International briefs

Waterloo suspends football program for one year

Following the biggest steroid investigation in Canadian university history, the University of Waterloo has put its football team on hiatus for one year as reported by Macleans OnCampus.

The decision to suspend the team was made after nine football players tested positive for, or admitted to using, steroids.

The investigation into the entire team began after the arrest of Waterloo receiver Nathan Zettler, for possession and drug trafficking.

Players who want the suspension revoked have launched a campaign that includes a group on and are considering legal action. However, the university is standing by its decision and a revised season schedule that excludes the team, the Warriors, is being drawn up.

“It’s just too many [positive tests],” vice-president academic and provost Feridun Hamdullahpu said in an article in Macleans OnCampus.

“For all new students coming to Waterloo to study and also participate in athletics, this had to be heard loud and clear. [Using banned substances] will not be tolerated.” 

Testing was conducted by the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sports, which is currently waiting for the results of 20 blood samples from players being tested for human growth hormone.

University of Puerto Rico students declare victory against severe budget cuts

After going on strike two month ago to oppose severe budget cuts, University of Puerto Rico students reached an agreement with administrators to halt the proposed cuts, reported the New York Times.

The students and university administrators brokered a deal with the help of a court-appointed mediator, under which the university’s Board of Regents has agreed to cancel a special fee that would have effectively doubled the cost to attend the university’s 11 public campuses, along with providing several other concessions.

Under the deal, no sanctions will be made against organizers of the strike, who quarreled with the police on the Río Piedras campus, the main campus of the university, outside San Juan on several occasions during the strike.

Although the accord must still be approved by a general assembly of university students, many professors and students are calling it a complete victory. However, cuts planned for later this year to the salaries and benefits of professors could set off another bout of conflict.

Increase in US college enrollment highest in 40 years

A study released by the Pew Research Centre shows that freshman enrolment in the United States had dramatically increased by six percent in 2008 to a record 2.6 million, which, the study concluded, was mostly due to increased minority enrolment, reported the Associated Press.

US colleges have not seen this level of increase since the height of the Vietnam War, which was mainly due to young adults enrolling in post secondary education to avoid the draft.

Although demographic breakdowns are not yet available, preliminary government data shows that enrolment continued to be on the rise in 2009.

Almost three quarters of the freshman increases in 2008 were minorities, the largest share of which were Hispanic.

States with the largest freshman enrolment increases were California, the District of Columbia, Arizona, Alabama, and Nevada all with gains ranging from 11 to 21 per cent.