Post leaps on Globe errors in University Report Card

The National Post and other media had a field day with high-profile errors in the Globe and Mail’s University Report Card. As the Post gleefully pointed out in a front-page story Oct. 18, the student-opinion survey published by its rival on Oct. 15 listed York University’s medical school among the top 10 in the country, even though York doesn’t have one. The report also listed non-existent medical and law schools for the University of Waterloo. As York media relations director Nancy White told the Post, “York did have some good results, but of course we don’t have a medical school.” She said York was flattered in any case, but a bit disappointed its famous law faculty, Osgoode Hall Law School, did not make the top 10 in its category. “There is an issue with the overall reliability of the survey,” she said. (The  survey, whose methodology was criticized by several schools, did not offer Osgoode as a choice; student participants saw only a drop-down Web menu of 38 universities.)

The Post followed up with an editorial on Oct. 20 entitled, “The Globe flunks out.”  It said: “How did this disaster happen? We suspect the Globe was simply too eager to jump on any concept that might provide it an advantage in Canada’s newspaper wars.” Toronto’s 680 News radio station also covered the story, using the York-was-flattered quote. On Oct. 20, the Globe published a “clarification,” noting prominently that the survey was conducted by Uthink and Strategic Counsel, and describing the mistaken listings. “While these universities were cited by students in the survey, neither school has faculties in these subjects,” said the Globe. “The errors should have been deleted from the tables.”

Get rich – not so quick

Moshe Milevsky, a professor at York’s Schulich School of Business, was cited in a Toronto Star story Oct. 18 on pricey schemes that tout overnight investment riches. “When I have someone come in [to the Individual Finance and Insurance Decisions Centre, part of the Fields Institute, a centre for mathematical research sponsored by universities and corporations] and say they have a system that will earn 50 per cent a year, I throw them out,” he said. Milevsky said he regularly offers to have graduate students test the reliability of new stock-trading systems at no charge. “Without fail, we never hear from them again,” he said.

Hidden fees creep in all over

Bernie Wolf, a professor at York’s Schulich School of Business, was quoted in the National Post Oct. 18 in a consumer watch column on how unadvertised extra fees are everywhere these days, helping companies of all stripes – banks, hotels – pass on rising costs or pad the bottom line without drawing the ire of consumers. “I really think it’s a question of marketing,” he said. “Years ago, to make something sound inexpensive, you marked it down to 99 cents instead of $1, and it created the illusion that it was much cheaper.” The trend now is to tack on fees every step of the way. The tourism sector is one of the worst offenders, said the Post.

Wolf also commented in a Hamilton Spectator article Oct. 18 on how Hamilton, one-time king of manufacturing in Canada, has tarnished a bit more of its crown with the loss of about 800 jobs at appliance maker Camco Inc. This is a further blow to the city that was once the country’s centre of production 35 years ago. “There are more shoes to drop here,” said Wolfe.

Big Pipe, hot issue

Jim Shaw, who teaches in York’s School of Kinesiology & Health Science, Faculty of Arts, was quoted in a Toronto Star story Oct. 19 on how the “Big Pipe” sewer issue has divided the village of Schomberg where some York faculty live. “The sewer really divides the community – it’s neighbour against neighbour,” said Shaw. “And all [council] seems to do is argue about sewers.” King Township Mayor Margaret Black, a graduate of York’s Osgoode Hall Law School, is currently seeking re-election and is for the pipe.