Defending equitable admissions

Peter W. Hogg and Patrick J. Monahan, dean and dean-designate of York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School, respond March 19 to a March 17 editorial in the National Post criticizing law schools for having a special admissions category for Aboriginal students. “It is now so difficult to get into law school that very few Aboriginal students would get in. This is because they typically lack the traditional academic preparation that non-Aboriginal students have received. And yet it is surely important that Aboriginal people have access to law school, so that they can become lawyers and judges. In fact, Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms expressly recognizes that programs to assist certain disadvantaged groups should be continued, as a means of addressing historic discrimination and broadening access for all…. Once admitted, however, they have to meet exactly the same standards as everyone else. At the Osgoode Hall Law School this year, out of 870 LLB students, only 14 are Aboriginal. We would prefer to increase that number rather than to reduce it.”

Sense of unease extends beyond border towns

“I think 9/11 destroyed a major defence,” says Donald Carveth, sociology professor at York University’s Glendon College, in a story about border-town unease in The Niagara Falls Review March 19. “There was an illusion of North American invulnerability, but that illusion was shattered in a really traumatic way. North Americans feel much more exposed, much more vulnerable, much more fearful of retaliation.” Unlike in 1991, President George W. Bush’s pre-emptive strike against Iraq…is not sanctioned by the United Nations, reports the newspaper. “I think Canadians are really on edge about this. I see people losing their temper. I see people feeling stressed,” says Carveth, who is also a psychotherapist. “This is inevitable when there’s so much aggression being discussed. There’s talk about bombing a country, with all kinds of collateral damage. It stimulates people’s fear of retaliation and even guilt. People know that murder is going to be unleashed. With war hanging in the air, it really stirs this up.”

Flying in the dark

Martin Shadwick, defence analyst with York’s Centre for International and Security Studies, spoke to Peter Mansbridge on “CBC News and Current Affairs” March 18 about Canada deploying its accident-prone fleet of aging Sea King helicopters in the Gulf. Shadwick said: “We have good people and they will do everything humanly possible to accomplish a mission. In so doing though, it does require pushing the envelope perhaps at times past the point which is necessarily prudent and…asking them to make very, very difficult decisions. I mean if it’s a ship that is sinking [and] you don’t have the right electronic equipment to assist in that, at what point do you in a sense pull the plug on the mission? These are very difficult decisions to confront the Sea King personnel.”

Building a healthy relationship with your computer

Internet behaviour consultant Richard Davis, a York University doctoral student, says it’s difficult to tease apart mental, spiritual and emotional health, because they are interdependent, but obviously the computer has affected the psychology of the way we work, reports The Globe and Mail March 19. “Some ways are good, like the increase in productivity which leads to increased self-efficacy and self-worth, a sense of accomplishment and increased motivation,” he says. “In addition, the PC and the Internet do lead to an increased sense of connectedness, camaraderie and social support. The ability to reach out to others via e-mail or instant messaging avails the worker of an infinite network of peers.” On the downside, there are various levels of “techno-stress”. “When we are unfamiliar with certain technologies, we may feel embarrassed, inadequate, and alone in our feelings. This leads to increased stress and depression in the workplace.”

Vardalos clan – including sister at York – goes to Hollywood

The Vardalos family is promising to be as good as that little gold statuette when they hit the Academy Awards on Sunday with nominee Nia, the Winnipeg-born creator of My Big Fat Greek Wedding, reports CP Wire March 18. “We’ll look like everyone else at the Oscars,” solemnly vows sister Marianne, who lives in Toronto where she’s doing doctoral studies in sociology at York University. “We’re just going to have a cooler.”

Professor named to Asia Pacific Foundation board

Charles McMillan, policy professor at York University’s Schulich School of Business, has been appointed to the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada board of directors, reports The Charlottetown Guardian March 19. The foundation has a mandate to provide Canadian business, public policy and academic communities with the information, analysis and networks to understand developments in Asia.

Former York officer honoured for naval service

Peter Chance, 82, of Sidney, BC, and formerly on staff at York University, is being honoured with the Admiral’s Medal for outstanding contributions to Canadian maritime affairs, reports CP Wire March 19. Lt.-Gov. Iona Campagnolo presented Chance with the medal March 19 at Government House in Victoria, BC. Chance’s navy career ended in 1969 at the rank of commander, but he immediately took up a job as executive officer at York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School.

New race relations head teaches at York

University of Guelph human rights director Patrick Case, who teaches a course on racism and law at York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School, has been appointed Chair of the Canadian Race Relations Foundation by Heritage Minister Sheila Copps, reports The Guelph Tribune March 18.

Bosses don’t get IT: study

They know successful technology projects can beef up the bottom line, but Canadian information technology managers continue to face a major hurdle: their bosses just don’t get it, reports Technology in Government March 1 about the results of a study co-authored by Ric Irving, management science professor at York University’s Schulich School of Business. “It makes sense that well managed companies manage to derive an economic benefit from investments in IT,” said Irving.”

On air

  • Stephen Newman, political science professor in York University’s Faculty of Arts, analyzed George Bush’s statement in the Azores about the USA having all the authority it needs to go to war against Iraq, on the “Peter Warren Show” (CHED-AM), Edmonton, March 16.