Kids benefit from new basketball court

“There is no question that the more community activities we have to occupy children, it will take them off the streets and it may keep them out of danger,” said Anne-Marie Ambert, a sociology professor in York’s Faculty of Arts, about the opening of a new basketball court funded by Toronto Raptor Vince Carter. “Any activity such as pools, basketball courts, playgrounds – anything – will help get them off the street,” she told the Toronto Star in a story July 10. Carter’s Embassy of Hope Foundation funded the outdoor court in Dixon Park, Toronto. “There are neighbourhoods where the crime rate is higher, and there are neighbourhoods where youth facilities are no longer necessary because the children and their families are reasonably well-to-do. Their parents who are well-employed can afford to take them to the cottage, send them off to camp or send them to day camp,” Ambert said. “Neighbourhoods which have residents of a lower income need those facilities more.”

The coming crunch in faculty

Universities are so desperate for future faculty that they’re competing fiercely for PhD students and even starting up doctoral programs in areas where they need professors, reported The Hamilton Spectator July 10. Currently, Canada has 26,000 PhD students. In 2000, just 3,800 degrees were handed out. By comparison, universities need to hire up to 40,000 professors over the next decade. “I think this is something we should all be worried about,” said Sheila Embleton, York University’s vice-president, academic.

Sociologist questions Jewish population study

One of Canada’s foremost experts on Jewish population trends is questioning how community officials have interpreted the results of the 2001 census – as well as their motives for doing so, reported Canadian Jewish News July 10. Leo Davids, a sociologist in York’s Atkinson Faculty of Liberal & Professional Studies, says Jewish federations may have artificially inflated the number of Jews in Canada “in order to make themselves look more powerful and effective.” The 2001 census found nearly 330,000 Jews by religious affiliation in Canada. It also tallied 348,605 Canadians with “Jewish” listed as one of up to four ethnic origins, even if they listed “no religion.” The two figures were blended by UIA Federations Canada (UIAFC) in its recently released National Demographic Study to show 370,520 Jews in Canada as of 2001. The study’s inclusion in its total of thousands of people with no religious affiliation but with multiple ethnic origins – at least one being Jewish – is dubious, because their ties to the community are weak, if they exist at all, suggested Davids. He estimated there are 40,000 fewer Jews in Canada than the federation’s figure.