Keeping watch on UN blunders

In an article for The Wall Street Journal April 28, Anne Bayefsky, political science professor in York’s Faculty of Arts and a member of the governing board of UN Watch, wrote from Geneva that US-UN relations seem “impossibly complex given the Security Council debacle both before and after the war with Iraq. They can be reduced, however, to a central issue: shared values. The UN Charter is rooted in the essential principles of equality among human beings and nations. The 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights spells out universal human rights standards. The US, as a founding member, understood those human-rights principles to be consistent with American values. The UN’s Iraq fiasco demands an answer to the unambiguous question of how UN bodies have performed against those fixed and indispensable principles. Is it still true that Americans can anticipate a common core agenda? With the conclusion last week of the UN Commission on Human Rights annual session, the record speaks for itself.”

“Reel” summer jobs for students

Want to work on the same film set as Michael Douglas, Mandy Moore or Meg Ryan? If so, suggests the Toronto Sun April 30, you might consider being a film extra like York student Jeremy Durgana. Thousands of people work as “background performers,” as they are officially called, on more than 200 movies and TV series shot each year in Toronto. “You have a chance to meet other people, look at what goes on behind the scenes and see what it’s really like,” said 23-year-old Durgana, who is studying computer science. Durgana started doing part-time extra work after he made a short film for a school project.

Universities can meet needs of double cohort

Ontario universities will be able to accommodate every qualified double cohort student, the province’s university presidents will announce on Friday, the National Post reported April 30. The newspaper said it learned that university administrators have confirmed among themselves that last-minute funding from the province will be enough to meet the demands of September’s massive freshman class. University presidents will inform Dianne Cunningham, Ontario’s Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, at a meeting on Friday at the University of Toronto. For general arts and sciences programs, officials at McMaster, York and the University of Western Ontario are estimating admission standards will increase by 1 per cent to 3 per cent. The exception is health sciences, especially biology and kinesiology degrees, which are tremendously popular this year and could see considerably higher mark increases, said the Post. Sheila Embleton, vice-president academic at York, said it is difficult to say at this point whether a spike in marks in some programs is the result of the double cohort or the general upward trend in demand for a university education. In either case, Embleton doubted the numbers will return to what they were several years ago.