Polite-ical Science 101

What do you do at a dinner party if you drop your cutlery on the floor or spill a glass of wine? These are but a few questions posed by students who have embraced a new etiquette program at York University, reported Canadian Press April 18 in a story subsequently published in regional newspapers across Canada. “These days there are more employer-hosted recruitment activities than ever before,” said Farheen Rashid, the career programs coordinator for the popular etiquette series which was launched last fall by York’s Career Centre. These include cocktail receptions, luncheons and social networking events, she added.

“The feedback we get from the business community has been that more and more recruiters are looking at the personal interactions and social skills of these potential employees, not just their transcripts and interviews.” For a student in the job interviewing process, there’s enough to worry about in saying the right thing to a potential employer, without also having to find the right comfort level about which fork to use at lunch or how to hold a wine glass, she explained. “The impression I was getting was that the students just weren’t sure they were doing it right because they hadn’t been in enough situations where it was required that the rules or guidelines of etiquette be observed,” said Rashid, who designs and delivers programs, services and workshops around career development.

Another reason so many students give for attending the seminars is that in this era of hectic schedules they have not had the same experience of communal meals with family and friends as in the past.

Although the seminars have attracted enrolment from all ages and faculties on campus, Rashid found that there was particularly strong interest from York’s international students. “They are keen to know what differences there are between business etiquette practices in Canada as compared with those of their home countries.”

The story appeared April 20 in The Ottawa Sun, Prince George Citizen, The Chatham Daily News, Cornerbrook’s Western Star, The Standard in St. Catharines-Niagara, The London Free Press, and The Leader-Post in Regina.

Strip board of all censorship powers

Joy Cohnstaedt, professor emerita in York’s Faculty of Fine Arts, wrote the following letter published April 20 in the Toronto Star: “In 1972, Manitoba revoked the ability of its then Censor Board to edit or ban films. The board could only classify films. But despite this decision, according to Ontario Justice Russell Juriansz, Manitobans have not been exposed to more harmful films than have Ontarians. Overlooked is the fact that prints shown in Manitoba, having first been reviewed in Ontario, are likely the same censored prints Ontarians see. To test the assumption that no harm is done by relying on a classification system without censorship, Ontario should follow the lead of Manitoba and say ‘no’ to the Ontario Film Review Board retaining any censorship powers.”

On air

  • Gordon Flett, Canada Research Chair in Personality & Health and psychology professor in York’s Faculty of Arts, talked about a new study that shows a majority of Canadian university students do not study for exams until one week before they start, on CBC Radio’s “Morningwatch” program in Windsor April 19.
  • Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment may try to bring professional soccer to Toronto and there are reports the soccer team could share facilities with the Toronto Argonauts at York University, reported Global TV’s “Sportsline” April 19.