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Monday, August 23, 2004
University of Toronto Students on Birgeneau
I recently attended the national convention of my fraternity, and I met a fraternity brother from the University of Toronto. I asked him about Birgeneau, and he told me some interesting things, so I asked him to talk to his friends at school when he got back and then e-mail what their impressions of Birgeneau were.
Here is what they had to say:
His name is pronounced "Bur, g as the "s" in asia, then say the letters N-O. Bur-ge-noh". Personally, I had been calling him Bur-geh-now, and I heard other people calling him that too, which is apparently a mispronounciation.
His nickname at U of T was "the Birg" with the same "s" sound as in Asia. [I like this, let's use it.]
"Disconnected with student body- U of T has one of North America's unhappiest studentbodies, school spirit is nonexistent, everyone feelslike a number, classes of over 1000 people."
There was a rumor that his wife was being paid 60,000 dollars a year to host parties. I did an internet search and found this article, which seems to be the job that the rumor is referring to. The article mentions it is a staff position, but doesn't say how much the salary is. The work does seem to basically involve hosting parties.
Here is how Birgeneau's wife describes it:
The house is used for countless university functions. “Although we reside here, it is first and foremost the university’s house and should be used by the university,” she said. “I’m happy to be involved, helping out with the many events there. I’ve met some extraordinary people so far, from both inside and outside of the university. [emphasis mine]Positives
1. Birgeneau was a good figurehead
2. he represented the university well
3. and finally, he's not a bad speaker
That is the opinion of those people who knew him up close at the University of Toronto. Managing PR is just as important as having good policies and ideas, and it will be interesting to see how Birgeneau defines himself in the coming weeks.
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