RPIRG News & Events


RPIRG Decries Attempt to Deny Freedom of Speech and Academic Inquiry on U of R Campus

The Regina Public Interest Research Group was disappointed to learn on Monday that posters advertising Israeli Apartheid Week on the public bulletin boards on the U of R campus had been removed by an unauthorized person or persons.

Items posted on the URSU boards are under the supervision of the University of Regina Students’ Union and formal complaints about posters can be made to the appropriate representatives. Circumventing this process and removing posters to stifle debate is not only a strike against free speech. It also degrades the university’s stated values of a “commitment to academic freedom in our work and interaction” and its role to “illuminate socially relevant problems.”

There is much debate over the opinions expressed through Israeli Apartheid Week. RPIRG believes that this debate is vital to a functioning democracy, and decries the silencing of voices on the issue. IAW activities this week are open to all, and include a teach-in, films, and panel discussions, all of which are receptive of diverse opinions. In a university setting, where critical analysis is considered paramount, inquiring minds should be able to engage with divergent ideas and be allowed to form their own opinions. When posters are taken down, this robs students, staff and faculty of the ability to work with these perspectives; this ultimately means opinions may remain poorly-formed or founded, and our local and global community suffers due to less understanding.

The issue is timely given Minister Kenney’s statement yesterday that asserts IAW activities on campuses often “censor other points of view, and limit academic discourse.” RPIRG believes that no one should be silenced from expressing a respectful opinion, and encourages the public to attend IAW activities and respectfully engage with the issues.

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Nominations Open for RPIRG Board Elections!

RPIRG is having its Annual General Election!

We are now accepting nominations for four Board of Director positions!  The RPIRG Board of Directors is composed of 8 Student Members of RPIRG. It is the decision-making body of RPIRG, which makes all major decisions regarding finances, long-term goals, long-term viability of the organization, staffing, and funding applications.

For more information about RPIRG, and our Board of Directors, please visit our About Us pages.

Election Timeline:
Nominations Open – February 25 @ 9:00 a.m.
Nominations Close – March 11 @ 3:00 p.m.
Campaigning – March 11 – March 18
Online Voting – March 20 & 21

To run for our Board of Directors, please download and complete the election nomination form.

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Walls: Travels Along the Barricades

A READING WITH AUTHOR MARCELLO DICINTO
*Finalist for the 2012 Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing*

walls
Tuesday, 26 February 2013
 7:00 pm-9:00 pm
 Artful Dodger Cafe & Music Emporium
1631 11th Avenue, Regina, Saskatchewan S4P 0H5

=> This is a free event. Books will be available for purchase.

Walls: Travels Along the Barricades tells the stories of those who live on the world’s hardened edges, in the shadows of walls in the Western Sahara, Israel/Palestine, Belfast, on the U.S.-Mexico border, or in the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla. Join award-winning writer Marcello DiCinto on February 26 for a reading book launch.

About the book:

“In this ambitious blend of travel and reportage, Marcello Di Cintio travels to the world’s most disputed edges to meet the people who live alongside the razor wire and answer the question: What does it mean to live against the walls?

Di Cintio shares tea with Saharan refugees on the wrong side of Morocco’s desert wall. He meets with Punjabi migrants who have circumvented the fencing around the Spanish enclave of Ceuta. He visits fenced-in villages in northeast India, walks Arizona’s migrant trails, and travels to Palestinian villages to witness the protests against Israel’s security barrier.

From Native American reservations on the US-Mexico border and the “Great Wall of Montreal” to Cyprus’s divided capital and the Peace Lines of Belfast, Di Cintio seeks to understand what these structures say about those who build them and how they influence the cultures that they surround. Some walls define “us” from “them” with medieval clarity. Some walls encourage fear or feed hate. Others kill. And every wall inspires its own subversion, whether by the infiltrators who dare to go over, under or around them, or by the artists who transform them.”

=> Sponsored by Briarpatch Magazine, the Regina Public Interest Research Group, and the Saskatchewan Council for International Cooperation

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Making Ripples – an active citizen workshop!

Making Ripples: An Active Citizen Workshop
Thursday, Feb. 21
Core Ritchie Neighbourhood Centre
– 445 14th Avenue
12:30-2:30

Making Ripples gives you the opportunity to talk to active community members about their passion. Fifteen active citizens will discuss their work, how they got started, what inspires and sustains them, and how people can find their own roles in the community.

You’ll hear from people who work on a wide range of topics: poverty in Regina, women’s and gender equality, food security, HIV and AIDS, child welfare, engagement of ‘at-risk’ youth, Palestine solidarity, and the labour movement – to name a few!

The format of the workshop will be small group discussions: you will self-select a table with a community member for discussion, and have the opportunity to move to a different table with a different speaker after thirty minutes. The format is repeated for another 30 minutes. At 2:00, the main facilitator will call everyone’s attention back and facilitate a large room discussion that gives people (including facilitators) a chance to share what they’ve heard/learned/shared at their tables.

Please pre-register by emailing Arts.Cares@uregina.ca.
Lunch is provided to registrants.

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Open Forum for Student Concerns about the APR

RPIRG, in conjunction with Students Against Austerity – Regina, presents the following forum. As well, scroll down to see related activities leading up to the forum.

Academic Program Review: Open Forum for Student Concerns

Thursday, January 24, 2013

10:30-12:00pm

Multipurpose Room, Riddell Centre

By now, many students know that the University of Regina is currently undergoing an Academic Program Review. This is a years-long process where the University is responding to a tightening budget by looking at cutting and/or consolidating many programs that are now offered. This means that in coming years, options for class selections, majors and minors, or even entire degree programs may no longer be available.

Many students are concerned about this. On Thursday the 24th, join us to relay your concerns to Tom Chase, VP Academic and Provost for the APR process. This will be a chance for you to explain your concerns and raise your questions directly to the APR team.

We believe that student input should be a valuable and critical aspect of any decisions made about the future of our University. Make sure your voice is heard.

For background info on what the APR process has done so far, check out the U of R website at http://www.uregina.ca/president/executive-team/provost-vp-academic/academic-program-review/updates.html

Facebook event: http://www.facebook.com/events/542180365801400/

Small Group Discussions to learn and share ideas about the APR and university’s future

Wednesday, January 23 in CK 185 at 10:30 and in the URSU boardroom at 1:30 and 3:30.

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Working Group Feature

Fruit for Thought is one of RPIRG’s best-known working groups. Their mission is to create awareness of environmentally sustainable behaviours and reduce food waste while contributing to the community.

This past season, Fruit for Thought harvested over 30 trees in Regina, and somewhere between 2250-3000 lbs of fruit.  They donated apples and processed goods to Transition House, Souls Harbour, Chili for Children, Salvation Army, YWCA, Five Directions and the Food Bank.

Fruit for Thought was recognized by the Regional Centre of Expertise on Sustainable Development on June 7, 2012.  They received acknowledgement for having a project that contributes to creating and raising awareness of sustainable food practices in Saskatchewan.

Email fruitforthought@hotmail.com for more information, or check out their website.

 

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Apathy into Action: Details Online!

Our annual social justice conference, Apathy into Action, will take place January 17th-19th 2013. The 17th and 18th will feature sessions on various social and environmental issues facing our community, and the 19th will feature full-day training sessions to help prepare you to take on these issues.

All details are now confirmed and online! Take a look at the event page for more information!

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Resources Updated!

Our Resources section has now been updated with materials from past events and current campaigns! If you’re looking for audio or visual materials, background info about an issue, and more, check out our Resources page here.

More updates will be happening periodically, so make sure to check back in the future too!

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Mapping Corporate Power in Saskatchewan: New Report

Have you ever wondered who donates the most money to Saskatchewan’s political parties? And how that might influence decisions?

The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, along with RPIRG and the Community Research Unit at the U of R,  have released a new report today.

“Mapping Corporate Power in Saskatchewan” traces the ties between the major corporate contributors to both the Saskatchewan Party and the New Democratic Party, and their links to other corporate interest and advocacy groups. The research demonstrates that Saskatchewan corporations have the networks, the committed leadership, the organization, and the access to government to play a large role in shaping public policy. As record amounts of corporate money flood our political system, Saskatchewan urgently needs a publicly accessible lobbyist registry to let citizens track corporate lobbying. As one of the few provinces that do not currently have a lobbyist registry, Saskatchewan is vulnerable to the perception that corporations have undue influence over both major political parties.

Test your knowledge of corporate influence in Saskatchewan with the interactive quiz.

Read the full report here.

 

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New Community Pastures Website

An environmental issue bigger than Keystone? The PFRA pastures, more than one and a half million acres of public land, are some of the largest remnants of native prairie and sustainably grazed pasture in Canada. They’re valued for environmental, agricultural, recreational, and spiritual reasons. Now the provincial government has indicated it will sell them.

RPIRG helped put on a public forum that discussed the future of the 62 PFRA community pastures in Saskatchewan. This website follows up on the issue.

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