Seymour Schulich adds UWO to his long list of beneficiaries

All major Toronto newspapers and the London Free Press trumpeted the news April 1 that York University’s major benefactor, Seymour Schulich, has donated $26 million to the University of Western Ontario for its faculty of medicine and dentistry.

The endowment will cover skyrocketing tuition costs for 60 medical students and 50 post-graduate science students each year and should rank UWO’s medical school among the world’s most accessible, reported the Free Press. At York University, Schulich is well-regarded for more than just his largesse, noted the Free Press. “His impact has extended far beyond [his] financial donations,” said Dezsö Horváth, dean of York’s Schulich School of Business. “He has been an active and enthusiastic supporter over the years, providing invaluable advice and extending our linkages to corporate Canada.”

The Toronto Star called the gift the largest donation in history to Western and said the mining mogul has challenged other “rich guys” to follow his lead. Schulich also is rewarding good teaching, as he has at York University’s business school, because he feels teaching can get overshadowed by university emphasis on research, reported the Star.

The National Post said Western’s medical school will become part of a long list of facilities that bear the Schulich name as a result of millions in donations, including the Schulich School of Business at York University, Schulich Heart Centre at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto and the Schulich Library of Engineering and Science at McGill University.

Police ‘losing war’ on dirty money, says probe

Criminal money laundering is so pervasive and gangsters so adept at corrupting and deceiving bankers, lawyers, realtors and insurance agents that policing it seems doomed to failure, according to a detailed probe conducted for the RCMP by a York criminologist and obtained by the National Post, reported the newspaper April 1. The investigation is the most comprehensive examination of money-laundering cases ever undertaken in Canada, and resulted in a 98-page analysis of virtually every major proceeds-of-crime case solved by the RCMP over six years. The lead author of the probe, Stephen Schneider, a research associate with York’s Nathanson Centre for the Study of Organized Crime and Corruption and St. Mary’s University in Halifax, was given unprecedented access to RCMP files. “Because of their very nature, banks and similar financial service providers are highly conducive to satisfying the objectives of the laundering process,” the report says. “Deposit institutions not only serve as the ultimate destination of dirty money, they frequently constitute an integral first link in a potentially long and complicated money laundering chain; in fact, this sector represents the single largest portal for cash moving from the underground economy into the legal economy.”

Misleading impression about life at York

“I am troubled by the impression created by The CJN’s recent report on ‘anti-Israel rhetoric’ at York,” wrote Alex Pomson, the Koschitzky Family Chair of Jewish Teacher Education at York University, in a letter to the Canadian Jewish News (“Union’s anti-Israel activities draw criticism,” March 18). Pomson said he is “concerned by the impression the article creates of what life is like for Jewish students at York. I fear that in the paper’s desire to highlight the presence of anti-Zionism on campus, it overlooks the many positive ways that Jewish life at York has been energized by the present confrontation.”

“As a teacher of Jewish studies and Jewish education at York,” continued Pomson, “I can testify to a noticeable increase in the engagement of Jewish students with Jewish history and life in the university classroom. For many years, York has been home to Canada’s largest and liveliest university-level Jewish studies program. My own sense is that over the last couple of years, Jewish students have flocked to our courses so as better to prepare themselves for the struggles they face elsewhere, on campus and beyond. The best universities offer students a preparation for life. I believe that at York, we are seeing the forging of a new generation of Jewish leadership in a context where, unlike in many other public institutions, a sophisticated network of support is available. This development may feel painful and may sometimes take place in uncomfortable circumstances, but its value and importance should not be underestimated.”

Police will honour truth in anti-Semitism investigation

Rachel Turkienicz, a professor with York’s Centre for Jewish Studies and a member of the Canadian Jewish Congress, said she’s confident that police will uphold talmudic principles of truth, justice and peace in their work, reported Canadian Jewish News April 1 in a story about the recent displays of anti-Semitism.

York lifts suspension of Hillel and SPHR activities

York University has lifted its one-week suspension on the activities of Hillel and Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights (SPHR), reported Canadian Jewish News April 1. A third student organization, Generations, a Zionist outreach group at York, has also had its privileges restored, said CJN. The suspensions, which barred the groups from hosting events and activities on campus, were imposed after separate March 16 protests led to clashes between the groups in York’s Vari Hall. Last week, Zac Kaye, the executive director of Hillel of Greater Toronto, and Martin Lockshin, director of York’s Centre for Jewish Studies, met with Bonnie Neuman, vice-president students, and Richard Fisher, York’s chief communications officer, in an attempt to resolve the matter. York spokesperson Nancy White said the University is still investigating the incident, reported CJN.

On air

  • Hanadi Loubani, a PhD candidate at York University, discussed the future of the Palestinian resistance following the killing of Hamas founder Sheikh Yassin,on CBC Newsworld’s “Counterspin” March 31.
  • Lesley Jacobs, criminology professor in York’s Faculty of Arts, talked about the kidnapping and murder of Cecilia Zhang, on Report On Business TV’s “Michael Vaughan Live” March 30.
  • Alan Hutchinson, professor at York’s Osgoode Hall Law School, discussed vacancies on the Supreme Court and how justices are appointed, in a CBC Radio item aired March 31 on “Ottawa Morning.”