Clarkson and Mistry add lustre to convocation coverage

Media coverage of spring convocation continued as Governor General Adrienne Clarkson and author Rohinton Mistry received honorary doctorates. Clarkson, who spoke in English and French, told the graduating class at Glendon College that Canada’s public education system is why the country has such a “successful immigrant population” and it must be preserved, reported the Toronto Star June 22. Mistry was featured in a front-page photo being gowned by environmental studies Professor Bonnie Kettel, Chair of the York University Senate, in The North York Mirror June 22. On air, CFTO-TV and OMNI.2 broadcast the news of Mistry receiving an honorary degree.

What’s in a name?

In a June 23 story about naming business schools after major donors, Janice Newson, a sociologist in York University’s Faculty of Arts and co-author of Universities for Sale, told the National Post that although such donations are “a fraction of the cost the public bears, it converts the campus into a corporate billboard. It appears as though the corporate sector is giving more than they actually are. It’s as though the donors have made all of this possible.” By contrasts, Jon Dellandrea, the University of Toronto’s vice-president of development, felt the public understood the real situation. He argued that the value-added aspect of such gifts is the ability to leverage other donations using the brand of a successful alumnus.

Can you sue the government over a mosquito bite?

Alan Hutchinson, a professor at York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School, talked to CBC News June 20 about a suit by a dozen Ontarians alleging the province failed to adequately protect them against West Nile virus. “Suing the government is difficult because there are various immunities the government can claim,” he said. “The courts haven’t been prepared to say there’s a duty owed to the public by such institutions as government.”

New pot law made in USA

“On May 27, the Canadian government introduced legislation purportedly designed to decriminalize marijuana possession….Most people seemed to miss that the government promised decriminalization but ultimately gave us nothing,” wrote Alan Young, a professor at York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School and a criminal lawyer, in the Toronto Star June 22. “All we received was a watered down version that still exposes the marijuana smoker to arrest, incarceration and the mark of Cain (i.e. the criminal record). The status quo was merely  repackaged to create the illusion of change. The government gave us a national drug strategy made in the USA.”

Marital problems are similar for same-sex couples

A study by a York University sociologist was cited in an Ottawa Citizen story June 21 about the prospects for same-sex divorce. The study, released this year by Anne Marie Ambert, of York University’s Faculty of Arts, confirms there are not a lot of gender-specific problems in a marriage. It found that tensions within relationships involved social issues, personal flaws, distrust, intimacy and power, regardless of the couple’s sexuality. The study shows that domestic abuse was equally common within lesbian, gay and heterosexual relationships and tended to involve issues of control. The CanWest News Service story also appeared in The Edmonton Journal.

York U. bursary remembers Randal Dooley

Coverage of the June 19 unveiling by York University of a portrait of abuse victim Randal Dooley and the announcement of recipients of the first Randal Dooley Memorial Bursaries included City-TV’s “Citypulse at Noon” and The North York Mirror.

Storyteller recognized by York

The Globe and Mail featured a tribute June 21 to the late Alice Kane, who was awarded a doctor of letters by York University in 1998 in recognition of her contributions as a storyteller, librarian, writer and teacher. Her family is celebrating her life and art on June 28 at 7pm at Calvin Presbyterian Church in Toronto.

On air

  • Debra Pepler, psychology professor, Faculty of Arts, talked about child bullying on Toronto’s 680 News (CFTR-AM) June 20.
  • In a piece on upcoming missions to Mars, Brendan Quine, physics and astronomy professor, York University’s Faculty of Pure & Applied Science, told CBC’s “Quirks and Quarks” June 21 that luck will determine the landing sites because we can’t really know which place is better for analysis.