Tormented kids try to recoup power

The case of the 16-year-old boy with a sawed-off shotgun in his knapsack is not the first time a bullied student has taken measures into his own hands, wrote The Daily News (Halifax) Feb. 27. As extreme as they may seem, such actions are sometimes the way bullied teens counter the power imbalance they feel with their aggressor, a York University professor said.

"When you’re being bullied, you lose power," said Debra Pepler, professor in York’s Faculty of Health and the Lamarsh Centre for Studies on Violence & Conflict Resolution, in an interview. "Any power that you had, you lose, in the context of that relationship. Young people try to find other ways of being powerful: to protect themselves, to protect their sense of self, particularly in adolescents, when that’s just such a salient developmental issue for them.

"And so they do things that, from our perspective…aren’t adaptive. But from their perspective, when they’re being tormented, they may feel more powerful. It may be a way – a really maladaptive way – for them to have a stronger sense of self, and a sense of being protected, and a sense of integrity."

York among top 10 schools for PhD in affairs

Rankings compiled by researchers at the College of William and Mary in Virginia put York’s PhD program in international affairs among the top 10 in North America, reported the Ottawa Citizen Feb. 27. Harvard remains the top-ranked PhD program in international affairs, followed by Columbia, Princeton, Stanford and Cornell. The University of Toronto and York University were tied for 10th place – the only Canadian schools to place in the Top 10.

At 180 calories, this doughnut’s on a health kick

Healthy choices and low calories may have caught up to the final bastion of fast-food decadence: a Krispy Kreme doughnut. The North Carolina-based company yesterday introduced a whole wheat, caramel-flavoured glazed doughnut, which it says has only 180 calories, wrote the Toronto Star Feb. 27. "They are using key phrases like ‘whole wheat’ and ‘180 calories’ to try to send the signal of ‘healthier’ as opposed to the real thing that it’s ‘less unhealthy,’" said Alan Middleton, professor of marketing at York’s Schulich School of Business.

Going green: Are we willing to pay?

Are Canadian consumers willing to put their money where their mouth is – literally – and pay more for environmentally expensive products like groceries?, asked The Toronto Sun Feb. 27. Take the organic food movement as an example of conscientious buying power, said Brian Kelly, a director at the Sustainable Enterprise Academy at York’s Schulich School of Business. "Organic produce is seeing double-digit growth. Consumers with disposable incomes are selecting organic produce and in most cases are paying a significant premium," Kelly said.

The flaw is in the system

A grim picture exists for Canadian multiculturalism in its ability to promote social inclusion, wrote Reza Hasmath, visiting lecturer in York’s Geography Department, Faculty of Arts, in a letter to The Globe and Mail Feb. 27. My recent research in Montreal, Vancouver and Toronto suggests that although second- and third-generation ethnic minorities are as, or more, educated than the dominant group, they trail in securing high-wage, skilled, education-intensive jobs. For visible ethnic minorities, securing these jobs is even harder.

This has more to do with sociological reasoning than policy. When it comes to hiring, often the dominant group will choose an individual from the dominant group, who is perceived to share a greater social trust. Canada’s multicultural policies project an important intent but fail to tangibly address the Achilles heel of social inclusion – fostering social trust among all members of the community.

The Globe identified Hasmath as a researcher, global ethnic diasporas, from the University of Cambridge, England, and a visiting lecturer in ethnic geography at York.

What it means to be Canadian

Recently Prime Minister Stephen Harper has moved his government closer to a more political approach to appointing judges, once more attacking a principle of democracy that our judicial and legislative branches in government be independent, wrote the Port Hope Evening Guide in an editorial Feb. 27. Patrick Monahan, dean of York’s Osgoode Hall Law School, found cause to worry about the Tory approach to appointments on committees. "Certainly, if the government is appointing to committees individuals who are there for partisan political considerations, I think that would be a matter of serious concern," said Monahan.