The Aquinian’s top stories of 2020-21

Here are some of The Aquinian's most important stories from the 2020-21 academic year. (Collage by Aaron Sousa/AQ)

Over the past nine months, the editorial team at The Aquinian worked around the clock to bring students the stories that matter around the St. Thomas University and Greater Fredericton communities. Here are the 20 most important stories from the 2020-21 academic year.

Progressive Conservatives win majority government: how election night went for each party

Progressive Conservative leader Blaine Higgs is the first premier to serve two terms since Bernard Lord in 2003. (Matthew Daigle/AQ)

All 10 of The Aquinian’s editors played a hand in covering the 2020 provincial snap election, where New Brunswickers saw Progressive Conservative leader Blaine Higgs re-elected for a second term as premier.

Joining reporters from news outlets like CBC, CTV and the Telegraph-Journal, The Aquinian staff stayed up until late at night to bring STU students the latest updates from party leaders across New Brunswick.

More than stereotypes: STU rugby player speaks against racism

For fourth-year student Mar Sedji, she always felt her skin colour determined who she was in the eyes of her teammates and opponents. (Billy Cole/AQ)

As a Black athlete, fourth-year student Mar Sedji said there’s an expectation for her to be tough, aggressive and a hard-hitting player.

Though she had never encountered racial slurs directed at her, Sedji heard racial slurs during practices and games from both sides. She said STU has a lot of amazing Black athletes speaking out against racism.

‘Full of laughter and life’: Remembering Aranyam Bora

Aranyam Bora was a fourth-year international student at St. Thomas University. (Facebook: Aranyam Bora)

The death of fourth-year international student Aranyam Bora deeply impacted the St. Thomas University community. The 22-year-old from India went cliff diving at the Mactaquac head pond where he drowned.

STU published a statement shortly after Bora’s death, expressing condolences to his family and said they were working with the consulate and family representatives to send his remains home.

Tensions rise between Indigenous and commercial fishermen

Since late August, tensions have arisen between commercial and Indigenous fishermen in regards to lobster fishing. (Submitted: Oriol Salvador)

While it wasn’t a “New Brunswick story,” the tension between Mi’kmaq and commercial fishers in Nova Scotia hit close to home. Since August 2020, tensions rose in regards to lobster fishing.

According to Tanner Augustine, a STU student interviewed in the story, the commercial fishermen didn’t see the Mi’kmaq to be fishing for livelihood and believed they would see a cut in their profits due to the Mi’kmaq fishing offseason.

‘I’m not leaving until I get what I want’: A week of protests asking the province to save Clinic 554

Police officers tear down tents set up by Clinic 554 protesters at the Provincial Legislative Building. (Aaron Sousa/AQ)

Around 30 Clinic 554 supporters attended a candlelit vigil on the grounds of the Provincial Legislative Building on Sept. 25 to protest the closure of Clinic 554, which offered abortion services, contraceptive counselling and hormone replacement therapy among other services.

With the closure of Clinic 554, access to abortions will be limited to those who can afford to travel to Moncton or Bathurst, those who have a drive to the hospital, those who can take time off work and those who are not past the 13-week six-day gestational age.

Junior hockey prospect hopes to inspire others after coming out

Saint-Antoine hockey player Yanic Duplessis sent shockwaves after coming out on the Atlantic Canadian FDS Podcast Network. (Submitted: Normand Léger)

Saint-Antoine hockey prospect Yanic Duplessis sent shockwaves through the hockey world after coming out as gay on the Atlantic Canadian FDS Podcast Network. Duplessis didn’t get to tell all of his friends and family before he came out in the podcast.

Duplessis, 17, is a prospect in the Québec Major Junior Hockey League, drafted by the Drummondville Voltigeurs in 2019. He said that if his coming out helped just one person, one player, his decision was a success.

Learning to be a leader

For men’s rugby captain Zach Klassen, this season will be like no other in his 15 years on the field. (Aaron Sousa/AQ)

With fewer sporting events due to the COVID-19 pandemic, St. Thomas University men’s rugby captain Zach Klassen said the past year he focused on building and improving a team and preparing for the return of university sports.

This is possibly the athlete’s final year at STU and he may never get to play with the team he has worked to improve. Still, Klassen said being captain has been a constant learning experience.

Fredericton man arrested near campus area, students concerned

Armed Fredericton police move across a property during a day-long standoff near College Hill. (Aaron Sousa/AQ)

The area around St. Thomas University and the University of New Brunswick was forced into lockdown on Oct. 22, 2020, after Fredericton Police said they were dealing with a “barricaded person” inside a residence around the College Hill and Montgomery street area.

After an eight-hour standoff, police took 28-year-old Kyle Anthony Kennedy into custody, where he faced multiple charges in court, including pointing a firearm, uttering threats, possession, assault with a firearm, two counts of forcible confinement, breach of probation and breach of a firearms prohibition order.

The Aquinian provided its readers with multiple updates throughout the day from its on-the-ground coverage and reported alongside journalists from CBC, CTV, The Daily Gleaner and other media outlets.

‘We are all treaty people’: Support rally for Mi’kmaq relatives at N.B. legislature

A crowd of 130 protestors gathered at the Provincial Legislative Building on Oct. 22. (Hannah Rudderham/AQ)

After tensions between Indigenous and commercial fishers in Nova Scotia continued to grow, a crowd of 130 protestors gathered at the Provincial Legislative Building on Oct. 22, 2020. Treaty 1752 allows Indigenous Peoples to fish lobster for their livelihood outside of regular season.

Groups like Black Lives Matter Fredericton said they were honoured to stand with the Mi’kmaq nation, and Fredericton MP Jenica Atwin said she’s been criticized for standing up for Treaty 1752.

The “new normal” of live performances during COVID-19

Dad Patrol used the extra time in quarantine to create a new album. (Submitted: Dad Patrol)

Dad Patrol used the extra time in quarantine to create a new album, which Gregor Dobson said was different compared to any other time they’ve written — he and Pelletier sent each other snippets over Snapchat and Facebook.

The live performance experience has changed under COVID-19’s “new normal.” With less crowded venues and new health restrictions, local New Brunswick band Dad Patrol changed how they perform and record.

How does player recruitment look amidst COVID-19?

Tommies’ women’s hockey head coach Peter Murphy gives a virtual tour of a changing area with his iPad. (Aaron Sousa/AQ)

Peter Murphy, Tommies’ women’s hockey head coach, said it’s been tough to recruit during the COVID-19 pandemic because of travel issues. In a normal year, he tends to travel throughout the country, and potential recruits would visit Fredericton and get a tour of St. Thomas University, as well as the Grant Harvey Centre.

While the option to tour campus was still in place, recruits were not allowed to visit facilities, a new rule from the AUS. He also cannot meet anywhere in person. This year, with high school and club teams not being able to play, coaches relied on contacts who will refer players to keep an eye on.

University responds to sexual violence allegations at student clinic after province-wide protests

About 80 people attended a protest against sexual violence at the UNB Fredericton campus on Friday. (Aaron Sousa/AQ)

Around 80 people protested against sexual violence at the University of New Brunswick Fredericton campus on Nov. 13, 2020, after sexual assault allegations ignited several protests across New Brunswick university campuses.

In a later story, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of New Brunswick suspended Dr. Manoj Bhargava, a University of New Brunswick Health Centre and Horizon Health psychiatrist, after receiving allegations of “improper contact” with patients.

New architecture firm selected to design Playhouse replacement 

There isn’t a specific date set for the new Playhouse to open its doors, but president of the board of directors Greg MacFarlane said three years is a feasible time frame. (Aaron Sousa/AQ)

The Fredericton Playhouse sat in the same spot on Queen Street for more than 50 years. But in a few years, the city will have to say goodbye to the Playhouse and hello to a new building replacing the Playhouse.

Built in 1964, the current building serves the arts community in Fredericton. Though there is no specific date set for the new Playhouse to open its doors, president of the Playhouse’s board of directors Greg MacFarlane, said three years is a feasible time frame.

Tweeting today, blocked tomorrow 

Caitlin Grogan spent the night at the New Brunswick legislature in response to Clinic 554’s impending closure. (Twitter/thecaitdiaries)

Caitlin Grogan called out the Saint John Police Force and its response to sexual assault cases on Twitter when she posted that the force said a friend’s case wasn’t “violent enough.”

Grogan, 23, discussed her involvement with provincial politics and her online activism with news editor Hannah Rudderham. During the 2020 snap election, she ran against Higgs in the Quispamsis riding, where she received 501 votes for the New Democratic Party.

Music NB, local Indigenous artist create grant for Indigenous musicians

Mi’kmaq hip-hop artist Tristan Grant, also known as Wolf Castle, struggled to find outlets to pursue his career while growing up. (Submitted: Tristan Grant)

Mi’kmaq hip-hop artist Tristan Grant, also known as Wolf Castle, struggled to find outlets to pursue his career while growing up, so now, he wants to help other emerging Indigenous artists by partnering with Music New Brunswick on a $3,000 grant.

The emerging artist can use the grant funds towards any of their music-based aspirations, whether that’s recording costs or creating a music video while being supported with the proper tools and guidance.

Ending the old boys club

Fredericton city councillor Kate Rogers, seen in this file photo, came forward to speak about the challenges of being the only woman on council. (Jerry-Faye Flatt/AQ)

In this long-form feature, Fredericton city councillor Kate Rogers spoke out about the challenges of being the only woman on council. Rogers is now running for mayor of Fredericton in the upcoming municipal election in May.

Rogers reflected on her time on city council since she was elected, including missing lunch to pick up her kids, make dinner and go to various activities. Her speaking out has helped spark change, but there is still a long way to go, and she is happy to be along for the ride.

‘Sometimes it feels surreal’: a look at N.B.’s chief medical health officer

For a little less than a year, Dr. Jennifer Russell has been at the forefront of New Brunswick’s COVID-19 response. (Submitted: Government of New Brunswick)

For a little less than a year, Dr. Jennifer Russell has been at the forefront of New Brunswick’s COVID-19 response. She has been a stern, yet comforting voice at daily press conferences with Premier Blaine Higgs, updating residents about the virus’s impact.

The Aquinian’s photo editor Aaron Sousa sat down with Russell to talk about what she saw in the province throughout the pandemic, what her daily life looks like and how she balances controlling a pandemic while being a full-time mom.

‘STU gave me my career’: One STU grad’s journey to the NHL

At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, St. Thomas University graduate Matt Tidcombe received a message from the NHL, asking him to fill a spot on the communications staff for the Ottawa Senators. (Submitted: Matt Tidcombe)

When the American Hockey League suspended and eventually cancelled the 2019-20 season, Matt Tidcombe wasn’t sure when or where he’d be working. But now, he works as a communications representative for the Ottawa Senators.

Tidcombe writes for the Senators website during the day, sometimes putting out five or six articles in a day, ranging from game previews to short profiles of Senators players. He’s glad to be back at work, covering the “best hockey players in the world” almost every night.

Spring convocation will be virtual this year

St. Thomas University announced in an email to graduating students that spring convocation will take place virtually. (Aaron Sousa/AQ)

After a year of COVID-19, St. Thomas University announced the spring convocation would be virtual. Jeffrey Carleton, STU’s vice-president of communications, said while the pandemic was improving, it was safer to do a virtual convocation.

It would be broadcasted on STU’s Youtube channel from the Kinsella Auditorium. Sarah Kohut, president of STU’s Students’ Union, said the announcement is a little disappointing as a graduate, but she understands the decision.

The rise of police body cameras in Fredericton

Fredericton deputy police chief Martin Gaudet holds up one of the newly purchased body cameras. (Aaron Sousa/AQ)

As law enforcement agencies move into the digital age, the Fredericton Police followed suit by expanding its use of body cameras as part of a five year contract renewal with Axon Enterprise.

But Black Lives Matter organizer Husoni Raymond said the city should invest in communities, mental health services and social workers. Deputy police chief Martin Gaudet said seeing more psychologists working with police is fantastic, but said the lack of resources and psychologists make things more difficult.