Law registration rises despite tuition fee increases

Dean Patrick Monahan confirmed that registration at York’s Osgoode Hall Law School is on the rise despite increases in tuition fees, reported the Toronto Star Nov. 10. However, citing a study commissioned by Monahan and four of the six deans of Ontario law schools, the story noted that the financial burdens are making the experience much tougher for some would-be lawyers, with black and South Asian students in particular expecting to graduate with between $40,000 and $70,000 in debt. Still, law students are far more likely than others to come from affluent, well-educated families, says the study.

The University of Toronto, which has approved the heftiest tuition increases in Ontario, did not participate in commissioning the report, which was funded by the Law Society of Upper Canada and the Law Foundation of Ontario. “I do think it is reassuring in the sense that, the kind of criticism that has been made and which, quite frankly, led to this study, has not been consistent with the evidence,” said Monahan. “What we see is that rising tuition is consistent with increasing access rather than reducing it…. Our applications are up by 20 per cent.” A law school’s reputation, location and programs – not tuition fees – are the biggest factors in whether a student will decide to apply, the study found. But Sarah Dover, a third-year Osgoode student and member of the Osgoode Law Activists’ Association, said the report “encapsulates what law school is about today, namely, declining diversity, increasing dependence on financial institutions and increasing advantage to the already advantaged.”

Response to Mississauga train derailment became a model

The emergency evacuation of 240,000 people from Mississauga due to a massive train derailment brought the five-year-old city together, said the Toronto Star, in a story published Nov. 10, the 25th anniversary of the 1979 catastrophe. When the train derailed, igniting a massive fireball that lit up the night sky and threatened to poison the atmosphere, the community immediately began a massive, orderly evacuation – the largest in peacetime. While it was later learned the inferno had actually consumed most of the train’s caustic cargo, the evacuation was considered such an accomplishment it became “almost a computer model,” said York University environmental studies Professor Peter Timmerman, who helped conduct an independent report after the derailment. Part of the evacuation’s success was timing, said Timmerman. With the accident occurring late on a Saturday night, all roads leading out of what was really a bedroom community were open, he said. Many residents had only recently moved from Toronto and still had friends there to move in with.

Judges require better corporate crime education

“Judges are in urgent need of greater education and context training about business law and the real harms caused by corporate wrongdoing,” said Poonam Puri, professor at York’s Osgoode Hall Law School, in a Nov. 10 column in the National Post. “Judicial education and social context training in Canada have historically focussed on blue-collar criminal law, family law, and Charter and equality issues. Corporate and white-collar crime has generally been ignored,” she said. The article highlighted the fact that corporate and white-collar crime is not victimless. The harms caused by corporate misconduct can result in substantial injury to a broad range of stakeholders, who can lose up to $20 billion a year in retirement savings, employment income and significant investments. Noting that the judiciary has historically treated white-collar criminal offenders more leniently in sentencing than blue-collar offenders, Puri asked readers to compare analogous crimes such as robbery and burglary to accounting fraud and embezzlement. White-collar offenders are less likely to be imprisoned, receive lower average sentences and serve less time. 

The challenge of combining junior hockey and studies

If only the life of a junior hockey player consisted simply of scoring goals, blocking shots and winning faceoffs, said The Toronto Sun Nov. 10 in a story about the Ontario Hockey League’s 15-year-old campaign to place a greater emphasis on education. Noting the huge pressures that come with trying to balance hockey and school, the story said there was no definitive answer that works for everyone. “It gets hard at times, especially when you have three games in one weekend and you have a test or a mid-term coming up,” said Brampton Battalion captain Ryan Oulahen, a first-year student taking correspondence courses through York’s Atkinson Faculty of Liberal & Professional Studies. “I try to do my work before practice starts. You have to find time to study and keep your mind focussed. There are other things guys are going to want you to take part in, but you have to be disciplined.”

Schulich’s Middleton to enter Marketing Hall of Legends

The Globe and Mail reported on Nov. 10 that Alan Middleton, professor of marketing and executive director of the Schulich Executive Education Centre at York University, will be inducted into the Marketing Hall of Legends as a “mentor”. The story also mentioned Paul Alofs, president and CEO of the Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation and a graduate of the Schulich School of Business (MBA ’83), as among the dozen inaugural members who will be inducted in a ceremony on Jan. 27 in Toronto.