learning about other research project ideas.
Of the four months of extra research work she did on the paper after the course’s conclusion, she says: “I did it because I think it’s important for people to learn, and to be a part of the reconciliatory process.”
StFX welcomed over 600 prospective new students and their families to campus, a total of nearly 1,500 people, on Saturday, Oct. 13 during its second annual Open House, a day designed to let high school students see firsthand what life is like as a StFX student and to discover all that the university offers.
For high school students, the full day of activities was a great chance to attend academic information sessions, to talk with faculty and staff, visit a student services showcase, tour campus, and enjoy lunch.
“I immediately fell in love with the place,” says high school student Olivia Brownell of Sackville, NB who wants to go into nursing and is interested in health studies.
“I’m very excited. I’ve never been so excited to see a school before. I first heard about StFX and its nursing program in Grade 9,” says Ms. Brownell who has already been accepted into StFX’s Bachelor of Arts and Science in Health and has applied to StFX’s Rankin School of Nursing.
Ms. Brownell says she got up at 6 a.m. to make the trip to Antigonish and is glad to have the opportunity to visit campus.
“I like seeing things before I make a decision…I feel I have a connection,” she says.
“I love it here. It’s welcoming, kind of like a family,” echoed Jacob MacDonald of Sydney, NS, who also got up before 6 a.m. without complaint to travel to StFX, where he learned he was accepted in the business program.
He was visiting with parents Melissa and Gerald, a StFX graduate of 1983.
Anna McCormick of Bedford, NS, and Maddy MacDonald of Hammonds Plains, NS, visiting with their mothers Sarah McCormick and Pam MacDonald, said the open house was a great opportunity to see what options exist and to learn more about the academic programs offered at StFX.
It was a theme echoed by StFX Academic Vice-President & Provost Dr. Kevin Wamsley in opening remarks.
“This is your day to explore StFX and see if StFX is right for you. This is your day to ask a lot of questions,” Dr. Wamsley said.
StFX President Dr. Kent MacDonald welcomed all to campus and spoke about what he thinks makes StFX special.
“The reason StFX is different is we are a national university looking to engage students in a small, residential setting,” Dr. MacDonald said.
He said StFX is looking for academically focused, socially engaged students.
He encouraged prospective students when they come to university not to simply think of themselves as high school graduates, but as university students “where it is cool to be intellectually curious.”
Along with this academic focus, he says StFX wants students who are socially engaged, who have the ability to see beyond themselves and care about what’s going on in the world around them.
“This is a university for 166 years has produced social activists.”
He invited everyone to explore the campus – visiting classrooms and labs, attending student sessions and learning more about StFX.
The day started off with early-bird campus tours and included a Student Services Showcase so visiting students and their families could learn about the many services to support students in their personal and academic goals.
After a BBQ lunch, the afternoon included a chance for attendees to meet with faculty and program chairs to ask questions and explore the academic programs offered at StFX.
Student guides again helped visitors explore campus during the afternoon via guided tours including visits to the residences, academic spaces and student life buildings.
Students who applied online before Oct. 5 also had the chance to receive a decision on their application at the open house.
Anyone who missed the open house but would like to arrange a personalized campus tour are invited to do so any time by contacting the Visitor Centre by email at email@example.com or by phone 902-867-4964.
StFX celebrated an announcement of over $425,000 in new research funds from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Discovery Grants on Oct. 11 when Central Nova MP Sean Fraser visited campus to make the announcement and deliver remarks.
StFX faculty receiving awards in the 2018 NSERC Discovery Grant competition include:
• Dr. Mike Melchin, Earth Sciences, who received $29,000/year for five years, totaling $145,000, plus an additional $45,000 Northern Research Supplement ($9,000/year for five years).
• Dr. Jamie Braid, Earth Sciences, received $21,000/year for five years, totaling $105,000.
• Dr. Gerry Marangoni, Chemistry, received $22,000/year for five years, totaling $110,000.
• Dr. Karine LeBris, Physics, received a Discovery Development Grant of $10,000/year for 2 years, totaling $20,000 that will be supplemented by $5,000/year from StFX.
StFX Vice President of Research and Graduate Studies, Dr. Richard Isnor, thanked Mr. Fraser and the Government of Canada for the investment in scholarship.
“The NSERC Discovery Grants are critical for providing a diverse base of scientific research and training students of all types, in universities and communities across Canada,” he says.
“These grant applications receive rigorous peer review and successful applicants truly represent research excellence in their respective fields. I would like to congratulate our 2018 Discovery Grant recipients and recognize the research efforts of all StFX NSERC Discovery Grant holders.”
St. Francis Xavier University and Holland College have renewed two articulation agreements this week that open up opportunity and collaboration for music students.
The agreements provide the opportunity for graduates of Holland College’s Music Performance program, one of the offerings in the PEI college’s School of Performing Arts to enter into the third year of the StFX Bachelor of Music with Honours degree program in the Faculty of Arts or into the third year of the Bachelor of Music degree at StFX.
Admission to the StFX Bachelor of Music Honours degree is conditional on the successful completion of a performance audition. In addition, students are required to have achieved a minimum 75 per cent average and successfully completed all courses in the music performance diploma program with no music course mark below 70 per cent.
From StFX President Dr. Kent MacDonald related to an incident of sexual assault that occurred last year:
To the Campus Community,
I wish to provide you with an update on the steps we are taking to address recent concerns related to an incident of sexual violence that occurred last year on our campus. Let me begin by affirming that the safety of every member of the StFX community is an expectation and a priority of mine.
I have spent considerable time having conversations with a variety of individuals and listening to concerns raised about this case. I have engaged with colleagues and members of the StFX community, both on the campus and off. I have heard many perspectives and what is clear to me is that there is a shared belief that we must provide a learning environment that is safe and free of sexual violence.
After much reflection and advice from my senior administration colleagues, I concluded that the student in question should withdraw from the university. I announce this morning that the student has withdrawn, effective immediately.
In addition to the decision that led to the student withdrawing from StFX, I have also asked that the existing wording within our disciplinary code as it relates to appeals be reviewed. Further, I have asked for an update regarding the connection between our relatively new Sexual Violence Policy and the university’s Code of Conduct. The purpose of this update is to ensure continuity between the good work produced by our Sexualized Violence Prevention Committee and the university’s judicial process.
I know many members of our community have worked very hard to ensure an open, fair and transparent process with respect to how we address the challenges associated with sexual violence. We remain committed to believing and supporting people who disclose that they have experienced sexual violence. We recognize and honour their courage and resilience, and respect their rights to make decisions that are in their own best interest. However, we must continue to develop and improve our policies and interventions, in order to truly succeed in achieving the goal of a victim/survivor-focused approach.
I acknowledge and accept the fact that we can do better. In this particular case, there were clear gaps in communication and apparent issues relating to our appeal processes that negatively affected our university community and, in some cases, retraumatized victim/survivors. For this, I am sorry.
I was inspired by several of the recent recommendations made by our student union leaders.
To that end, I can confirm that in the coming days and weeks we will engage with our broader community to provide opportunities to inform our review process. All comments and perspectives will be welcome as they help make our processes stronger and our university safer. Please note that more details related to this consultation work will be forthcoming.
We appreciate the continued support and engagement of our community as we navigate this very complex, and long-standing societal issue. I would like to recognize the commitment and efforts of those involved in developing and implementing the current policies that govern our campus life. This is important work, and we are committed to continuing to strengthen our policies and practices as we go forward.
In conclusion, we can, and will, do better to support victim/survivors of sexual violence.
Kent D. MacDonald
President and Vice Chancellor
St. Francis Xavier University
St. Francis Xavier University has named Kerry Prosper, a respected Mi’kmaw elder, published author and Band Council member from Paqtnkek First Nation as its inaugural Knowledge Keeper In-Residence. The announcement was made Monday, October 1, at an event on the StFX campus to commemorate Treaty Day in Nova Scotia.
Terena Francis, Co-ordinator for Aboriginal Student Affairs at StFX’s Diversity Engagement Centre made the announcement on behalf of the university, noting Mr. Prosper’s long-standing work as a community leader.
She also presented him with an eagle feather, a tremendous sign of respect and appreciation.
“Eagle feathers represent honour in Mi’kmaq culture,” explained Terena. “They symbolize wisdom, honour, strength and trust, and to me, that’s Kerry. He has lived his life by the ways of Mi’kmaq natural law.
“We are grateful to have him at StFX!”
In his role as Knowledge Keeper, Mr. Prosper will work with interested students, staff and faculty, offering wisdom and teaching about traditional Indigenous ways of being and knowing. He will maintain office hours on campus throughout the year and lead program opportunities like Learning Lodges, which will be offered on campus once a month, featuring Indigenous-centric content that’s driven by students themselves.
Members of StFX’s Joint Advisory Council consulted with groups like the Confederacy of Mainland Mi’kmaq, Mi’kmaw Kinamatnewey, Paqtnkek Mi’kmaw Nation, and Pictou Landing Mi’kmaw Nation on the creation of the Knowledge Keeper position.
“WHAT DOES TREATY MEAN TO ME?”
Mr. Propser was one of three featured speakers at the Treaty Day event, which saw a standing-room only crowd fill StFX’s Immaculata Auditorium. Proclaimed in 1993 by then Premier of Nova Scotia John Savage and Mi’kmaq Grand Chief Ben Sylliboy, Treaty Day promotes public awareness and education of treaty rights and obligations between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples.
StFX students Cheyla Rogers and Justice Gruben began the evening with an acknowledgement that the event – and StFX itself – is housed on the traditional ancestral territory of Mi’kma’ki. The territory is unceded by the Mi’kmaq and Wolastoqiyik (Maliseet) peoples, and is covered by the Peace and Friendship Treaties of 1725.
Cheyla noted that, despite strides made towards Indigenous/settler reconciliation, First Nations’ youth still face serious systemic disadvantages. For instance, they are 7 times more likely to die by suicide and 6 times more likely to be a victim of homicide than their non-Indigenous peers.
Justice - who also offered Mi'kmaw and Wolastoqiyik honour songs - spoke about the importance of ongoing reconciliation work.
“Reconciliation is about taking responsibility and moving forward,” he said. “It needs to be about more than just flags and territorial acknowledgements. To truly honour the treaties that were signed, it takes a whole other set of steps.”
Lindsay Marshall, poet and former chief of Potlotek Mi’kmaw Nation, was another of the evening’s featured presenters. He spoke about the need to understand treaties not just as documents signed by our ancestors, but as living, breathing agreements that guide our lives and actions today.
“A treaty is alive,” said Mr. Marshall. “Treaty education is so important to everyone, because we all need to understand there isn’t just one treaty beneficiary. Both sides benefit. All of us.”
He also noted his optimism that the youth and young adults of today will enact the changes required to move closer to full reconciliation.
“Young people will be the engine for this change. And I think we have the means and the desire to create the change right here in this room.”
Cheryl Maloney, a prominent voice for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and long-time advocate for Mi’kmaq rights to natural resource protection, also spoke. She shared stories from her life of activism, including how she used her legal background and knowledge of Canadian constitutional law to delay the controversial Alton Gas project near Stewiacke, Nova Scotia.
She also challenged attendees to do their part to uphold treaty rights.
“These are my stories, but they talk about your responsibilities,” she said. “Honour and protect the treaty. They are your survival.”
The event also included presentations and remarks from StFX students William McReady, Keeley MacCuish, Mariette Pique, Chelsey MacPherson, Monica Ragan, April Prosper, Ellen Byrne, Broderick Jackisch, and Katelynn MacPhee. All students are enrolled in Anthropology 332 Mi’kmaw Studies: Advanced Critical Issues in Indigenous Anthropology, taught by Dr. L. Jane McMillan, Associate Professor and Chair of StFX’s Anthropology Department.
John Peacock, a distinguished Canadian corporate and philanthropic leader and a StFX alumnus from the Class of 1963, has officially become the university’s 10th Chancellor.
Mr. Peacock was installed as Chancellor during a ceremony held in the StFX Chapel on Sept. 30, 2018, the final day of Homecoming Weekend 2018.
“I am delighted to have this opportunity to serve as StFX’s 10th Chancellor. It is both an honour and a privilege and I would like to thank the Board of Governors for giving me this opportunity,” said Mr. Peacock, who noted his affiliation with StFX started 58 years ago this month when he arrived on campus after graduating from St. Patrick’s High School in Quebec City. He has since gone on to an inspired career, with over 40 years accounting and senior business leadership experience. He is the retired executive vice-president of Fednav Limited, a Canadian ocean-going, dry-bulk ship-owning and chartering group.
“The role of Chancellor is an ambassadorial and ceremonial one, advancing StFX’s interests provincially, nationally and internationally, serving as an advocate for the university’s history, mission and vision. The Chancellor is a distinguished person with a record of demonstrated excellence in his/her chosen field and in community service; an individual whose reputation and experience exemplifies StFX values. It is a role made for Mr. Peacock. He is a StFX champion through and through,” said Board of Governors Chair Mike Boyd, who introduced Mr. Peacock and delivered the Oath of Office.
StFX President Dr. Kent MacDonald officiated over the investiture, investing Mr. Peacock with the robes of office.
A well-respected leader, Mr. Peacock continues to serve on Fednav’s board of directors. He also serves on the board of Teekay Offshore Partners, and although retired from numerous community boards, he remains active in pursuing the philanthropic interests of The Peacock Family Foundation.
He and his wife Adrienne, also a 1963 StFX graduate, have long supported their alma mater. Mr. Peacock served on the Coady International Institute Advisory Board and Mrs. Peacock on the StFX Board of Governors. They are Coady International Institute Honorary Patrons, and together, they established the Dr. John T. Sears Chair in Corporate Responsibility at StFX to recognize Mr. Peacock’s former professor who greatly impacted his academic experience while a student.
SET FINE EXAMPLE
In his installation address, Mr. Peacock thanked and acknowledged his predecessor, Dr. Susan Crocker, StFX’s ninth Chancellor, and the first woman and the first lay person to fulfill this role. “Susan, you have set a fine example of excellence. I will do my best to do the same.”
Mr. Peacock says he very much enjoyed his years at StFX. “I believe I matured in many ways, received a good education, met a lovely girl from the Mount who is with me here today, graduated in 1963, and headed for the big city of Montreal to pursue my studies to become a chartered accountant.
“Over the intervening 55 years, I have watched StFX grow and prosper.”
StFX, he says, has changed in many ways in that time—more students, expanded curriculum, improved physical facilities and enhanced reputation—but the essence of the university has not changed.
“I think this point is well made by Dr. MacDonald when he recently stated: ‘StFX is a small university by design. While our students’ minds are broadened by informative learning, they are also shaped by the strong sense of community that’s only possible at a small, primarily residential university.’”
Mr. Peacock noted the primary responsibility of the Chancellor is to serve as Chair of Convocation and confer all degrees of the university. In addition, the Chancellor is expected to represent the university to the external community and, in this role, is an advocate for the vision of the university as endorsed by the Board of Governors.
Mr. Peacock said that while reflecting on the state of the world today can be daunting with concerning issues such as climate change, the rise of authoritarian rulers and the consequent threats to democratic institutions, and the enormous disparities in living conditions and concentration of wealth in the hands of a few, there is also hope.
AGENT FOR CHANGE
“Our hope for change is right here in Antigonish. Our university is an agent for change. Our students are this engaged and aware generation. And it is their courage to confront the injustices and challenges of the world today which should give us confidence that optimism is justified, and they can, and will, make the world a better place.
“I very much look forward to the opportunity of being a witness to the efforts of our students, to hopefully interact with them from time to time, and to shake their hands and greet them as they receive their degrees from this wonderful institution, which I had the honour of graduating from 55 years ago.”
Mr. Peacock says he very much looks forward to working with all to achieve StFX’s motto, “Whatsoever things are true.”
Congratulations and greetings during the ceremony came from across the country, including from Central Nova MP Sean Fraser on behalf of the Government of Canada, and the Hon. Randy Delorey, Nova Scotia Minister of Health and Wellness, Minister of Gaelic Affairs and MLA for Antigonish, on behalf of the province.
Also bringing greetings were Chief Paul Propser, Mi’kmaw First Nation, Paq’tnkek; Rev. Dr. John Barry, Chair, Council of Priests, Diocese of Antigonish; Antigonish Mayor Laurie Boucher; Antigonish County Warden Owen McCarron; Dr. Adela Sandness, Chair of the StFX University Senate on behalf of faculty; Barry Purcell of Facilities Management on behalf of StFX staff; StFX Alumni Association President Glenn Horne; and StFX Students’ Union President Rebecca Mesay.
Vicar of the Founder and Bishop of Antigonish, the Most. Rev. Brian Dunn, delivered the benediction, and University Chaplain Gary MacPherson delivered the invocation.
StFX anthropology professor Dr. L. Jane McMillan served as Master of Ceremonies.
Board of Governors student representative Emma Crilly read a passage from the university’s motto from the Philippians 4:4-9, Whatsoever things are true.
A reception followed the ceremony in Dennis Hall.
Dr. Mathias Nilges, a StFX English professor, has been named the Director of StFX’s Frank McKenna Centre for Leadership, a centre devoted to developing student, faculty and community leadership.
As director, Dr. Nilges, a seasoned member of StFX faculty with a strong record of accomplishment, is responsible for the academic programs and the management and operations of the McKenna Centre, which provides students with opportunities to link theory with practice, and to focus on local, national, and international leadership applications.
He will work with groups across campus including the Coady International Institute and the Mulroney Institute of Government to maximize resources and develop events and programs that distinguishes StFX. He will also provide leadership to develop academic programming, and actively engage and energize students and members of the campus community.
Dr. Nilges says he is looking forward to the role.
“One of the most exciting aspects of the McKenna Centre to me is that it makes it possible to foster and to produce courageous, innovative projects by students and faculty at StFX, projects that make important contributions to contemporary academic, sociocultural, and political debates,” he says.
“The McKenna Centre is a very special resource for us at StFX insofar as it is able to support and amplify big, new ideas on our campus. I hope that we can make it our ‘blue sky thinking division’ that serves all students and faculty on our campus, and I look forward to developing a rigorous academic focus at the centre.
“We will work to bring together students and faculty across fields and disciplines through new initiatives and new opportunities for collaboration in an attempt to foster the creation of courageous new thought and ideas and to creatively address some of the most pressing problems of our time.”
Dr. Nilges has been an English professor at StFX since 2008. He holds a PhD in English from the University of Illinois at Chicago, where he was the winner of the 2009 University of Illinois at Chicago Outstanding Dissertation Award.
He has been appointed an Obama Fellow, Obama Institute for Transnational American Studies, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Germany, May/June, 2019, and is currently a Jules Léger Scholar in the Humanities and Social Sciences at StFX.
Dr. Nilges is a frequently invited keynote speaker, including recently delivering a prestigious series of lectures and workshops at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee as the university’s Rheney Lecturer. He was also the driving force behind the recently launched The Examined Life Lab, a student-led online lab at StFX that offers research opportunities to students in the humanities and that fosters the development of important current skills through analyses and critiques of daily life designed to better understand the pressing problems of our time.
He is the author of three monographs, including one in preparation, as well as numerous edited collections, edited journal volumes, articles, book chapters, reviews, and translations.
For the past decade, he has been actively involved in the StFX community in a variety of roles from serving as the Chair, Faculty of Arts to an Immersion Serving Learning faculty leader.