Gretzky’s still a marketing champ for Roots

Amid a gambling scandal that has touched several people close to Wayne Gretzky, retailer Roots Canada has given the legendary Canadian hockey player a vote of confidence. Roots announced it has signed a multi-year marketing deal with Gretzky to promote a new line of clothing in its stores, reported the Toronto Star Feb. 16. Gretzky’s image is likely to emerge unscathed, said Alan Middleton, a marketing professor at York’s Schulich School of Business, mainly because he hasn’t been accused of anything. “Can icons be damaged? Yes. But we give them a lot of forgiveness,” Middleton said.

Faculty urges donations to save Kogawa’s old home

By the end of March, Canadian author Joy Kogawa is hoping that enough money will be raised to save her childhood Vancouver home from demolition and turn it into a writer-in-residence’s retreat, reported The Globe and Mail Feb. 16. But with the deadline just six weeks away, fundraising has reached just $160,000, far below the $1.25-million needed to buy the house from the current owners and maintain it as a writers’ retreat. Faculty members at York University have pledged $1,000 and urged their colleagues across the country to match or beat their donation.

Prof clarifies hate law at forum

Bruce Ryder, a professor at York’s Osgoode Hall Law School, told a public forum at McMaster University that Danish cartoons lampooning the Prophet Mohammed do not violate Canada’s hate laws, reported the Hamilton Spectator Feb. 16. “The prohibition captures only a narrow range of the most hateful statements because we believe that robust debate on religious and political issues is a necessary feature of a healthy democracy,” he said.

York basketball teams beat Laurentian

In varsity women’s basketball, Laurentian’s Lady Vees took to the court Wednesday looking to leap into the playoffs with a win. However, being matched up against the top team in their division, they failed to conquer and were defeated 56-43 by York University, reported the Sudbury Star Feb. 16. In their last game of the regular season, Laurentian’s men played strong but were unable to come away with the win against the York Lions, added the Star. The Voyageurs struggled to chip away at York’s early lead and were defeated 72-61. “York is a good team and they’ve improved throughout the season,” said Laurentian head coach Virgil Hill. “We were just unable to handle their defensive pressure tonight.”

Education quality not what it was

“While I can’t help but agree with letter writer Richard Banigan concerning the lack of financial aid for students, I think he is only just scratching the surface of the larger systemic problems which are turning our post-secondary institutions into degree factories,” wrote Mark Chambers in a letter published Feb. 16 in the Toronto Star. “When I attended university in 1995, tuition was half the price it is today and tutorial sizes were less than half. Recently a professor in PEI offered students a B, if they didn’t come to class, so that his class size was more manageable,” noted Chambers. “Stop by Scott Library at York University and see how many students have to sit on the floor and study because there are no seats available. The quality of education, specifically at universities, is not what it once was and to suggest otherwise is to ignore the evidence which is right in front of us,” he wrote. “If our governments (provincial and federal) are truly concerned with the future of our country, they will find a way to invest in the human capital that post-secondary students represent,” Chambers concluded.

On air

  • Penelope Reed Doob, Dance Department Chair in York’s Faculty of Fine Arts, discussed a ballet to be performed by Broadway star Christopher Body at the Hummingbird Centre, on TVO’s “Studio 2” Feb. 15.
  • Bertie Friedlander, a 77-year-old master’s student at York, discussed going back to school after decades out of the classroom, on TVO’s “More To Life” Feb. 15.
  • Alison McPherson, a psychology professor in York’s Faculty of Arts, discussed her study of bodychecking injuries in minor hockey, on CBC Radio’s “West Coast Morning” of Cornerbrook, Nfld., Feb. 15.