‘Allowing Jack and John to enter the gates of marriage’

“Allowing Jack and John to enter the gates of marriage in the same way as Jack and Jill is the right thing to do,” wrote Alan Young, law professor at York’s Osgoode Hall Law School and criminal lawyer, in the Toronto Star July 6. “Our courts have now recognized this. It matters little what is the current state of public opinion.When legislatures are paralyzed by the fear that taking action may offend some potential voters, our constitution demands that the judiciary take action if necessary, in the quest to achieve equality.” 

Young was also interviewed about the rights of an accused person in a Toronto Star story July 7 on court appearances by video. Cameras are now in 51 Ontario courts to save the cost of frequently transporting prisoners between jail and court. Young said the practice of having accused people return to court frequently between the time of their arrest and a trial derives from their common-law right to have their detention reviewed.

The Massey College way

The Globe and Mail’s Michael Posner listed York University Chancellor Avie J. Bennett among prominent fellows of the University of Toronto’s Massey College, in a story July 5 about how college master John Fraser tends to invite “newly retired” luminaries into the college fold. Others include Preston Manning, Bob Rae, William Thorsell, Kenneth Whyte and Moses Znaimer, who, as college members, are expected mainly to turn up to grace college functions where academic and non-academic people mingle.

High school grads delay entering university

A York student’s experience jibes with a StatsCan study that shows four out of 10 high-school graduates delay their post-secondary education. Shamini Selvaratnam, who is entering her second year at York University in the fall, told CanWest News Service: “All of my friends moved on ahead and I couldn’t. I would have loved to go directly from high school to university and continued my education. I’m 22 and I probably would have been finished by now. It’s a sad fact.” But her family couldn’t afford the cost, and she spent three years in the workforce. “The tuition fees and the way the loans and grants are structured, they don’t affect students who can afford to pay, but they affect students like me,” she said. The National Post, The Ottawa Citizen and The Vancouver Sun carried the story in weekend editions.

York leading a major study of aboriginal strengths

Batchewana First Nation, near Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, will participate in a nationwide study led by York and Trent universities of the strengths of aboriginal communities, reported The Sault Star July 5. “We’re really getting in-depth understanding of these communities as complex systems – how they operate, what their strengths are and how those strengths interact with each other over time,” said research director Cynthia Chataway, a psychology professor in York’s Faculty of Arts, in an interview about the $600,000 project. “We’ll just communicate those learnings to other aboriginal communities in a variety of ways and then let them decide what they want to try or what gives them ideas for what they want to do in their own community.”