BC names York alumna as new ombudsperson

The chief military judge of the Canadian Forces has been named BC’s next ombudsperson, reported the Times Colonist (Victoria) April 27. York alumna Col. Kim Carter (LLB ‘79, BA ‘76) was the unanimous pick of a special all-party committee of the legislature, which passed a motion confirming her appointment. Liberal MLA John Rustad, chairman of the selection committee, said Carter topped a list of 84 applicants. The first woman ever named as chief military judge in Canada, Carter previously served as the first director of military prosecutions for the Canadian Forces and led a Canadian war crimes investigation team responsible for conducting on-site inquiries in the former republics of Yugoslavia for the United Nations Commission of Experts. Carter graduated from Glendon, received her law degree from Osgoode Hall Law School and was called to the Ontario Bar in 1981. She has been a member of the Canadian Forces since 1975.

Turcotte here, there, everywhere

If two aunts from Saskatchewan hadn’t left a pair of cornets lying around in his home, York music instructor Kevin Turcotte might not be the award-winning jazz trumpeter who can be heard in action in a host of combos hereabouts, reported the Toronto Star April 27. Raised in Sudbury, Turcotte says he and his brother David tried out the instruments and took a fancy to them – but this was “relatively casual,” he said in an interview. “Although both my parents were music teachers at some point – my dad played clarinet and my mother piano and still does – mine probably isn’t the typical musical story.” Turcotte will be playing in York colleague Mike Murley‘s relatively new septet, tonight and tomorrow at The Rex, in the company of alto saxist Tara Davidson, trombonist Terry Promane, pianist David Braid, bass Jim Vivian and Ian Froman, a Canadian who resides in New York, on drums.

In the mid-1980s, Turcotte, now 42, was recruited for Toronto’s trend-setting quartet and York jazz-quartet-in-residence Time Warp, which he calls one of the more interesting bands around since it typically allowed a soloist lots of freedom. He’s still in it, now partnering with Kelly Jefferson (who replaced Murley) in the quartet co-led by York music professors drummer Barry Elmes and bassist Al Henderson. He’s now on the faculty of York’s Department of Music, Faculty of Fine Arts, leading two ensembles and enjoying the mix of disciplines there. Records soon to be released featuring him include tapes of the Murley septet and bands led by saxophonist Sundar Viswanathan, instructor in York’s Department of Music, violinist Hugh Marsh, guitarist Kim Ratcliffe and bassist Young’s octet.

Sudanese refugee student thankful for tuition program

Simon Thon Kuany has survived his first year of university like no other freshman – literally, with the help of every student at York, reported the Toronto Star April 27. And the 23-year-old Sudanese native says he owes it all to the generosity of York’s 50,000 students, who have each contributed, knowingly or not, three cents of their tuition for each academic credit – enough in total to pay his housing, meal and tuition costs for the year. “This is something better than winning a lottery ticket,” Kuany says with a laugh. He came here last September through the Student Refugee Program operated by World University Service Canada (WUSC). “They’ve given me a ticket out of the refugee camp, so I can get an opportunity to have a better education, a better life. And when I finish school here, I can return home and help others.”

Kuany graduated from a Jesuit-run high school in a Kenyan refugee camp, which is home to 9,000 displaced people. He was helplessly pondering his future in 2003 when he came across a bulletin about the program. Kuany was one of 20 candidates chosen from 600 applicants in his camp. “It was a bit of a cultural shock for me to come here,” he says during an interview at the York Lanes mall, as some soccer buddies and classmates wave and stop to chat. “Where I came from, six students had to share one book. Each could only have it for one week. The desks were all eaten up by termites, and there’s no cement floor in the classroom.”

Kevin Au, an executive of the local program committee at York, says campus volunteers have chipped in to guide Kuany through the system. It’s a wonderful learning experience for the York community, he said. “By interacting with people like Simon, you learn more about refugee issues and you realize how challenging it can be for someone from another country to adapt to our Canadian lifestyle, the things that we all take for granted,” says the fourth-year history major in York’s Faculty of Arts. “And you definitely feel good by the fact that you are making a difference in somebody’s life.”

Swedish company’s ageist hiring move would be discriminatory here, says Burke

A business professor at York’s Schulich School of Business says it’s rare to have a company even think about offering buyouts for over-35 workers as companies typically reserve buyout offers for older workers, reported Broadcast News April 26. Ronald Burke, professor of organizational behaviour, said it’s hard to say if Canadian companies will offer voluntary buyouts to younger workers. But he said restricting new hires to those under 30 wouldn’t happen here as it would be deemed discriminatory.

Bordessa calls new position a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity

Royal Roads University’s recent revolving door took another spin Friday with the confirmation that vice-president Ron Bordessa is leaving, reported Vancouver’s Goldstream News Gazette April 26. Bordessa, the university’s VP of academics, has accepted the position of president of the University of Ontario Institute of Technology. Bordessa took over as vice president in 2001, after serving as dean of York’s Atkinson Faculty of Liberal & Professional Studies. Bordessa described his new position as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

On air

  • Moshe Milevsky, professor of finance in York’s Schulich School of Business, spoke about the Bank of Canada increase in the interest rate on Montreal’s 940News radio April 26.
  • York/Sheridan design graduate Sasha Brijmohan (BDes ‘03), who started her own customized invitations and card company, Pretty Paper, was featured on CBC Newsworld’s “Morning News” April 26.