Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty visits York’s Glendon campus

Both the Toronto Star and The Globe and Mail highlighted the visit by Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty to York’s Glendon campus on Tuesday. The Nov. 30 stories outlined a new Ontario rule that compels colleges and universities to “show us your plans before we show you the money.”

“It’s very easy to put money out the door, but how do you ensure we are getting value in return for those new dollars?” said McGuinty Tuesday at a press conference at York’s Glendon campus. “These new ‘accountability agreements’ are designed to ensure that we’re getting something in return for those investments.”

Shamini Selvaratnam, vice-president of the York Federation of Students and a fourth-year sociology student, told the Globe that more professors are needed to help reduce class sizes. She has been in classes with as many as 500 students. Selvaratnam added that while the government is trying to improve the quality of education, “making education accessible is equally important.” Students are enjoying the last year of a two-year tuition freeze.

  • Sheila Embleton, York’s VP academic, was interviewed about the province’s new funding on “A-Channel News at 6” on Barrie’s CKVR-TV Nov. 29.

High schools rife with sex harassment

Three-quarters of high-school students who participated in a bullying survey said they had been sexually harassed at least once by their peers, as the taunts and jeers of schoolyard tormentors take on a sexualized tone in adolescence, reported the National Post, The Toronto Sun and newspapers from Montreal to Vancouver Nov. 30. The survey of 3,000 youths in eight high schools in Toronto, Kingston and Montreal was conducted by psychology professors at York University and Kingston’s Queen’s University. The type of behaviour ranged from unwanted sexual remarks and sexual jokes to comments about someone’s appearance. Brushing up against classmates in a sexual way and sexual rumours spread by Internet messaging were also reported by the students. The survey didn’t ask whether the harassment happened in school.

The study’s lead researcher Jennifer Connolly, a psychology professor in York’s Faculty of Arts, said that while incidents involving the classic schoolyard bully who pushes weaker children around declines in high school, adolescents learn how to wield power over their peers in other ways. This new form of bullying tends to be very sexualized in the higher grades, the researchers argue, and often results in sexually charged language being used in school corridors.

The difficulty is that adults don’t have a clear sense of what’s appropriate behaviour and what’s not, Connolly said. Are these young people imitating what they hear, feeling their way through relationships or have they crossed the line? I think we’re uncertain as to how to respond to it,” she said. “Youths themselves just dismiss it as just the way people talk to each other. They would never say it’s sexual harassment, they would say ‘get a life.’ ”

Still, Connolly noted that if 75 per cent of employees in a workplace reported they were being sexually harassed, “it simply wouldn’t be allowed.”

  • Connolly, director of York’s Lamarsh Centre for Research on Violence & Conflict Resolution, discussed the study on CBC Radio’s “Here and Now” Nov. 29.
  • City-tv’s “CityNews at Six” also reported the results of the study Nov. 29.

Goodale’s comment should not affect Black hearing

In an exchange between Finance Minister Ralph Goodale and Conservative MP Jason Kenney in the House of Commons Monday, Goodale said, “I do not think I need to take any lessons from a member of this House who believes his patron saint is Conrad Black,” reported the Toronto Star Nov. 30. The finance minister was responding to a comment by Kenney about Opposition demands for a probe into whether there was a leak of last week’s dividend tax cut announcement. It raises the question: Should MPs discuss an ongoing criminal case in the House of Commons? Had Goodale’s statement been made by a US official, it might have been more worrisome, said Alan Young, professor at York’s Osgoode Hall Law School. Even then, the comments were just “a fairly childish exchange,” said the professor. “Except for the slightest innuendo, it was an off-hand comment that will have no effect on Black’s extradition hearing or his reputation.”

12 York grads among Top 40 Under 40 in-house lawyers

The National Post published its list of Top 40: In-house lawyers 40 and under, on Nov. 30. They defy stereotypes, rewriting the career description in a fundamental way to adapt to an increasingly slippery and complex corporate and regulatory slope. They are a unique hybrid that is part lawyer, part business leader and, in some cases, part entrepreneur. Take George McClean, who was torn over what he found most absorbing in his joint LLB-MBA studies at York’s Osgoode Hall Law School. So he did both and graduated with an LLB/MBA in 1994. After articling at Osler Hoskin & Harcourt, he joined General Motors of Canada as an in-house counsel. “I am really a hybrid,” McClean said. And that was before he jumped to a new career track as the director of fleet and commercial sales at GM Canada.

Other Osgoode alumni included in the Post’s top 40 in-house lawyers are Stephen Bodley (LLB ’93), 38, VP and assistant general counsel, Direct Energy; Norie Campbell (LLB ’92, LLM ’00), 34, VP and special assistant, Office of the President and CEO, TD Bank Financial; Denise Cooper (LLB ’90), 38, VP, business and legal affairs, general counsel and secretary, CHUM Ltd.; Richard Crofts (LLB/MBA ’98), 33, executive VP, corporate development, general counsel and secretary, MI Developments Inc.; Joseph Freedman (LLB/MBA ’94), 37, senior VP and general counsel, Brookfield Asset Management Inc.; Emily Jelich (LLB ’90), 39, assistant general counsel, Royal Bank Financial Group; Stephania Luciuk (LLB ’96), 32, legal counsel, Imperial Oil Ltd.; Patrick McGrade (LLB ’90), 40, VP, legal affairs and corporate secretary, GlaxoSmithKline Inc.; Cynthia Mintz (LLM ’02), 36, legal counsel, Transalta Corp.; Robert Richardson (LLB ’91), 40, VP and associate general counsel, CIBC World Markets Group; John Tobia (LLB ’94), 39, VP and legal and general counsel, Aastra Technologies Ltd.

On air

  • James McKellar, professor of real property at York’s Schulich School of Business, talked about whether the Ontario real estate market is a bubble about to burst, on CBC Radio’s “Ontario Today” Nov. 29.
  • David Etkin, coordinator of York’s Emergency Management Program at Atkinson’s School of Administrative Studies, discussed the preparedness focus of a new emergency and disaster management course, on the “Ted Woloshyn Show” on Toronto’s CFRB-AM Nov. 29.
  • News that the Toronto Transit Commission voted officially to build a subway line to York was reported Nov. 29 on “AM640 Morning News” on Toronto’s CFMJ-AM; “A-Channel News” on Barrie’s CKVR-TV; and “Evening NewsFlow” on Toronto’s CP24-TV.