Schools should be commercial-free, says dean

The Globe and Mail on April 30 looked at companies like the Indigo bookstore chain that are pursuing partnerships with schools. Some observers say that by attaching their campaigns to popular issues such as literacy and fitness, companies like Indigo hope to establish their brand with impressionable youngsters while avoiding the backlash aimed at vendors of junk food and soda pop when they move into schools. “Ideally, I would say that schools should be a commercial‑free zone. Students are under pressure to consume elsewhere,” said Paul Axelrod, dean of York’s Faculty of Education. “The only thing they should be consuming in school is knowledge.”

Schulich cleans up

Two teams from York University’s Schulich School of Business were big winners in the Canadian National L’Oreal Brandstorm competition in Montreal last week, reported the Toronto Star May 1. Team CMI, with Issack Derchansky, Michael Yang, and Chi Zhang, took top honours, while second place went to Yongjian Chen, Marco Iannucci and Nikolas Koiou of team Trouveres. Now in its 13th year, the competition’s 2005 edition attracted hundreds of participants from more than 30 countries, including Canada, Mexico, China, Japan, Australia and Russia. Contestants were asked to develop a new international marketing strategy and increase the global market share for L’Oreal Paris’s Studio Line.

The winning team moves on to defend Canada’s title in Paris on June 20 at the international finals. Last year, a team from Schulich won first prize – 9,000 euros – for a trip of their choice. In addition, all three landed jobs at L’Oreal Paris.

 Is online activity making professors more absent‑minded?

“My research indicates that the online revolution is one of the factors dumbing down the very people we count on to preserve society’s vast stores of knowledge: university professors,” wrote Carleton’s Heather Menzies in an opinion piece May 1 in the Toronto Star. She referred to a British study that revealed that constant e-mailing reduces office workers’ IQ by as many as 10 points – more than twice the decrease in the mental abilities of someone who smokes a joint.

“I wondered as I wandered the increasingly empty and silent halls of academe, what does this mean for students,” she wrote. “The unsettling answer came from a survey of 100 professors at six universities I did with York University sociologist Janice Newson. It maps how the restructured university campus of the late 1990s has changed not just how today’s academics use their time, but how they exist in time. We learned that professors are less able to stay focused, read comprehensively and follow through on informal and professional commitments. They are more and more distracted, reacting to a multitude of demands coming at them, and less able to act on their own agenda and priorities.”

Drive-by shooting victim feels ‘blessed’ to be with family

It has been a little more than a year since the night of April 21, 2004, when Louise Russo, now 46, became the random victim of a botched, drive‑by hit and the Toronto mother of three can now track, roughly, what took place after she hit the floor, reported the Toronto Star May 2. She’s thought about it a lot. After all, who gets a peek at the Great Beyond and persuades whoever’s in charge there that, sorry, her kids need her, wondered writer Ron Csillag. One of her three kids is Steven Russo, a science student at York University who was turning 20 at the time of her shooting. Russo says, “I remember saying, ‘He’s going to be okay, but I’m still his mom.'”

Waiting for the Argos

In weekend coverage before the final decision was known, the Toronto Star reported that the Toronto Argonauts still did not have a deal with the Rogers Centre. As a result, said the paper April 30, York University has not been officially informed that the CFL club is pulling out of a proposed $70 million, 25,000‑seat stadium at the Steeles and Keele campus which was to be its new home beginning with the 2007 season. “We have nothing to report at this time,” York spokesman George McNeillie said Friday. 

  • Canadian Press reported that Canadian Soccer Association president Andy Sharpe believes a stadium will be built at York, albeit a downsized one. “I’m very confident the stadium will get sorted out. It might be a scaled‑down version, but York University is sticking with us. I see that (the stadium) happening.”
  • “I hope they go ahead with it, it would be a tremendous thing,” Vaughan Mayor Michael Di Biase told The Toronto Sun May 1. “If we can get the stadium, for the Argos or for soccer, there would be so many activities for everyone to enjoy.” Di Biase had expected to roll out some new developments north of Steeles Avenue – which touches on Vaughan – once the stadium was ready.

On air

  • Toronto1 profiled child prodigy Chen Kupperman, a 14‑year-old York University student and math whiz, and interviewed his father, Shachar, and Rob Tiffin, VP students, on “Toronto Tonight” April 29.
  • “CTV News” talked to Michelle Eisen, who started a club called K.I.D.S. Come 1st at York University, at the fourth annual Bell Walk for the Kids Help Phone, May 1.