Setting priorities for universities

Chancellors cannot endorse a situation that has seen Ontario slide in the last 10 years to become the lowest per capita funder of universities of any province, argued former York University chancellor Avie Bennett in a Toronto Star opinion piece Aug. 30. Bennett observed that Ontario university chancellors “welcome the current public policy focus on higher education, as symbolized by the post-secondary review now in progress under Bob Rae, which seeks to establish long-term, stable and adequate funding models for Ontario universities” and “ongoing federal government research initiatives.” And, he wrote, “every thinking person understands that governments have funding demands placed upon them that may seem almost impossible to juggle. But we cannot in good conscience endorse a situation that has seen Ontario slide in the last 10 years to become the lowest per capita funder of universities of any province in Canada: dead last, No. 10 out of 10.”

“University funding is an investment in the strength of our province, and it is an investment that pays good dividends. First of all, Ontario universities are a major contributor to the Canadian economy, currently generating revenue of more than $15 billion per year. York University alone pumped $3.4 billion into the GTA economy last year,” he argued. “They provide the leaders of tomorrow, in every field, public and private. This is why we believe priority must be given to increasing the proportion of Ontarians in university, especially in post-graduate studies. And by this we mean all Ontarians. In our opinion, a university education should remain available to all, regardless of income, based on each individual’s academic achievements and potential.”

Theatre goer extraordinaire

York grad Lynda Slotkin (BFA ’73) was profiled in a story in The Globe & Mail Aug. 28. Slotkin sees more plays than most professional theatre critics. None of this would be particularly unusual, perhaps, if Slotkin earned her living from theatrical criticism, notes the Globe writer. But outside of the four-minute review she delivers on Toronto’s CBC Radio drive-home show every fortnight, Slotkin earns no income from her criticism. If only in the original sense of the word, she is an amateur: She simply loves the theatre. She typically sees 250 plays a year. Not even New York Times critic Ben Brantley sees more.

Matter of opinion

In an opinion piece appearing in the Toronto Star Aug. 3, Steven Skurka, criminal lawyer and adjunct professor of law at York’s Osgoode Hall Law School wrote, about the upcoming trial of Kobe Bryant, the superstar basketball player charged with the rape of a hotel employee at a Vail-area resort last summer. “This is a case that has been marked by information about the case –including testimony about the complainant’s sex life from a closed-door pre-trial hearing – being released in error to several news organizations,” he noted.

Schulich Dean appointed to board to find Canada’s Outstanding CEO of the Year

Dezsö Horváth, Dean of York’s Schulich School of Business and the Tanna H. Schulich Chair in Strategic Management, was mentioned in an announcement that appeared in the National Post Aug. 30. Horváth has been appointed to Canada’s Outstanding CEO of the Year Advisory Board for 2004. 

The Caldwell Partners founded Canada’s Outstanding CEO of the Year Award in 1990. Co-sponsored by National Post and CTV, the Award recognizes the Chief Executive Officer of a private or public Canadian corporation who has been judged by his or her peers to have boosted Canada’s global competitiveness. Other important criteria include the CEO’s sense of vision, leadership, social responsibility, corporate performance and innovation.

This year’s recipient will be announced in National Post Business magazine on November 2.

Ending pain

Joel Katz, professor in the School of Kinesiology & Health Science in York’s Faculty of Arts, was quoted in the Montreal Gazette Aug. 28 in an article on curing pain before it starts. Katz says the best way to forget pain is never to learn it exists in the first place. Now, one of Canada’s leading pain researchers is working on a way to drastically reduce and possibly even eliminate post-surgery pain. Katz and his colleagues at Toronto General Hospital are conducting studies that involve injecting painkilling drugs into the spinal cord of patients before a single incision is made.The idea is to stop pain before it starts by preventing a phenomenon known as central sensitization – when neurons in the spinal cord and parts of the brain respond to signals coming up from the skin, muscle and bone. Articles on Katz’s research and work in pain also appeared in: the Windsor Star, Ottawa Citizen, Times Colonist (Victoria), National Post, Vancouver Sun, Edmonton Journal, The StarPhoenix (Saskatoon), and Toronto Star.

Defending Susan Lindauer

York Professor Parke Godfrey, from Computer Science & Engineering, Faculty of Science & Engineering, was quoted in an article in the New York Times Aug. 29 about activist Susan Lindauer who was arrested by the FBI in 2004 and charged with having acted as an unregistered agent of Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi government and otherwise having elevated the interests of a foreign country above her allegiance to the United States. Godfrey, a close friend of Lindauer’s for the last 15 years, said Lindauer warned him not to take a job at New York University the summer before the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City.

Here’s the kicker…

Kicker Geogre Chilakos, top football player for the University of Toronto Varsity Blues in 2002, has transferred to York University and is at training camp with the York Lions, reports The Toronto Sun Aug. 28.