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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.