You can’t fight hate speech through censorship

The claim that proscribing speech on the basis of its content does not “limit debate” but instead sustains “the integrity of social discourse,” or that it doesn’t “corrupt the ‘marketplace of ideas’ ” but protects “the integrity of that market” can be maintained only by someone who prefers to live in Wonderland, wrote Terry Heinrichs, political science professor at York’s Glendon campus in a rebuttal to an earlier letter in the National Post Sept. 13. A market doesn’t fail because people buy the goods offered for sale (the worry here); it fails if it doesn’t supply the goods people want to buy. Of course, markets are always worrisome to those who already know what the people should buy; that’s why they want to restrict them.

But to say we’re not “limiting debate” by censoring the marketplace of ideas is a corruption of public discourse, wrote Heinrichs. No less so is the utterly fatuous claim that by censoring hate speech we are “having the courage to meet and proactively support the rights entrenched in the Charter” because hate speech “robs its victims of the rights of free expression.” It does no such thing. 

In a regime that upholds freedom of expression, targets may feel intimidated by hate speech but no more so than are those targeted by the votaries of political correctness. The remedy in both cases is to use your free speech right to counter such expression. This is where real “courage” comes in, wrote Heinrichs.

York student hopes to lead Georgetown hockey team back to finals

Newly-named captain of the Ontario Hockey Association’s Provincial Junior A Georgetown Raiders, York student Wade Finegan, played on the Raider squad that went to the Royal Bank Cup national championship tournament two years ago, so he’s aware of the local fans’ standards for winning, wrote the Georgetown Independent Sept. 13. And with a team that’s shaping up to be a powerhouse again in Ontario this year, the 20-year-old Finegan welcomed the challenge of wearing the captain’s C. “There are always big expectations here. Every year we’re in position to do something big, but (the Royal Bank Cup) is a long way away,” said the right-winger. “Our motto is that we’ve got 2,639 miles to go to (Prince George) BC for the RBC, and it all starts here. It’s going to be a long trip.”

Three schools get $1 million each to ‘level the playing field’

The idea behind the Toronto District School Board’s Model Schools for Inner Cities initiative is to help students and their families overcome systemic barriers – poverty, language and a lack of cultural and social integration, reported the Toronto Star Sept. 13. Plans are to expand the program to four more schools in September 2008, resulting in one model in each of the seven clusters of high-needs schools identified across the city. Information gathered on teaching practices, community outreach and the impact of specific local initiatives will be assessed and shared with other schools. They will also act as teaching centres for education students at the University of Toronto and York University. A news conference announcing the program included a satellite feed with the other schools – Firgrove Public School in the Jane-Finch area and Willow Park Junior Public School in eastern Scarborough.

  • York University was also mentioned as one of several organizations involved in the model schools for inner cities project, on CFMJ radio (Toronto) Sept. 12.

York creates Faculty of Health

The Ottawa Sun Sept. 12 reprinted a feature story on York’s new Faculty of Health that ran in The Toronto Sun Aug. 23.

 On air

  • Jennifer Connolly, director of the Lamarsh Centre for Research on Violence & Conflict Resolution at York and a professor in York’s Department of Psychology, Faculty of Health, spoke about children’s stress on returning to school, on CBC Radio stations across the country on Sept. 12.

  • Lions men’s hockey coach Bill Maguire and players Kevin Druce, Lance King, Sean Langdon and Michael Root spoke about their performance as the only university team invited to the recent NHL Rookie tournament in Toronto, on CITY-TV (Toronto) and CKVR (Barrie) Sept. 12.