Leading educators brainstorm ways to accommodate 40,000 undergrads

Not all of Toronto’s universities have grown beyond their limit wrote the Toronto Star, July 31, in a story on a projected increase in university enrolment. Besides the five-year-old University of Ontario Institute of Technology, which has room to expand, York University has room on the east and west side of its sprawling campus and plans to boost its science and engineering programs, as well as add a medical school, said new President & Vice-Chancellor Mamdouh Shoukri. "I see this as an opportunity for York to help out while meeting our aspirations to increase the number of university graduates who are science-literate," Shoukri said.

Corporate Governance Chair established at Osgoode, Schulich

A new initiative at York University will see one of Canada’s top merger and acquisition lawyers tackle thorny corporate governance issues such as the perceived need for a national securities regulator, better legal protections for shareholders and the "hollowing out" of corporate Canada, wrote the National Post July 31.

Ed Waitzer, former Chair of the Ontario Securities Commission and a lawyer at Stikeman Elliott LLP, has agreed to scale back his law practice to take on the newly funded Jarislowsky Dimma Mooney Chair in Corporate Governance, a joint initiative between Osgoode Hall Law School and the Schulich School of Business.

The position was created thanks to $2 million in funding from shareholder activists Stephen Jarislowsky, whose Jarislowsky Foundation kicked in $1 million, and William Dimma, a businessperson and former dean of the business school, and Gary Mooney (LLB ’80), an Osgoode alumnus and president and CEO of Fidelity National Financial Canada, who provided the balance, wrote the Post.

"There’s a lot that can be improved on. It’s nothing to be proud of," Waitzer said of securities regulation in Canada, during an interview.

The newly created Chair is part of an effort to build a corporate governance centre at the University, the deans of the schools say. Waitzer will be responsible for raising corporate governance issues in the public through writing and speaking opportunities, conducting research and presenting papers and holding seminars on such issues.

Patrick Monahan, Osgoode dean, said, "we’re trying to build something much larger that will bring to bear policy debates about corporate governance – independent, credible analysis that will impact public policy. I think there are serious issues to look at in this country."

Dezsö J. Horváth, dean of Schulich, noted three other Chairs of the business school’s, one each for corporate social responsibility, sustainability and business ethics. Combined, they provide a foundation for addressing growth and operational issues for Canadian companies.

McNab fingers Sir John A for worst Canadian

The worst Canadian? It really depends on your perspective – Liberal or Tory, male or female, Leafs or Habs, wrote the Toronto Star July 29. Nonetheless, The Beaver, the magazine published by the National History Society in Winnipeg, will announce their version tomorrow. "For me, contrary to the history texts in our schools, the worst Canadian is (Sir John A.) Macdonald “bar none!" wrote David McNab, who teaches aboriginal history in York’s Atkinson School of Arts & Letters, in an e-mail. "Our first Prime Minister…was a racist and thoroughly colonial SOB! As a Métis historian, I hold him primarily responsible for the 1869-70 and 1885 resistance movements and the murder and dispersal of many Métis, including the hanging of Louis Riel, our leader."

Men, women judges vote differently

A judge’s gender or the political affiliation of the party that appointed them to the bench affects the way they vote on cases in the country’s busiest appellate court, but only in certain areas of law, says a recent study, wrote The Law Times July 30. A new study shows Liberal-appointed Ontario Court of Appeal judges are most likely to uphold convictions in criminal cases where Charter challenges were unsuccessful. The study, by Osgoode Hall Law School Professor James Stribopoulos and University of Alberta law Professor Moin Yahya, looked at every reported decision from the Ontario Court of Appeal from 1991 to 2003 — over 4,000 judgments.

Stribopoulos and Yahya also noticed a difference in voting between male and female judges in criminal cases involving sexual or domestic violence, as well as in family law cases involving disputes about custody or support.

The study says that diversity in appeal panels, such as having a single judge on a panel who is of the opposite sex from the others, or a single judge appointed by a different political party, was enough to eliminate any potential “distorting influence” based on gender or party. “This finding suggests a need to reform how appeal panels are currently assembled in order to ensure political and gender diversity, so as to minimize concerns about the potential for bias,” says the paper.

Wrestler wants a shot at Olympics

Usually, a silver medal is reason to celebrate, wrote the Mississauga News July 30. But to a perfectionist like Ohenewa Akuffo, there was little reason to celebrate after winning a silver medal on Thursday in women’s wrestling at the Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Taking on Kristie Marano from the United States in the gold medal match in the 72-kilogram weight class, the Brampton resident was pinned in the first round. "I’m disappointed because second is not what I wanted. I was up on points, and I got caught," said the 28-year-old. "It’s a learning experience, and anything that doesn’t break me will make me stronger."