York student sends in the clowns

When Kedma, an international student organization, initially approached York first-year history student Shira Stanleigh to coordinate its health projects during a year abroad in Israel, she thought of blood drives and bone marrow donor recruitment, not medical clowning, she wrote in the Canadian Jewish News Feb. 23. “‘You’re kidding, right?’ I asked. ‘You expect a bunch of recently graduated 18-year-olds to agree to dress up in brightly mismatched, oversized attire, strap on a clown-nose, smear pink blush on their cheeks, and ultimately believe that they’re doing all this to benefit humanity?’ I guess even the coolest post-adolescent sometimes yearns to periodically have social permission to be silly. And there was a popular appeal, mostly a derivative of the film Patch Adams. After some 10 hours of rigorous training and endless visits to clown supply stores, 60 new clowns were ready to hit the wards. The children’s hospital wards in Israel are filled with a varied demographic of the Israeli population. From haredi to Arab children, the spectrum is vast. Despite the differences in personal background, all the kids I saw seemed to have the same response to the clowns – unrestrained joy,” she wrote.

Ryerson’s new president earned his stripes at York

The turning point in Sheldon Levy’s life as an academic occurred shortly after he started teaching mathematics and computer science at York University, his alma mater, in 1973, reported the Canadian Jewish News Feb. 23 in a profile of Ryerson University’s new president. “The story is that the dean of the faculty of arts was looking for someone to help put his budget on this newfangled apparatus called a computer,” explained Levy, who holds an MA in mathematics. “I was interested in technology, so I had a bit of skill to offer. Or maybe I just didn’t know enough to be reluctant to try. The rest is history. I kept teaching, but it was soon pretty evident that there would not be enough time to do both.” Thanks to his talents, Levy rose quickly in the ranks as an administrator. At York, Levy managed a budget of $700 million, oversaw a building program that yielded a sports stadium and a sportsplex, restructured all academic and administrative systems and upgraded its computer infrastructure.

On air

  • Gordon Kirke, an adjunct professor of entertainment and sports law at York’s Osgoode Hall Law School, discussed whether the ongoing fight between Todd Bertuzzi and Steve Moore over an assault charge could have implications for the big league of hockey, on CBC Radio’s “Morning North” in Sudbury Feb. 22.