Suspect sought in reported sexual assault at York

For the third time this school year, a York University student has reported a sexual assault, wrote The Toronto Star Jan. 16. The latest attack, reported to police Jan. 15, has prompted the student union to call for a safety audit that will tackle the "systemic problem" of violence against women on campus.

Police are looking for one suspect; it is not known whether that person is another student. Police were at the campus Tuesday afternoon interviewing students. Officers will remain there this week as the investigation continues, wrote the Star.

York hired 22 "residence watchers" before the winter break in an effort to ramp up security, wrote the Star. "Of course we’re asking our students to be vigilant at this time," said Alex Bilyk, York’s director of media relations.

When University administrators heard the news around 3pm Tuesday, they immediately notified students via e-mails and posters, wrote the Star.

The York Federation of Students has made a plea to the University to do something to combat violence against women. "It is clear from this incident that the York administration needs to do more to address the systemic issues of sexual assault and violence on this campus," said Gilary Massa, vice-president, equity, of the York Federation of Students.

  • Bilyk said the school is in the process of installing new security cameras as well as taking other measures, reported CBC News Online. "Just this past Sunday night…we hired 22 additional, what we are calling now, residence watch officers," Bilyk said. "Obviously they were hired in December, but had to undergo the proper training…and they started on Sunday night specifically, as additional people in our residences, at night from 7pm until 7 in the morning," said Bilyk.

The latest incident is the third sexual assault case at York University during this school year, noted CBC. Two men face sexual assault charges after allegations two women were attacked in their dormitory rooms last September. Those attacks took place inside the Vanier College residence during the first week of the new school year.

  • A 20-year-old student at York University was sexually assaulted at the Keele campus’s Founders College residence, wrote The Toronto Sun Jan. 16. The female student was assaulted in a stairwell in the residence at 8:30pm on Jan. 11, according to Bilyk.
  • Toronto police are investigating another sexual assault that allegedly took place at a residence at York University, wrote The Globe and Mail Jan. 16. Although this latest incident is said to have taken place Friday night, authorities were made aware of it only Tuesday, police said.

Gilary Massa, vice-president equity for the York Federation of Students, said students on campus are scared and frustrated. Massa said the federation is calling on the University to conduct an independent safety audit and take "a more holistic" approach in making the campus safer.

  • Bilyk told AM640 Toronto Radio that security is a major priority at York and all other schools. "There’s always an ongoing concern for safety on any campus," says Bilyk. "Campuses as you know are widely attended by many people, many guests, etc."
  • With yet another possible sexual assault occurring on the campus of York University, security is on high alert, reported Global TV Jan. 15. “They were taking a lot of steps towards, you know, making sure that women get safely into the school and all of that stuff, so it was a shocker to hear this happening,” said a student who was interviewed.
  • Bilyk also spoke to reporters for CTV News and several other radio and television stations in the city.

Slushgate sparks call for investigation

The OPP should launch a criminal investigation into the role played by Premier Dalton McGuinty and key cabinet ministers in awarding grants out of the $32-million "slushgate" fund, opposition parties say. Interim Conservative leader Bob Runciman and NDP justice critic Peter Kormos sent a joint request to OPP Commissioner Julian Fantino Tuesday for a police investigation into "financial misconduct" by political officials, wrote The Toronto Sun Jan. 16.

The Sun’s Joe Warmington reported that a letter from businessperson and Liberal party fundraiser Larry Tanenbaum thanked McGuinty for his "support and commitment to the Tomorrow campaign."

The letter, obtained by David Noble, professor in York’s Faculty of Arts, through an Access to Information request, also credits Liberal cabinet ministers Mike Colle, Monte Kwinter, David Caplan and Greg Sorbara as "strong and vocal" supporters of the project.

  • The story was also reported on Toronto’s CFMJ and CFRB radio.

The new finance: beyond numbers

Royal Bank of Canada chief financial officer and York graduate Janice Fukakusa (MBA ‘79), 53, is passionate about driving the finance department into a more strategic role within the bank, wrote The Globe and Mail Jan. 16, noting that Fukakusa received her degree from York’s Schulich School of Business.

"Finance roles have got to change in today’s environment from being simply recorders," she says. One way to accomplish this, she says, is to mechanize some processes. "We’re not fully automated, but I think we’re trying to get there, because that’s how you free up the people."

It’s a crime: the jewel of 100 Crowns is retiring

York alumnus Paul Culver (BA ’69, LLB ‘73), the man who for almost 20 years ran the largest and arguably the most important and high-pressure prosecutor’s office in Canada, is retiring, wrote The Globe and Mail Jan. 16. Now 60, Culver made the formal announcement to his staff in courtroom 4-7 of the University Avenue courthouse in downtown Toronto.

Culver’s dad, William, was an inspector with the Toronto force when he died suddenly of a heart attack at the age of 42. Culver applied to join "the job," as it’s called, when he finished high school, but his lousy vision – in those days, recruits had to have perfect eyesight – kept him out. He went to York University and upon graduation, applied to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and to law school, receiving acceptances to both on the same day.

MPs, journalists disagree on media fairness

Members of Parliament and the journalists who report on them agree on the importance of accuracy, balance and impartiality in reporting, but are poles apart on just how far journalists should go to get their stories, wrote the Bugle-Observer (Woodstock, NB) Jan. 15.

"Clearly, politicians and journalists see the news quite differently," says Fred Fletcher of York University, past Chair of the Canadian Media Research Consortium and co-author of the Fairness in the News study.

"Although more than two-thirds of MPs believe that Canadian news media live up to their role in the democratic process, as many as 84 per cent do not believe that most stories present the news in a fair way. By contrast, the overwhelming majority of press gallery members in Ottawa consider the majority of their stories to be fair."

The study was co-authored by Fletcher, professor emeritus of communication studies & political science in York University’s Faculty of Arts, and André Turcotte, professor of communication at Carleton University and research director of the Fairness in the News Project.

Province creates scholarships at York in memory of jazz legend

The provincial government is creating scholarships in memory of jazz legend and former York chancellor Oscar Peterson to help young people study music at York University, wrote the North York Mirror Jan. 15. The government is providing an endowment of $1 million to create five annual $10,000 music scholarships for talented students from underprivileged backgrounds.

Along with the scholarships, the province is also providing a $4-million endowment for the Oscar Peterson Chair in Jazz Performance at York that will allow professors to conduct in-depth music studies.

On air

  • Jose Etcheverry, professor in York’s Faculty of Environmental Studies, commented on reports that Ontario is preparing to lift a moratorium on the development of wind energy projects in the Great Lakes, on CTV NewsNet Jan. 15. “This is great news for the people of Ontario and for anyone who cares about doing something practical about climate change and pollution,” Etcheverry said.