Employers grappling with SARS policies

Should an employee be disciplined for violating a quarantine and going to work with a potentially fatal infectious disease? begins an article in the Toronto Star April 12. That question is being asked in the human resources field after a worker at Hewlett-Packard Canada Ltd., who had been exposed to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, went to work despite being asked to stay home by public health authorities. “This is an ironic twist, a stay-away-from-work policy,” said Monica Belcourt, a human resources professor with York University’s Atkinson Faculty of Liberal and Professional Studies and president of the Human Resource Professionals Association of Ontario. “My bet is human resources policies are being developed right now to deal with this for the second round or whatever infectious disease comes up next.” In the meantime, a person who has put co-workers and their families at risk will feel the cold shoulder. “I think the social isolation of this individual will continue for years and I don’t think the organization will forget it,” added Belcourt. “It’ll be extremely difficult for this individual to continue to work effectively.”

Rescue plan tabled for ‘decaying’ city

Toronto faces “threats to our prosperity because of growing income disparity, the deterioration of our inner city, a drop in tourism, decaying infrastructure and weakening of our public services,” according to a new report released April 11 by the Toronto City Summit Alliance, reported The Globe and Mail April 12. York University President and Vice-Chancellor Lorna R. Marsden is a member of the alliance, a high-powered group of 40 leaders covering a spectrum of business, labour, social and cultural interests. The plan was also covered extensively in the Toronto Star.

Saddam and Saladin

In reporting on Tikrit – birthplace, power base and possible final refuge of  Iraqi President Saddam Hussein – the Kingston Whig-Standard on April 12 quoted Thabit Abdullah, a history professor in York University’s Faculty of Arts. “In Tikrit, a city to the north of Baghdad, a small museum was also hit,” Abdullah said in a March 23 dispatch from Damascus posted on the University’s Web site. “This modest museum is dedicated to Salah al-Din al-Ayyubi, known in the West as Saladin, the great Muslim commander who defeated the Crusaders in the late 12th century and reclaimed Jerusalem. Need the Arabs and Muslims any further proof that [US President George W.] Bush is some sort of fanatical latter-day Crusader?”

US connection provokes Cuba

Many reformers recently imprisoned by the Cuban government had lately taken to meeting in questionable locations, such as at the official residence in Havana of James Cason, chief of the US Interests Section, top American diplomat on the island and advocate of Cuban regime-change, according to the Toronto Star April 13. “I think that was foolishly provocative,” said Judith Hellman, a political science professor in York University’s Faculty of Arts, who has written extensively about Cuba. “Any taint of connection with the US for any group has got to be anathema to the regime.”

Going global to compete for executive MBA students

In the high-priced, increasingly competitive world of executive MBA programs, “going global” is the hot topic, as schools try to out-do each other with overseas trips, tangible business projects and cross-border partnerships that expose their students to the rigours of international commerce, reported the National Post April 14. “It’s a market where the competition seems to have significantly intensified,” said Tom Beechy, an accounting professor and executive director of international relations at York’s Schulich School of Business, which last year launched the most expensive EMBA in Canada – a two-year, $85,000 program offered jointly with the renowned Kellogg School of Management in Chicago. “The recruitment and advertising is heating up – even the people from Kellogg are amazed at the level of competition,” Beechy said.

York prof remembers myopia of a math genius

Asia Ivic Weiss, a mathematics professor in York University’s Faculty of Arts and the last PhD student of the late mathematician Harold Coxeter, describes an incident that perfectly exemplifies Coxeter’s math myopia, reported The Globe and Mail in a tribute April 12. Going into labour with her first child, Weiss called him to cancel their weekly meeting. Coxeter, considered the greatest classical geometer of his time, never acknowledged her pregnancy and said not to worry, he would send over a stack of research to keep her busy when she got home from the hospital.

On air

  • Fred Lazar, economics professor at York University’s Schulich School of Business, discussed the C.D. Howe Institute of Canada study he wrote, which said air travel in Canada could be made less costly and more flexible, on national ROB-TV and CINW-AM in Montreal April 11.
  • Dennis Raphael, health policy professor at York University’s Atkinson Faculty of Liberal and Professional Studies, said poor Canadians are less healthy than affluent Canadians because they worry more about their jobs, paying their rent and may not have the same security, on CKCO-TV, Kitchener-Waterloo, April 13.