York connects to high-speed network

Ontario universities have been given almost $6 million to connect to each other via a province-wide, high-speed, fibre-optic research network known as the Ontario Research and Innovation Optical Network (ORION), notes the Globe and Mail in an April 28 story. York is a key player in ORION. “At York University, collaboration in research and education have long been the norm, and increasingly we are seeing network connectivity as being integral to these initiatives,” said Bob Gagne, York’s chief information officer and executive director of information technology, in an April 28 Canada News-Wire release. The network will eventually link Ontario’s 43 postsecondary institutions and more than 50 publicly funded research institutions and organizations.

Innocence Project stretches students

The students involved in the Innocence Project at York’s Osgoode Hall Law School “learn how to be determined and how to solve difficult problems,” says Dianne Martin, who co-founded the project to help the wrongfully convicted. “The problems facing someone claiming a wrongful conviction are overwhelming. There’s no right to disclosure. No one believes you. So the task is daunting. But all lawyers need to learn how to struggle with a difficult task. Any lawyer can handle an easy problem,” she told writer Sheldon Gordon for a story on the project in the May issue of University Affairs.

York grad is disabled and glad of it

“If I were to be cured of cerebral palsy, for me it would be like having a sex change. I’d have to start all over again and quite frankly, I like my life,” says York grad and Nanaimo educator Norman Kunc. He has cerebral palsy and claims he wouldn’t have it any other way – despite the abnormal speech and movements – reported the Victoria Times Colonist April 29. Kunc, writing about his disability on his Web site, observes: “Many non-disabled people fall into a variation of penis envy. They automatically think that all disabled people want to become non-disabled, just as Freud believed that all women really wanted to be men.”  As well as having a BA from York, Kunc earned a master’s degree in family therapy from the University of Guelph. He is an outspoken advocate for social justice and will give the keynote speech May 2 at the “It Takes a Village” conference in Victoria.

On air

Patrick Legris, of York’s Office of Student Affairs, spoke on CBC’s “Sounds like Canada” April 25 on how openness to religion at York has made students more open. He was responding to reports that Montreal’s L’école de technologie supérieure does not want to give its Muslim students a place to pray on campus. At York during a typical school week about 300-400 Muslims come to pray on campus each day, Legris said.

  • Michael Mandel, professor at York’s Osgoode Hall Law School, spoke on “Radio Active” (CBX-AM), Edmonton, April 25 on whether the United States invasion of Iraq was an illegal act of aggression.
  • Michaela Hynie, social psychology professor in York’s Atkinson Faculty of Liberal & Professional Studies, spoke on CTV’s “Canada AM” April 25 about how SARS is affecting normally polite Canadians in their daily social interactions.
  • Erich Weingartner, research fellow with York’s Centre for International and Security Studies, was interviewed April 25 on the “Al Stafford Show,” a radio call-in show on 630 CHED Radio, Edmonton, on the latest revelations by North Korea about their nuclear weapons program at the US-North Korea talks in Beijing hosted by China last week.