No sexual assault at York, say Toronto police

A police investigation into a sexual assault that allegedly took place at a York University residence earlier this month has revealed that the incident did not occur on the campus, wrote Maclean’s online Jan. 29.

York replaced campus safety alerts, which had been warning students of the alleged sexual assault that supposedly occurred in the Founders College Residence on Jan. 11, with a statement stating that the alleged assault did not happen on the campus.

Two sexual assaults occurred on the York University campus in September, and this most recent allegation prompted heightened media attention, and a firestorm of allegations against the University by activist groups, said Maclean’s.

The students union demanded the university conduct an immediate safety audit. "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, a vice-president of the York Federation of Students (YFS) immediately following the accusation being made public.

Last week, after racist graffiti was discovered at York, student activists pounced on the University again, arguing that safety on the campus was a major concern, said Maclean’s. They also claimed that not enough was done to address campus safety issues following the alleged sexual assault.

The YFS was unavailable to comment on the findings of the police investigation, said Maclean’s. Last Thursday, the University announced they will be hiring a third party to conduct a full safety audit of the campus.

  • A reported sexual assault earlier this month at York University didn’t happen on campus, according to police and campus security, wrote the Toronto Star Jan. 30.

A tersely worded statement yesterday said police and campus security have completed their investigation into the alleged Jan. 11 attack at the Founders College Residence and "determined that the sexual assault did not occur at York University." No one faces charges. Police and York officials refused to provide any further details.

  • On Jan. 14, York officials were notified by police that they were looking into a report by a 20-year-old female student that she was sexually assaulted in the stairwell of Founders College Residence three nights earlier, between 8pm and 8:30pm, wrote The Globe and Mail Jan. 30. The Founders building is adjacent to Vanier College Residence, where two women were sexually assaulted in their rooms in September. Two men have been charged in connection with those incidents.

Trustees narrowly approve contentious Afro-centric school

In a tight vote, Toronto District School Board trustees approved a contentious proposal for a black-focused school that opponents argued would be the equivalent of segregation, wrote The Globe and Mail Jan. 30.

Trustees voted on four recommendations that come with an initial price tag of $820,000, [including a plan to] team up with York University and other postsecondary institutions to establish a centre for staff development, research and innovation to track data and test best practices to help marginalized and vulnerable students.

  • After a heated but civil debate, Canada’s largest school board voted 11-9 last night to open an alternative Afro-centric school to help fight a 40-per cent dropout rate among Toronto’s black teens, wrote the Toronto Star Jan. 30.

Besides the Afrocentric school, the board passed, by wide margins, [a] measure to…work with York University and community agencies to establish a centre of research on how to close the learning gap between black children and others.

  • Beverly Jean Daniel, professor in York’s Faculty of Education, spoke about the proposal for an Afro-centric school in Toronto, on City-TV’s “City On-line” program and City-TV News, Jan. 29.
  • CBC News online also reported on the board’s decision and the recommendation to work with York.

The kin of comedy

In some ways, the similarities between Calgary brothers Rob and Joel Cohen (MBA ’92) begin and end with Bart Simpson, wrote the Calgary Herald Jan. 30. Joel has many of the virtues of Lisa Simpson. He was a driven student who earned a science degree from the University of Alberta and an MBA from York University’s Schulich School of Business. Rob, meanwhile, is the real life inspiration for Bart’s geeky friend Milhouse and claims he only graduated high school because his teachers gave him three credits for "life experience."

Despite their differences, both brothers have been drawn independently to Hollywood where they have each found success and belonging as TV comedy writers on their own terms. Although they are currently walking the picket line with the Writer’s Guild of America, Joel has been writing for “The Simpsons” for nearly 10 years and Rob penned one of show’s most beloved episodes, “Flaming Moe”, and writes “The Big Bang Theory”.

"I’ve been walking in a circle with a sign for a long time," says Cohen, about the Writers Guild strike. "We did organize one day of picketing for Canadian writers – just for fun. We had some beer and doughnuts, some people brought their hockey sticks and we played hockey outside the studio. It was all very patriotic." Despite some playful antics on the picket line, Cohen says he’s ready to get back to work.

Oscar nominee credits his sister, a former York student, with his success

Former York student Joan Giammarco will face a conundrum when the Oscars are handed out Feb. 24, wrote the Welland Tribune Jan. 30. Will she root for her brother (David Giammarco, nominated for sound mixing on 3:30 toYuma) or her husband (Greg Orloff, also nominated for sound mixing on No Country for Old Men)? "I’ll root for both people," she said.

After studying art and film at York University, Joan started working on film editing as well as acting in the Toronto area and she introduced her younger brother to the business.

"The reason I got involved in film was because my sister was involved in film editorial," David said. "She was a huge part of me getting in there." Joan, however, wasn’t about to take credit for Dave’s success. "I just introduced him to people. That was the only thing," she said. "He did the rest."

Taking on the Israel bashers

A collection of essays by knowledgeable scholars and pro-Israel activists, Academics Against Israel and the Jews is an important new information resource, for it is the first comprehensive analysis of this subject extending beyond a single country, wrote columnist Barbara Kay in the National Post Jan. 30.

Case by case, and with rigorously documented thoroughness, knowledgeable insiders offer their respective forensic analyses of the activism and the intellectually corrupt ideologues fuelling it in various academic hotspots as familiar as Canada’s York University and as unfamiliar as the Universities of Utrecht and the Australian National University in Canberra.

At York in 2003, a Jewish student told Israeli cabinet minister Natan Sharansky, "For me as a Jew, the existence of Israel is a big problem. I want to be a normal person…. If Israel did not exist, I would feel much easier." If a Jewish student can’t feel "normal" on a university campus because Israel "exists," is he not already studying in a failed culture?, wrote Kay.

Peace of mind, but it doesn’t come cheap

"In the old days, people got a pension from the company for which they were working," says Moshe Milevsky, professor of finance at York’s Schulich School of Business and executive director of the Individual Finance and Insurance Decision Centre in Toronto, wrote The Globe and Mail Jan. 30, in a story about segregated funds for RRSPs.

"That provided longevity insurance. But a lot of people are approaching retirement without that sort of pension and they’re looking around for something…that is as close to a pension as possible. That’s what these products are filling the need for," Milesvky says.

York and Seneca get financial boost

Two North York post-secondary institutions are getting a combined provincial cash injection of more than $19 million to make campus improvements, wrote The North York Mirror, Jan. 29.

It was announced Tuesday, Jan. 29 that York University will receive $12,600,200 and Seneca College will see $6,462,800 as part of the $1.4 billion announced in the fall economic statement for strategic infrastructure investments. The funding will help fund projects related to energy efficiency and campus safety as well as make upgrades and improvements to existing facilities.

Hindus get their share at Ganesh temple

Two groups of Hindu members of the Ganesh temple, located on Bayview Ave. at Elgin Mill in Richmond Hill, were not able to resolve their differences by themselves initially, wrote The Toronto Sun Jan. 30, in a story about the growing number of temples in the Greater Toronto Area. But with the help of Professor John McCamus of York’s Osgoode Hall Law School and three lawyers from Bay Street law firm Genest Murray, the members of the temple wrote their constitution.

"There’s absolutely no problem whatsoever now in the temple," says founder trustee and president Veluvolu Basavaiah, acting president of the temple society. "There’s no politics in running the temple. It is strictly a religious institution and we discuss religious matters only."