Majority rule

“What this tyranny of the majority has created in the U.S. is a kind of well poisoning. We poison the well of discourse when we make it impossible for opponents to speak without appearing ito incriminate themselves,” writes English Professor Brett Zimmerman in a letter printed in The Toronto Star Sept. 9. “The well of discourse in contemporary America has been poisoned by its politicians, its media moguls and the pressure of public opinion. Anyone with the courage to deviate from the official slant on Sept. 11 and its causes is branded a traitor. … [I]t’s possible to criticize one’s country while still being a patriot.”

On GO-ing

The GO line will help, York University media relations director Cim Nunn told the North York Mirror Sept. 6 at the opening of a GO station just east of the University. “It’s a step in the right direction for people from the 905 regions, but it’s not a solution for 416. … Any improvement in transit is something we’re delighted with and we’re going to continue to work with all of our partners to increase options for our students.”

Shopping 9/11

The terrorist destruction of the World Trade Centre last September spawned a merchandising bonanza, reported The Toronto Star Sept 9. It didn’t surprise Deborah Barndt, a professor of communications and culture at York. “One of the really important connections to make with the commercial aspects of the memorializing is what happened immediately after the attacks. When the markets collapsed, the message from President Bush was ‘to save ourselves, please shop.’ We’ve become a society of consumers, not citizens, and it’s become our civic duty to go shopping.”

Army meltdown

A report from the Council for Canadian Security in the 21st Century says Ottawa is still blasé about improving Canada’s military, even after the Sept. 11 attacks last year, reports The National Post Sept. 9. “We have the pending meltdown of the Canadian Forces and the government is doing a sham consultation,” said its chairman and retired York history Professor Jack Granatstein.

Stressor pressure

Guess what stresses first-year university students most. “Certainly the pressure to succeed academically is a huge stressor for all of them,” Jane Margles of York’s Counselling and Development Centre said in an Associated Press story printed in the St. John’s Telegram Sept. 7. “Pressures around managing workload – meeting deadlines in a timely fashion – is enormous.”

Canada glorious and free?

Reg Whittaker, an expert on national security and professor emeritus at York, credits the Canadian government with a measured response to the American reaction to the Sept. 11 attacks that was just enough to keep the Americans at bay. “I have the very strong sense that the Liberal government has in fact negotiated a very difficult course quite successfully,” he said in a Sept. 9 The Toronto Star story. “There was a very serious threat to Canadian economic security. … [T]he Liberal strategy was not to think big, but to think small, to work on very incremental agreements with the Americans that will actually work, satisfy the Americans but will not be carried out at serious cost to Canadian sovereignty.”