York University okays new student council

York University is recognizing the results of a November election for a new student council, reported the Toronto Star and the National Post Jan. 15. A group that campaigned on the platform of “Progress Not Politics” swept the election Nov. 27, reported the newspapers, but the York Federation of Students argued that PNP used unethical campaigning practices, including overspending, and refused to recognize the vote. A Dec. 4 hearing by an elections committee cleared the group of any wrongdoing, but the federation did not accept that decision.

On Jan. 12, reported the Post, the student council attempted to revisit the conflict, but the meeting broke down after the speaker attempted to prevent any student with a conflict of interest from voting. The students could not decide who was eligible to vote. They also agreed to ignore a campus by-law stating all decisions made by the elections committee were final, the Post said.

“The current process for resolving this dispute has fallen short of University standards for a responsible, orderly and democratic transition of student government,” Bonnie Neuman, York’s vice-president students, told the Post.

“The outgoing council has got to realize that they lost,” incoming president Paul Cooper told the Star. “I look forward to taking office and I just hope that they will do the right thing and recognize the vote of York students and allow the transition to occur.” Mike Novak, federation president, said the council will not hand over its offices until the vote has been ratified, which he says has still not happened, reported the Star.

Belinda Stronach studied at York for one year

Belinda Stronach’s bid for the leadership of the new Conservative Party of Canada made headlines across the country Jan. 15. Bios of this wealthy newcomer to national politics, carried by CanWest News Service and Canadian Press, said she attended York University for one year. Stronach, president and CEO of Aurora, Ont.-based Magna International Inc., completed seven courses that were mainly in the arts during 1985.

Leaf board to mull over Argos stake

The future of a proposed Maple Leaf Sports/Toronto Argonauts relationship could be decided as soon as Monday, reported the Toronto Star Jan. 15. Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment president Richard Peddie said the idea of MLSE obtaining a share of the Argos and building a new football/soccer stadium at the University of Toronto is on the agenda at Monday’s meeting of the MLSE board. Toronto Argonaut co-owners David Cynamon and Howard Sokolowski have said they like the idea of working with the Leafs but aren’t wedded to the idea. They also have said they prefer York University, even if it means building the stadium without the help of MLSE and its deep pockets, said the Star.

“The demographics of the Argos are better suited to York than to any other location,” Bud Purves, president of York University Development Corp., told the Star. “York is in the middle of a tremendous growth area, near Highway 407 and Highway 400 and Highway 7. And there are more entertainment and restaurant spaces in the Vaughan/Woodbridge corridor than Bloor Street has ever seen. I enjoy going to Bloor to shop for expensive little knick-knacks, but I don’t know how you would get 30,000 fans there on a Saturday afternoon.”

In a similar news story Jan. 15, The Globe and Mail said the Argos owners have not yet agreed to the U of T project and have said that they are still interested in building a stadium at York University. However, the Globe added, sources say they will likely agree to the plan if MLSE goes ahead.

Canada could star on Mars, experts say

Space researchers and enthusiasts, including York’s Norbert Bartel, say Canada’s expertise and ambitions could dovetail nicely with US President George W. Bush’s plans for using a lunar base as a launch pad for a manned Mars mission, reported The Globe and Mail Jan. 15. Bartel, professor with York University’s Centre for Research in Earth & Space Science, said he is skeptical that Bush’s proposal will surmount political and financial hurdles. “His father [former president George Bush] also suggested something like that and it went nowhere. These are huge expenses.” But Bartel said the push to Mars is exciting for Canada. “We have quite a good scientific environment in which we could build robots that go to Mars, and not just orbit Mars but land, perhaps on the polar caps.”

Brendan Quine, space scientist with York University’s Faculty of Pure & Applied Science, also discussed the impact of US President George W. Bush’s bold new space plan on the Canadian Space Agency, on CBC TV’s “The National” Jan. 14. He said, “We have the Canadian industry and science to mount our own missions. By mounting our own missions, that means more of the technology comes back to Canada.”

Instructor fired for relationship with student

The case of an Algonquin College instructor who was fired for having sex with an adult student has focused attention on the controversial issue of romances between teachers and students, reported the Ottawa Citizen Jan.15. It said the line is clear for Shirley Katz, a humanities professor in York’s Faculty of Arts and a former associate dean at York. “For me personally, such relationships are always and without exception out of the question,” she wrote in an academic article published four years ago. “I don’t think it’s professional or ethical to have a relationship with a student you are currently teaching, or even with any student currently at your university. Institutionally, however, I don’t believe the university should censor or prohibit such relationships, even if it were legally possible to do so.”

Giant hopes in volleyball

York grad Richard Van Huizen, a six-foot-eight, über-hunk volleyball star from Langley, BC, figures to leave a large imprint on the Fédération Internationale de Volleyball World Tour (FIVB) this season, reported CanWest News Service Jan. 15. With size 16 feet and hands that resemble catchers’ mitts, Van Huizen is a spectacle. A convert to the two-against-two version of v-ball played on sand, he carries a resume of indoor experience from high school in St. Catharines to York University in Toronto – where he graduated in 1998 with an honours BA in psychology and sociology – to Apeldoorn, Holland, where he played professional volleyball for two years.

Playwright and York alum visits Saskatoon

The Leader-Post in Regina profiled, on Jan. 15, award-winning playwright and York graduate Daniel David Moses, in town for the Playwrights Reading Series. Playwright and poet, editor and essayist, Moses is a registered Delaware Indian from the Six Nations (Iroquois) Reserve in southern Ontario. He earned a bachelor of fine arts from York University in 1975 and went on to the University of British Columbia. Although he is based in Toronto, he spends a good deal of his time in Kingston, where he teaches at Queen’s University, reported The Leader-Post.

On air

  • Ian Greene, political science professor with York’s Faculty of Arts, talked about Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty’s plan to consult citizens’ juries to determine spending priorities in light of the huge budget deficit, on CBC Radio’s “Ontario Today” Jan. 14.