New Web site lists universities’ data without rankings

Was it good for you – your first year of university? Would you call it an excellent adventure?, asked the Toronto Star Nov. 16, in a story about the Council of Ontario Universities’ new data Web site, CUDO, or Common University Data Ontario (, which includes information about York University.

The site has been created by the Council of Ontario Universities as a sort of anti-Maclean’s university guide, a database that does not rate and compare schools, the Star said. “We certainly do not do rankings! We think universities are too complicated to be reduced to ratings that are purely subjective,” said Jamie Mackay, the council’s vice-president of policy and analysis. The new CUDO Web site lists details about each university’s tuition and class size, research funds and the marks needed to get into various programs, the percentage of international students and how many first-year students live in residence.

Ethical investing paying off 

Is it possible to make the world a better place and make money at the same time?, asked the Toronto Star Nov. 16. Absolutely, fans of ethical investing say. A consensus is beginning to form among researchers that there isn’t a financial penalty when people invest in socially responsible funds, says Al Goss, a doctoral candidate at York University’s Schulich School of Business, who has published a paper on the topic.

“The reason…is even though you, as an ethical investor, remove stocks that don’t fit your criteria, the number of stocks you’re removing relative to the number of stocks that are left is really small. There are enough other stocks out there that there’s no loss in portfolio efficiency,” Goss says.

JNF Negev Dinner honors a dynamic couple  

Philanthropists Fran and Edward Sonshine (LLB ‘70), the 2006 honourees at the Jewish National Fund’s annual Negev Dinner in Toronto, are a dynamic duo, wrote the Canadian Jewish News Nov. 16. Eddie, as he is known in the community, is a self-made business entrepreneur, the CEO of RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT). 

But with all their other activities, the energetic and goal-oriented couple agree that family is their first priority and speak with pride about their children [including son Jonathon Sonshine (BA ‘01)] and their four grandchildren, Coby, Rachel, Jonah and Bayley. The Sonshines, both children of Holocaust survivors, will be fêted at the Negev Dinner in recognition of their excellence in communal leadership and dedication to Israel on Sunday, Nov. 26, at the Sheraton Centre.

Let Al-Jazeera speak to the West 

Years ago, a group of eager young students gathered around a table at York University and listened to their tutorial assistant, a heavily accented native of Zambia, explain the trappings of the world’s aid policies toward Africa, wrote The Sudbury Star in an editorial Nov. 16. The TA, York alumnus Munyonzwe Hamalengwa (BA ’79, LLB ’89, LLM ’01) – who would later go on to run for mayor of Toronto – explained that foreign-aid policies forcing countries in Africa to invest heavily in capital were detrimental to the economy of many countries in that continent. There was lots of willing, inexpensive labour in Africa, so it made sense to focus on labour-intensive processes. Policies favoured by the US in particular, just didn’t work in this case, the TA explained. 

But then a middle-aged student blurted out, “Oh Munyonzwe, stop shoving your ideas down our throats.” The TA replied that since this was a political science class, he was simply explaining a different point of view. This didn’t convince the irritated middle age student, but it was too late. Around the table, dangerous new ideas swirled in young minds. Maybe, they thought, the US didn’t have all the answers. 

And so we say to cable and satellite providers and the CRTC, let Al-Jazeera speak, the newspaper said. Bring it on. Let us see what they have to say. Like those university students so long ago, we can consider other points of view and make up our own minds. 

Former York volleyball star now a coach in BC 

When Kirsten Manley-Casimir (BA ‘97) graduated from Centennial secondary school in 1992 and embarked on a career in volleyball, she never guessed she’d one day work alongside the coach who, for five years, pushed her to become one of the most successful volleyball players to come out of Coquitlam, reported the The Tri-City News in suburban Vancouver Nov. 15. Lawrence Vea, now head coach of the Riverside secondary school senior girls volleyball team, worked with Manley-Casimir during her three years on school teams and her participation in a club team outside of school. He pushed the blossoming setter to run to the ball and set it, rather than bump it – a lesson she carried with her while playing varsity ball for four years at York University, where she was named All-Canadian twice – ranking her in the top 12 players in Canada – and Academic All-Canadian three times. She went on to become a two-time Canadian national beach volleyball champion, represent Canada in 13 World Tour events, and play professionally in The Netherlands. 

Vea, who is retiring this year after 35 years of coaching and teaching, says much of the team’s success during the last two years is owed to Manley-Casimir, including a fourth-place spot at last year’s provincials and a top-10 ranking this year. “The girls react most positively to her,” he says. “They know she has ‘been there and done that’ – plus, she is much closer to their age and she is able to demonstrate most efficiently, what we are trying to accomplish. She is an excellent role model.”