York U goes for ‘grand slam’ in brand marketing

In the cutthroat world of brand marketing, York University is trying for a grand slam, began an Aug. 9 story in the Toronto Star. A breezy TV ad – with one simple, blinking logo set to the sounds of a tennis match – shows the world that York is hosting the women’s tennis championship. But in the competitive world of higher learning, the 30-second spot also boosts brand recognition for Canada’s third-largest campus. “Universities are a fiercely competitive market – we’re in the market for students. We’re in the market for faculty. We’re in the market for research dollars,” said York’s Chief Communications Officer, Richard Fisher. The new ad helps carry York’s branding message, he said, a message that York is a cutting-edge campus, not some ivy-draped retreat. “We’re involved in the space program,” Fisher said. “We’re breaking new ground in research.”

Strong coverage for tournament amid shrinking field

The first weekend of the nine-day, $1.8-million Rogers AT&T Cup tennis tournament at York University gained extensive radio, television and newspaper coverage. Outside of pure sports commentary, The Toronto Sun covered a reception featuring former tennis champ Martina Navratilova Aug. 11, while the Toronto Star profiled Sonya Jeyaseelan, the Torontonian in the Aug. 10 qualifying rounds. But the biggest story at the start of the tournament was, inevitably, the roster of no-shows. During the weekend, No. 7-ranked Jennifer Capriati of the US withdrew with a shoulder injury, reported wire services and major media across the country. Over the last few weeks several other tennis superstars have pulled out of the event, including sisters Venus and Serena Williams and Monica Seles, due to injuries.

Relaxation music not so relaxing in traffic jams

That New Age “relaxation” music with the sounds of seashores and chirpy birds doesn’t actually relax angry drivers, a new study by York University psychology researchers shows, reported CanWest News Service Aug. 8. It makes them angrier. The study of commuters who take Toronto’s congested Highway 401 shows that potential road-ragers, and even relatively calm commuters, are better off learning yoga-style deep breathing exercises. “Deep breathing may be the single, most effective, yet simple, tool available in the quest for stress management and its ease of use is a major advantage,” the authors found. The study, by York University’s Professor David Wiesenthal and alumna Fiorella Lubertacci (BA Hons. ’02), and Dwight Hennessy of Buffalo State College, was presented Aug. 8 at the American Psychological Association’s conference in Toronto.

Public tolerance not reflected in pot-possession charges

During a decade when Canadians grew increasingly tolerant of marijuana use, the number of simple possession charges more than doubled according to Statistics Canada, reported The Globe and Mail Aug. 11. Before spring, when a series of court decisions effectively obliterated marijuana-possession laws, the Crown “always maintained that they are approaching marijuana with increased tolerance and leniency, but the numbers undercut that completely,” said Alan Young, a professor at York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School who represents people who want increased access to the drug. “The only major [criminal] law-reform measure on the table right now in terms of changing existing law is marijuana decriminalization. Yet it is one of the only offences that has consistently been increasing over the past 10 years.”

An intrusion into legislature’s duties

Political scientist David J. Baugh cited Peter Hogg, former dean of Osgoode Hall Law School, in a Red Deer Express opinion piece Aug. 9 about courts rewriting law. Baugh said procedures normally followed when the Charter of Rights is used to challenge laws were not used when courts launched the homosexual revolution. He said “reading in” was used, where a court not only strikes down a law, it rewrites it. Hogg, wrote Baugh, calls reading in “a serious intrusion” into duties of the legislature.

School bullies need help from parents

That teachers are unaware of bullying incidents comes as no surprise to Debra Pepler of the LaMarsh Centre for Research on Violence & Conflict Resolution at York University, and Wendy Craig of the Department of Psychology at Queen’s University, reported the National Post Aug. 11 in the first of a two-part series on school bullying. The co-authors of a research paper, “Making a Difference in Bullying,” found teachers intervene in only 14 per cent of classroom episodes of bullying and only four per cent of playground incidents.

On air

  • Allan Carswell, York University space scientist and chairman of Optech Incorporated, who heads a Canadian team of researchers in the US-led Phoenix mission to Mars, talked about the device that will be used on the mission, on CP24-TV, Toronto, Aug. 10 and CKWS-TV, Kingston, Aug. 6.
  • Kyoto and Sprawl: Building Cities That Work, a conference that took place in July at York University’s Glendon College, received coverage on CPAC-TV, Ottawa, Aug. 7.
  • “Citypulse Tonight” (CITY-TV), Toronto, interviewed a basketball fan at an annual basketball tournament Aug. 10 at York University.