CLASP director responds to Globe columnist

Regrettably, Margaret Wente was not at the recent presentation to a high-school audience by students from York’s Community and Legal Aid Services Program (CLASP) [which she criticized in her June 12 column], wrote Glenn Stuart, program director, in a letter to the Globe and Mail June 14. The presentation encouraged youth to be aware of their rights but also to engage with police courteously.

When we talk with youth about their rights and responsibilities, we attempt to address the questions they have, based on their experiences, which, unfortunately, may not be positive. We do not push for negative experiences or encourage disrespect for the law; indeed, it is the law we promote as a means of properly addressing these experiences. This supplements the ongoing discussions CLASP has with police regarding improving community-police relations.

Two York graduates are among this year’s Pride Week award winners

York alumna Rachel Epstein (BA ’93, MA ’97) has two things to celebrate this year: she is the 2007 Pride Week Honoured Dyke and this is the 10th anniversary of Dykes Planning Tykes, a program she co-founded in 1997, wrote the Toronto Star June 14. On Saturday, Epstein will lead the Dyke March, followed by a contingent of mothers and kids from Dykes Planning Tykes

When Epstein gave birth to daughter Sadie in 1992, there were no support groups or social programs to help her and her then partner, Lois Fine, through the process. Epstein and Fine also spearheaded a challenge under the Canadian Charter of Rights over the right for same-sex couples to both register as parents on their child’s birth certificate. A judge ruled in their favour last year, opening the door for other queer parents, wrote the Star.

Epstein’s interest in lesbian parenting goes back to her days studying sociology at York’s Atkinson Faculty of Liberal & Professional Studies, wrote the Star. While taking a course in women’s health, she developed an information kit on alternative insemination for single women and lesbians. This evolved into a 300-page education kit that is still used today by the LGBT Parenting Network.

  • By age 24, Rodney Arsenault had two master’s degrees and was one of the youngest course instructors in ork’s Faculty of Fine Arts, teaching acting, wrote the Toronto Star June 14. But he was ready to jettison that promising career and his male identity for a female one.

Rodney changed his name to Nina Arsenault (BFA ‘96, MFA ‘00) while still at York and let nothing – not money, pain, negative social attitudes or medical concerns – deter "her" from that goal, which was achieved after nine years and about 60 cosmetic surgeries and procedures costing $160,000, financed by working in the sex trade.

It’s that determination that has Arsenault being cited for this year’s Unstoppable! theme award at the annual Pride Gala in Toronto, one of eight persons to be honoured for their achievements in different categories.

Jackets name Osgoode grad Howson new GM

The Columbus Blue Jackets have agreed to terms with Edmonton Oilers assistant general manager Scott Howson (BA ’87, LLB ‘90), a source told The Canadian Press last night. The public announcement is expected June 15.

Howson, 47, was a junior hockey star with the Kingston Canadians in the late 1970s. A forward, he played for the New York Islanders in 1984-1985, scoring five goals and three assists in 18 games. He graduated from York’s Osgoode Hall Law School in 1990 and ran Edmonton’s top farm club from 1994 to 2000. He was hired by the Oilers in 2000 and was promoted to assistant general manager in 2001.

Kelowna Art Gallery hires York grad as curator

The Kelowna Art Gallery has hired Liz Wylie (BA ‘77) as its new curator, wrote the Kelowna Capital News June 13. Wylie holds a BA in art history and studio art from York’s Faculty of Fine Arts and a master’s degree from Concordia. For the past 10 years she has been curator at the University of Toronto Art Centre, where she has also taught. She has been an art critic for various magazines and has an in-depth knowledge of contemporary visual art.