University in ‘frank’ talks with newspaper

Picasso famously said that good artists copy, but great artists steal, wrote the National Post Feb. 28. While it’s not clear how an alleged rip-off of a York University ad campaign by newspaper The Globe and Mail happened – both parties are in negotiations over the issue and refused to comment – experts say instances of ad strategy theft tend to be resolved hastily because the issue is generally viewed with great embarrassment within the self-policing industry.

"We will continue our discussion to come to an amicable scenario," said Alex Bilyk, director of media relations at York, adding the University and the newspapers’ executives had "a nice, frank discussion together. The Globe certainly understands our feelings on this."

Richard Fisher, chief marketing officer for York, called the Globe’s efforts by Toronto’s Naked Creative Consultancy Inc. "an identical strategy with identical art direction" in Marketing Magazine. "We’re all in the business of building distinct brands and that can’t happen if people are going to use identical executions and strategies," he said. He was not available for further comment. Mike Welling, president of Doug, and Peter Shier, president of Naked, declined to comment, and calls to The Globe and Mail were not returned.

While mimicking another ad campaign does not give rise to copyright restrictions or industry sanctions, it seldom passes the so-called smell test, said Brian Howlett, president of the Advertising & Design Club of Canada. "It’s all about reputation, and that’s all we have in the business," he said. "If you do something and it is obvious that it is [a copy], the industry will look at your agency in a different light."

An argument that the copycat agency was not aware of the original ads generally fails to resonate, he said, particularly if the advertising occurred in the same market. "It’s incumbent on the agency to look around and make sure it doesn’t copy."

Glendon to become centre of excellence in French

The provincial government is allocating $20 million to York University’s Glendon College to create a centre of excellence for French-language and bilingual postsecondary education, wrote the North York Mirror Feb. 28.

The project, announced Feb. 26, will expand existing facilities to sustain the growth of its undergraduate and graduate French language and bilingual programs at the campus at Bayview and Lawrence avenues in Toronto.

At the graduate level, Glendon plans to introduce PhD programs in etudes francophones and in translation and transcultural studies, a master’s degree in culture et societe and a bilingual master’s in public and international affairs. The latter program will become the centrepiece of the Glendon School of Public Affairs, Canada’s first fully bilingual graduate school of public affairs.

  • The Canadian Press also reported on the funding Feb. 28.

Police probe racist remarks scrawled on desk at York

Toronto police are investigating after anti-Semitic graffiti was found scrawled on a desk at York University’s Keele campus, wrote The Globe and Mail Feb. 29.

Campus security was notified Wednesday about a series of racist remarks written in a study booth at the University’s Keele campus library. University President and Vice-Chancellor Mamdouh Shoukri said in a statement last night that officials did not know whether someone from the York community is responsible.

  • Alex Bilyk, York’s director of media relations, said it is unknown whether it was the work of a student or an outsider, wrote the Toronto Star Feb. 29.

Goodbye, safety net; Expect ‘out-there’ jazz from Geggie’s latest trio

Perhaps nothing in the National Arts Centre Orchestra concert series has pushed John Geggie’s margins more than what he’s expecting at tomorrow night’s concert [March 1] – the 35th overall – with free-form jazz improvisers David Mott, music professor in York’s Faculty of Fine Arts, and former York student Andy Milne, wrote the Ottawa Citizen Feb. 29.

"This could be turn out to be the most ‘out-there’ show yet," the bassist says with a little laugh. "Both of these guys have the ability – and the desire – to go to some crazy places."

Geggie has previously performed and recorded with Mott, a Toronto baritone saxophone virtuoso known for his extended innovations and inventive technique. Milne is familiar with Mott, who was one of his teachers at York University in the late 1980s, although the two have never actually performed together on stage.

The bus is still the better way

In the past week I tested out a dozen bus lines in North York, Scarborough, York and Toronto, and came away impressed, wrote columnist Peter Kuitenbrouwer, in the National Post Feb. 29. I never waited more than three or four minutes for any bus. At Downsview Station, the 196 York University Rocket was waiting when I arrived. The trip to York’s Keele campus took 10 minutes.

Schulich shares his thoughts on politics and the subway

Seymour Schulich has always had a reputation as a bit of a lone ranger, wrote The Globe and Mail Feb. 29. He must be mellowing. For a start, the once media-shy billionaire and Chair of Sheriff Capital agreed to this interview. He’s also agreed to button up one of his western shirts and don the cowboy hat you see here for a photo. But if this is Seymour-lite, it still carries quite a kick: "I have a theme for you," he says at the start of a rapid-fire monologue. "The thing that’s really bugging me these days is politicians…" and he’s off.

Today, he’s particularly peeved that a long-promised subway link to Toronto’s York University – home of the Schulich School of Business at York University – has yet to materialize. Interviewing the man is like riding a bronco: Hold on tight and hope you have a finger on the rope when the ride ends. Schulich also seems to have mellowed when it comes to acknowledging his wealth, including owning up to his status as a billionaire, though he refuses to get more specific than that. As often as not, Schulich is now described as a philanthropist.

Hastings County recruits its 10th doctor

It’s 10 down and two to go for Hastings County’s doctor recruitment program, wrote the Kingston Whig-Standard Feb. 29. Council has signed its 10th medical student to an incentive package, based on a guarantee he’ll set up a family physician practice in the county upon graduation.

York alumnus Dan Beamish (BSc ’99, MA ’02, PhD ‘05), a first-year medical student from the University of Ottawa, was introduced to councillors through a video clip at a meeting yesterday. He will receive $25,000 for each of the next four years from the county to complete his education. Beamish is expected to finish medical school and begin practising by 2013.

Brother’s name lives on through memorial race

He never lived in Niagara and never had any direct connections here. But during a number of pilgrimage walks that took him through the region, St. Catharines earned a special place in former York student Brendan Ford‘s heart, wrote the St. Catharines Standard Feb. 29.

So much so that the young Mississauga man hoped to one day be buried at historic Victoria Lawn Cemetery. His family ultimately had to make other arrangements when he died unexpectedly of a heart condition two years ago at the age of 20.

Damian Ford, 23, who is organizing a memorial race in his brother’s honour, said Brendan was born with a heart defect and had a pacemaker surgically implanted when he was just a day old. He said his brother was out with friends at a restaurant in Mississauga when he collapsed and died on Jan. 24, 2006. Brendan was studying English literature at York and had hoped to become a teacher, his brother said.

On air

  • Sergei Plekhanov, political science professor in York’s Faculty of Arts, spoke about Vladimir Putin and elections in Russia, on CBC Radio’s “The Current” Feb. 28.