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University of Alberta’s law school takes steps to recruit more indigenous students


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#1 StudentLife

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Posted 27 December 2016 - 10:55 AM

University of Alberta’s law school takes steps to recruit more indigenous students

http://edmontonjourn...genous-students

 

This is all fine and great, but really more required courses? U of A already has the most required courses out of any law school in Canada. I mean do I really have to take Corporate Law when I have 0 interest in Corporate Law? The answer is yes. They cancel sections of required courses so couldn’t even take them because everything was full, while also cancelling electives that would actually be useful. And then they add stuff like French Law…or other equally useless classes that have like 3 at max 4 people in them and can’t be cancelled for political reasons. Meanwhile some people can’t graduate because they cancelled large sections of the many required courses which are always instantly full.



#2 Hegdis

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Posted 27 December 2016 - 11:01 AM

Fwiw, not a bad idea to take corporate law. I took it back in the day and haven't regretted it as a general knowledge source for how some businesses work.

 

A few months ago you wanted to know your chances for getting into the Toronto market from Alberta, and you said you weren't picky about the area of law and indicated an interest in medium sized firms.

 

If that's still true, there are a lot of things you could take that would be less helpful.

 

 

 

Curious about specifically which classes (apparently there is more than one) that have only three people in them but can't be cancelled "for political reasons"....?



#3 TKNumber3

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Posted 27 December 2016 - 11:09 AM

I don't see it saying there will be more required courses.

Adding a Gladue aspect to the sentencing course is a good plan. It's hardly a secret that the Aboriginal population makes up a large percentage of those charged, for a variety of social and economic reasons.

The history of Aboriginal law and residential schools will be added into Foundations, which is an existing course.

#4 Hegdis

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Posted 27 December 2016 - 11:13 AM

Adding a Gladue aspect to the sentencing course is a good plan. It's hardly a secret that the Aboriginal population makes up a large percentage of those charged, for a variety of social and economic reasons.
 

 

Anyone who does criminal law and is not familiar with Gladue (and the rest of the SCC cases along that line) will look like an idiot they minute they are retained by their first aboriginal client. It's essential knowledge. (I'm only surprised it wasn't part of that course before now, if that was in fact the case - what was the course planner thinking?)

 

Edit: I should also say this is essential knowledge for Crown as well:

 

[85]                          Whatever criticisms may be directed at the decision of this Court for any ambiguity in this respect, the judgment ultimately makes it clear that sentencing judges have a duty to apply s. 718.2(e): “There is no discretion as to whether to consider the unique situation of the aboriginal offender; the only discretion concerns the determination of a just and appropriate sentence” (Gladue, at para. 82).  Similarly, in Wells, Iacobucci J. reiterated, at para. 50, that

                             [t]he generalization drawn in Gladue to the effect that the more violent and serious the offence, the more likely as a practical matter for similar terms of imprisonment to be imposed on aboriginal and non-aboriginal offenders, was not meant to be a principle of universal application. In each case, the sentencing judge must look to the circumstances of the aboriginal offender.

[...]

[87]                          The sentencing judge has a statutory duty, imposed by s. 718.2 (e) of the Criminal Code , to consider the unique circumstances of Aboriginal offenders. Failure to apply Gladue in any case involving an Aboriginal offender runs afoul of this statutory obligation. As these reasons have explained, such a failure would also result in a sentence that was not fit and was not consistent with the fundamental principle of proportionality.  Therefore, application of the Gladue principles is required in every case involving an Aboriginal offender, including breach of an LTSO, and a failure to do so constitutes an error justifying appellate intervention.

 


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#5 TKNumber3

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Posted 27 December 2016 - 11:46 AM

I'm not sure it's current coverage in sentencing as I never took it, I meant an expanded aspect including the ability to get exposure to how the reports are drafted would be good.

I'm out of my element on this one though, I only mean to rebuke the idea that it's adding more mandatory classes as the plan is to a) off an additional in depth optional course which would be of great benefit to those interested in being criminal lawyers (on both sides) and b) adds to an existing course which is already required.

#6 erinl2

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Posted 27 December 2016 - 01:00 PM

Meanwhile some people can’t graduate because they cancelled large sections of the many required courses which are always instantly full.

 

Really? I have never heard of a law student who couldn't graduate on time because he/she was unable to satisfy the number of required courses.


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#7 bernard

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Posted 27 December 2016 - 02:08 PM

I don't see it saying there will be more required courses.

 

That's because it doesn't. Not sure where the OP is coming from on this one. 


Edited by bernard, 27 December 2016 - 02:09 PM.

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#8 StudentLife

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Posted 27 December 2016 - 11:19 PM

Fwiw, not a bad idea to take corporate law. I took it back in the day and haven't regretted it as a general knowledge source for how some businesses work.

 

A few months ago you wanted to know your chances for getting into the Toronto market from Alberta, and you said you weren't picky about the area of law and indicated an interest in medium sized firms.

 

If that's still true, there are a lot of things you could take that would be less helpful.

 

 

 

Curious about specifically which classes (apparently there is more than one) that have only three people in them but can't be cancelled "for political reasons"....?

 

I know and I am taking it anyway (because it's required). I was going to take it either way, that was just an example. Although you could argue Family Law should be required over something like Corporations Law. My point was that there are too many required courses when they offer too few sections, and the curriculum should be more open ended and flexible. It could be worse, at least they got rid of one dreadful required course from before, now only 6 left.

 

Examples of classes that have low enrollment (when I last checked) but don't get cancelled since the school wants to promote them and claim they offer those areas, are:

Topics in French Law (1 person)

Const Enviro Rights (3 people)
Corporate Taxation (3 people)


Edited by StudentLife, 27 December 2016 - 11:20 PM.


#9 StudentLife

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Posted 27 December 2016 - 11:29 PM

I don't see it saying there will be more required courses.

Adding a Gladue aspect to the sentencing course is a good plan. It's hardly a secret that the Aboriginal population makes up a large percentage of those charged, for a variety of social and economic reasons.

The history of Aboriginal law and residential schools will be added into Foundations, which is an existing course.

You're right. I think the required future course the Dean wants to have about aboriginal law is possibly the changes made to Foundations. I didn't mean the specialized electives, which is what the article was mostly mentioning. Although heard rumblings there is a push to have in the future a dedicated required aboriginal law course.



#10 StudentLife

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Posted 28 December 2016 - 12:01 AM

Really? I have never heard of a law student who couldn't graduate on time because he/she was unable to satisfy the number of required courses.

 

Yes, it really can happen! At the very least it adds a lot of unnecessary stress and frustration by making it difficult to ensure graduation on time. This is U of A, not Osgoode, U of T, or whatever other school. There are 176 students in each upper year right now so about 352 total that need to take 6 required courses within 2 years. There are also an additional 10-20 NCAs, plus a few exchange students also taking the same courses each semester.

 

I am going to use Corporations Law as an example. In Fall there was 1 section of 60 students and 1 section of 48. A third section of 48 was cancelled. So there were a theoretical 108 spots in Fall for Corporations Law.

In Winter there is 1 section of 60 people. This is a total theoretical number of 168 spots for this year for Corporations Law. Some of those spots are wasted because people drop out later in the term, some fail so have to re-take, and some drop it at the last minute right before the add/drop deadline without anyone being able to fill it.

 

This year there are 190 1Ls. Let's assume next year about 200 students including NCAs want to take Corporations in their second year to get it done with as soon as possible. This will not be possible as there were only 168 spots this year. That makes about a 30 spot deficit. If some 2Ls leave off Corporations for their third year (due to overlapping course scheduling and time conflicts) then that deficit will be even higher. This deficit has occurred this year and it repeats itself over multiple of those 6 required courses mostly being Admin, Evidence, Corporations, and Civil Procedure, since those only have one or two lecture sections each semester. The lectures tend to be capped at 60 but can be significantly lower depending on the room. Normally there should be  3 sections each semester for required courses, but like I said this year they were cancelled and there were either 2 or 1 each semester.

 

Sometimes they marginally increase course enrollment or add additional sections last minute as they did this year with an emergency Admin law section just added for Winter of exactly 23 spots. Those are probably a bunch of 3Ls who complained and would not have been able to graduate otherwise, since initially there was only one full 60 person Admin law class in the Winter and one cancelled 70 person section. Keep in mind that the required classes are often scheduled at the same time as other required courses so scheduling conflicts exist when trying to take more than one or two a semester (besides them being instantly full) and there are 6 required courses to take in 2 years.

 

In the next 2 years about 400 students will be trying to take each of Admin, Evidence, Corporations, and Civil Procedure when this year there were only about 180 spots for each course (about 360 spots over two years). Even with perfect scheduling without conflicts there is still a deficit in the total yearly section spots offered. I'm not even going to discuss the number of electives that were also cancelled. But at least tuition is still frozen.


Edited by StudentLife, 28 December 2016 - 12:21 AM.


#11 Jethro

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Posted 28 December 2016 - 06:40 PM

University of Alberta’s law school takes steps to recruit more indigenous students

http://edmontonjourn...genous-students

 

This is all fine and great, but really more required courses? U of A already has the most required courses out of any law school in Canada. I mean do I really have to take Corporate Law when I have 0 interest in Corporate Law? The answer is yes. They cancel sections of required courses so couldn’t even take them because everything was full, while also cancelling electives that would actually be useful. And then they add stuff like French Law…or other equally useless classes that have like 3 at max 4 people in them and can’t be cancelled for political reasons. Meanwhile some people can’t graduate because they cancelled large sections of the many required courses which are always instantly full.

 

 

Not quite. Manitoba has all the required classes of Alberta, plus Family, Tax and Trusts. Seriously, talk about lack of time for electives...



#12 kurrika

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Posted 28 December 2016 - 07:54 PM

Don't they stagger registration so that 3ls register before 2ls at u of a? Will always have enough slots to graduate that way.

Edited by kurrika, 28 December 2016 - 08:09 PM.


#13 DSman

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Posted 28 December 2016 - 08:40 PM

Don't they stagger registration so that 3ls register before 2ls at u of a? Will always have enough slots to graduate that way.

 

Yea they do. Thats what so weird about this for me. I cant think of a single person who did not graduate or had trouble because they couldn't take req courses. Im sure it does happen but you pretty much have to be very careless about picking courses for it to happen. People going into 3Ls get a week to register into courses before 2Ls. I only took 1 or maybe 2 req courses in 2L and easily got into all required courses for 3L. 


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#14 erinl2

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Posted 29 December 2016 - 04:37 AM

Meanwhile some people can’t graduate because they cancelled large sections of the many required courses which are always instantly full.

 

Yes, it really can happen! At the very least it adds a lot of unnecessary stress and frustration by making it difficult to ensure graduation on time.

 

So, which is it? Some people can't graduate or it makes it difficult to graduate on time?  Your initial post intimated that this happens to 'some' people, likely meaning more than one. Do you actually know anyone who didn't graduate due to being unable to schedule required courses?  Making a claim like this isn't necessarily helpful to prospective students. I know U of A grads and two current students and have never heard of anyone who had this issue.


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#15 TKNumber3

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Posted 29 December 2016 - 06:02 AM

Yea this whole post is out to lunch. Maybe someone couldn't take a desired course cause it conflicted with a required they needed, but welcome to life. I don't know of anyone who didn't/couldn't graduate due to required courses. If for some reason a required course you absolutely needed was full and there was no other way to get it I'm nearly certain they would allow you to enroll in it by increasing the class size by one.
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#16 theVelvetFog

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Posted 29 December 2016 - 03:28 PM

Yea this whole post is out to lunch. Maybe someone couldn't take a desired course cause it conflicted with a required they needed, but welcome to life. I don't know of anyone who didn't/couldn't graduate due to required courses. If for some reason a required course you absolutely needed was full and there was no other way to get it I'm nearly certain they would allow you to enroll in it by increasing the class size by one.


This. All you have to do is make an appointment with the Vice Dean to request being added to a full section of a required course if it means that you otherwise can't graduate. Of course, you won't be able to do this if there are spots available in other sections, you just might not be able to take an option that runs concurrently with the other section. No one is denied graduation because required courses are full, that's absurd.

Just a note on the actual topic here - the Faculty doesn't seem to be proposing any significant change to the core curriculum to respond to the TRC recommendations. If I understand it correctly, the change to Foundations amounted to one day of discussing aboriginal law topics. Frankly, I don't get the point of the article - it seems to suggest a significant change in the way U of A teaches aboriginal legal concepts, but I'm only seeing tinkering at the margins, with most of the changes being made to electives.

#17 Gaius

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Posted 08 January 2017 - 05:55 AM

In fairness, OP is right that picking required courses is a huge pain at U of A because they don't have enough sections. They often fill up instantly; because of a 5 second computer glitch when the registration time opened, you don't get in because it literally fills up that fast. Students "trade" course spots by coordinating their drop times, etc.

It is a serious pain, although I doubt it's a serious challenge to actually graduating as long as you don't put off your all your requireds to the final year. But it is frustrating and can mess with schedules and desires to take various electives.

I don't know, maybe this is normal at other law schools, but I've never seen it in my other degrees, and it seems silly.

Edited by Gaius, 08 January 2017 - 05:58 AM.

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#18 RBK

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Posted 08 January 2017 - 09:54 AM

The OP is spreading non-sense. If you could not get into one of the required classes in upper years and told the Faculty they would get you into the class if you needed it for graduation. I went to U of A Law and asked this question from a number of people in years below me, above me and my year this has never been an issue.


Edited by RBK, 08 January 2017 - 09:56 AM.


#19 Hegdis

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Posted 08 January 2017 - 10:12 AM

Based on the replies from other students and former students in this thread, I think the OP confused her theory on what she had concluded could technically happen with what actually does happen.