Eduvation Blog

We Failed the Marshmallow Test

Good morning, and Happy International Day of Pink! (“Level up the love” and “say game over to cyberbullying.”)

I’ve got a busy week – enjoyed facilitating a college marketing roundtable yesterday in which we discussed brand strategy in a pandemic, and I’m looking forward to a polytechnic roundtable this afternoon too! But that means it’s late as I write this, and after 2 gruelling days digesting the bad news out of Sudbury, I want to be as brief as I can this morning. (You may well feel the same!)

Max Fawcett wrote yesterday that Canada “failed the marshmallow test,” and you can certainly see it in our rising pandemic third wave. Because we couldn’t comply with PHO orders, now we can’t have nice things, like open beaches or summer festivals. Or hospital ICUs that aren’t filling to the rafters…

CdnPSE has struggled with the marshmallow test in more ways than one. At Laurentian, previous administrations spent money they didn’t have, and the current board impatiently jumped to CCAA insolvency proceedings. (See my summary yesterday, if you missed it.)

But of course some of our students have also struggled with social isolation, and just couldn’t resist crowding waterfront parks in Kingston, or holding off-campus parties in London – pushing Western up past 300 cases, with 45 more in the past week…



COVID on Campus

Since Monday, there have been 49 more cases of COVID19 reported by CdnPSEs, almost all at Western. (See my master spreadsheet for a running tally of 2,300+ cases in CdnPSE since Sept 2020.)  

Durham College reported another case at its Oshawa campus yesterday.  DC

Fleming College reported a positive case on its Sutherland campus on Apr 9.  Fleming

McMaster U reported Monday that an employee on campus tested positive, 8 days after being in the Nuclear Reactor building.  Mac

uVic’s School of Music has apparently experienced at least 1 case of COVID19 on campus. The student(s) are in isolation.  The Martlet


45 More Cases at Western U

Since my last report 7 day ago, case counts show 45 more confirmed cases in the 7 outbreaks in Western U residences, notably 14 more in Saugeen-Maitland Hall (now 44), 10 more in Delaware Hall (now 16), and 6 more in Perth Hall (which I estimated at 3, conservatively). There are now 27 in Medway-Sydenham Hall, 17 in Ontario Hall, 10 in Elgin Hall, and 8 in Essex Hall.  Global

(By my count, that is now 309 cases publicly reported associated with Western students, not counting 166 associated with University Hospital.)

On Apr 1, Western urged students to vacate residences by Apr 11 and pivoted most classes and exams online. So far, 60% of students have moved out of campus dorms. Final exams start today.  London Free Press

Young people 18-22 years old, both on-campus and in the surrounding Old North area, have turned postal prefix N6A into the hottest COVID19 spot in Ontario, with 29% of tests coming back positive. Contact tracers are overwhelmed, and mayor Ed Holder is urging the province to increase vaccine availability. The local Cargill meat processing plant halted production yesterday, as 82 cases were confirmed among employees there.  Global



Quick Takes: Laurentian

ICYMI, yesterday’s issue (“Black Monday, Betrayal, Bloodbath”) provided a pretty thorough look at the facts coming out of Sudbury, and a dose of speculation from me about what remains unsaid, and what might be coming next. Since then, here are a few more key details…


110 Faculty, 41 Staff and 36 Administrators lost their jobs on Monday. The LUFA membership was voting on a new collective agreement yesterday, reached through a process “construed as a mediation, but it’s not really.”


Laurentian’s School of the Environment has been eliminated, along with the Ecology and Restoration Biology programs. “The entire legacy of the re-greening of Sudbury has been wiped out.” (Symbolically, Sudbury has been decimated by another man-made disaster this year.)  CBC


“I’ve got friends and colleagues whose lives are destroyed. It’s brutal… I have to go back to work, and how am I going to handle working for an administration that implemented this grossly inhumane and cruel plan?”Albrecht Schulte-Hostedde, Biology prof, CRC Chair, Laurentian U


Other budget cuts apparently slipped beneath the radar yesterday, such as…


Voyageur Athletics teams have been cut, including the swim team, and women’s varsity hockey. Other teams “wait with bated breath.”  CTV


As you might expect, there is outrage and eloquence pouring in from across the province…


Charlie Angus, MP for Timmins-James Bay, called the cancellation of programs like midwifery “an attack on the North. To take an institution like Laurentian and sell it off like you’re at a yard sale, or treat it like a bankrupt company, has national importance, because if they do this at Laurentian, what’s going to happen when a health sciences department or a hospital runs into deficit?”  Toronto Sun


“To take an institution like Laurentian and sell it off like you’re at a yard sale, or treat it like a bankrupt company, has national importance.”Charlie Angus, MP for Timmins-James Bay


“In one e-mail sent at 10:01 pm, the university had undone decades of education for the humanities including fields of communications, Indigenous studies, gerontology, and gender and sexuality.”Jackson Pind, Laurentian alumnus



The University of Ottawa has declared that it “stands in solidarity with Laurentian” and confirmed its commitment to the Franco-Ontarian community. “Today we call on the provincial and federal governments to review and increase the funding allocated to Francophone or bilingual universities in minority settings in order to prevent such a situation from once again threatening post-secondary education in French across Canada.”  uOttawa


OCUFA is calling for the resignation of minister of colleges and universities Ross Romano, and for the province to provide immediate financial support to LU.   CBC


As I suspected yesterday, federal money is available to help…


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau assured reporters that Official Languages Minister Mélanie Joly has offered support to her counterparts in Ontario, “because we know how important it is to protect official language minorities across the country.”  CBC


Sudbury MP Paul Lefebvre said yesterday that the federal government offered financial support to the province a month ago, to support French-language university education in Sudbury, but is still waiting for a plan from Queen’s Park. An independent uSudbury might be one approach.  Sudbury Star


Federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh and Deputy Leader Alexandre Boulerice have written Trudeau and Joly, calling on the federal government to support uSudbury’s transformation into an autonomous francophone institution.  Sudbury Star





It’s not thematically connected to Laurentian or outbreaks (although maybe I could connect entrepreneurship to the marshmallow test if I were more awake right now), but here’s the best higher ed video released yesterday…


DMZ Startups Raise $1B

Over the past 11 years at Ryerson University’s DMZ, 194 startup companies have surpassed $1 billion in total funding raised. This 90-sec video features dynamic angles, strong performances, and some clever writing. “Do you want to know what we think about zeroes? Here’s 9 of them!” Very nice, #DMZoneBillion.  (I especially like the first 60 sec.)  YouTube



Doubtless you’ve heard about rising COVID19 infection rates, new health restrictions, and some vaccine setbacks – again.  I’ll try to get to this week’s “Pandemic Précis” tomorrow!

As always, thanks for reading. Please do drop me a line if you spot something interesting, thought-provoking or cool happening on your campus, or elsewhere in the world!

Stay safe and be well,


Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Please answer the question below to confirm that you are not a spambot * Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.

All contents copyright © 2014 Eduvation Inc. All rights reserved.