Wooden seating nearly history

The rudimentary, rickety wooden-seating that has been in place since Tennis Canada moved to York in 1976 will disappear next year, writes Tom Tebbutt in The Globe and Mail Dec. 9. Tennis Canada is replacing them with transportable metal seats with backs, he continues, in a story about the new stadium on the opposite side of the campus at York, part of the $35-million-to-$38-million phase one facility scheduled to be completed by the summer of 2004.

Meaning not necessarily in books

Is reading overvalued? asks John Allemang in a Dec. 7 Globe and Mail feature on the “aliterate” — educated people who no longer read for pleasure. He quotes “a skeptical Bruce Powe, who organized a recent symposium on literacy at York University, ‘Reading is no guarantee of anything at all. Real meaning is not necessarily on the page, and it’s still the case that the meaning is more important than the means. Just because one reads doesn’t mean one is knowledgeable or wise — look at CanLit.’” Powe is a contract faculty member at Calumet College.

Sex misconduct still “pervasive”

Marilou McPhedran (executive coordinator, National Network on Environments & Women’s Health, York University), a lawyer who chaired task forces on patient abuse by health professionals in 1991 and 2001, says the problem continues to be “pervasive, tenacious and serious,” reported The Globe and Mail Dec. 9. Her remarks were contained in a story about a survey of final-year Ontario medical students that showed they know little about what constitutes sexual abuse of patients and see nothing wrong with a physician having sex with patients who are consenting adults.

Muslim in a secular society

The Toronto Star interviewed Amila Buturovic, religious studies professor, Faculty of Arts, in a Dec. 7 feature on being Muslim. “Being Bosnian means recognizing Bosnian culture is composed of different religious groups and sensibilities and they all really work together. It was very difficult to feel exclusively Muslim or Jewish or Christian, because there always was an interactive spirit. We didn’t live in isolation. We were living together and marrying one another.”

New professors can’t appear by magic

“You can’t just snap your fingers and have professors appear. It’s very difficult as late as January to find someone to put in front of the class and to find a place for them to teach,” said Sheila Embleton, vice-president academic at York, reported The National Post Dec. 9 in a story about the cohort crunch. She was referring to the province’s request to make room for 6,300 Ontario high school students. The Post article says the government cannot publicly campaign to convince Ontario universities to drop qualified candidates from other provinces or turn away mature or college transfers. Embleton does not support shutting the door on qualified students who happen to take an indirect route to university to make room for students out of high school, reports The Post. “We’ve always wanted a seamless transfer of college to university. It’s a totally contradictory public policy message about transferability.”

Could Dubya sue for defamation?

Would the Canadian law on defamation permit legal action to be taken if one is accused of being a moron? asked Alan Young, professor, Osgoode Hall Law School, in his Toronto Star column “Body & Soul” Dec. 8. “Could Dubya have sued the Canadian official for making a defamatory statement? Unlikely. Considering that truth is always a defence, Bush’s lawsuit would be an uphill battle. In addition, it is clear the scandal quickly fizzled out because calling someone a moron is meaningless. It’s too generic. It’s too indeterminate a slur to really tarnish someone’s reputation.”