Pat Bradshaw, a professor at York University’s Schulich School of Business, says that unlike the students she taught 20 years ago, who accepted bottom-line economic models without question, her students today represent the new profile of business grads, reported the Toronto Star March 15. “Today’s students are more socially conscious, more sophisticated. They recognize the old models benefited shareholders and had been constructed to give advantages to certain groups of people.” And regarding ethics, she says students are now critical about scandals such as the recent Boeing case, which saw CEO Harry Stonecipher dismissed after an affair with a junior executive. “We ask them to think critically – ‘Maybe I shouldn’t be having an affair when I’m in a senior position that’s espousing ethical behaviour.’ We need to take new perspectives on gender issues, ethics and power politics. There’s a whole change happening.”
Dershowitz says some academics are ‘a barrier to peace’
University classrooms have become unfriendly places for pro-Israel students, says high-profile American lawyer Alan Dershowitz, reported the Toronto Star March 15, the day after he spoke at the University of Toronto and York University. Dershowitz – a celebrity lawyer whose clients include murder suspects O.J. Simpson and Claus von Bulow; a civil libertarian accused of advocating torture; and a Harvard law professor who has turned to political writing – is no stranger to controversy. A staunch defender of Israel, he is now travelling in the US, Canada and Europe to express concern about “how some extreme anti-Israel academics actually have become a barrier to peace.” Two lectures at the University of Toronto and York University this week are part of that campaign.
Although Dershowitz’s views on Israel have been heckled on occasion, it’s his post-Sept. 11 suggestion that terrorism suspects could, in cases of extreme urgency, be tortured under a special warrant that has won him most outrage. But, he insists, “I’m against torture. I’d like to see no torture ever used. But most countries would use torture in a ‘ticking bomb’ case (where it could stop an imminent terrorist attack). So why not let the president of the United States personally authorize it, and let us know that he has authorized it? Getting it in writing is the best protection you could have against abuses.” The Abu Ghraib prison scandal in Iraq, in which prisoners were humiliated and abused by US forces, was an example of out-of-control rights violations, Dershowitz added. “Abu Ghraib is the perfect model of everything I am against. It was torture without authorization, without a good reason, and without a ticking bomb. It became routinized, and it was absolutely wrong.”
Post-market surveillance of drugs inadequate, reveals study
A study of drugs withdrawn from the Canadian market over the last four decades uncovers some worrisome facts – and some surprising gaps in regulatory information, a commentary published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal suggests, reported Canadian Press March 15. Health Canada doesn’t keep a list of drugs removed from the market for safety reasons, nor is there clear information on what should trigger a safety withdrawal, said author Dr. Joel Lexchin, a long-term critic of the pharmaceutical industry. The lack of information underscores how little attention is paid to monitoring drug safety after a product is approved for sale in this country, Lexchin said. “We have no good mechanisms for looking at the safety of drugs once they hit the mass market,” said Lexchin, a professor at York University’s Atkinson School of Health Policy & Management. “And maybe the products are safe, or relatively safe. Maybe they’re not. We don’t know. And that should disturb us all.”
Free transit passes are a bad idea
“In the recent federal budget, Finance Minister Ralph Goodale gave notice that he is considering the idea of allowing employers to provide transit passes as a non-taxable benefit for workers in order to assist Canada in meeting Kyoto targets,” wrote Antonio Di Domenico, a student at York’s Osgoode Hall Law School, in a Toronto Star opinion piece March 15. “Beneath its superficial appeal, lie a host of problems with this idea,” he argued. “Proponents argue the tax-free pass would encourage a modal shift by commuters from personal vehicles to public transit and thereby decrease greenhouse gas emissions. Unfortunately, there is little evidence the transit pass would advance these goals,” he wrote. “And its costs in terms of forgone revenue and its inequitable effects on different taxpayers render it a poor policy choice.”
Surf the net in the waiting room
A hospital waiting room can be an anxiety attack in the making for worried friends and kin with little more to do than pace the halls, thumb through old magazines or simply stare at the clock, began a National Post feature March 15. But relief is now as easy as the toss of a coin, thanks to a couple of local entrepreneurs whose business is placing fee-based Web-browsing stations in hospitals. “It’s a vending machine but it’s interactive,” says Daniel Pustil, co-founder with Lee Kaufman (MBA ’00), of While You Wait, which installs the Internet Access Kiosks. “Instead of going for a Coke when you’re thirsty, you go online when you’re bored.”
- Daniel Drache, associate director at York’s Robarts Centre for Canadian Studies and author of Borders Matter: Homeland Security and the Search for North America, discussed a report issued Monday calling for a shared North American security perimeter, in an interview aired on CBC Radio’s “Here and Now” in Toronto and “All in a Day” in Ottawa March 14.