Globe columnist takes issue with CLASP outreach program

Shortly after the shooting death of Jordan Manners, the 15-year-old Toronto student, eighth-grade students at nearby Oakdale Park Middle School were called to an assembly, wrote columnist Margaret Wente in The Globe and Mail June 12. The subject: relations with the police. It’s a hot issue in that part of town. The community is in an uproar over the shooting and allegations are flying that police have been heavy-handed in their hunt for Jordan’s killer.

But the group invited by the school to address the students weren’t interested in improving relations with the police. They were there to fan the flames. Who were these anti-cop propagandists? They were law students from nearby Osgoode Hall Law School at York University. They are volunteers with an outfit called Community and Legal Aid Services Program, CLASP.

Glenn Stuart, who directs the program, told me that CLASP works with many local schools, starting as early as Grade 5, wrote Wente. Its goal is to teach the kids their "rights". In these sessions, students are encouraged to relate incidents of police harassment and alleged brutality. Each kid gets a wallet-sized reminder entitled "Know Your Rights." It has an illustration of upraised fists – presumably representing the masses rising up against their oppressors.

CLASP’s well-meaning law students are mostly middle-class and white, Wente wrote. I doubt if any of them have heard a random gunshot in their lives. The unwitting effect of the messages CLASP sends will be to keep [Oakdale Park students] in the underclass forever.

York University to play host to LSU Tigers

The York Lions men’s basketball team will play host to an opponent that competed in the NCAA Final Four in 2006, on the opening weekend of pre-season play in 2007-2008, wrote CanWest News Service June 12.

The Louisiana State University Tigers, who advanced to the National Collegiate Athletics Association semi-finals in 2006, will face the Lions on Sept. 2 at the Tait McKenzie Centre at York University. The LSU game concludes a two-game weekend against NCAA teams for the Lions, who also meet the visiting Morehead State University Eagles on Saturday, Sept. 1.