York has beefed up security to keep students safe

Alex Bilyk, York’s director of media relations, said more than 140 new security cameras have been installed across campus, including the lobby of every residence, wrote the Toronto Star Sept. 3 in a story about safety concerns on campus. York also poured $1.4 million into a residence watch program, which includes 22 patrols of security staff that comb residences between 7pm and 7am daily, wrote the Star.

As of last July, York brought in and trained full-time professional resident life coordinators for each residence. The coordinators oversee residence dons, senior students posted on every other floor.

Lastly, after much demand from student groups, including the York Federation of Students (YFS), the largest student union at York, the school hired Metrac to conduct an independent safety audit. Bilyk said they expect the project to be completed by March or April 2009. Bilyk said the university is also reviewing proposals to install a campus-wide public address system.

After the Vanier incident, York hired police officers to patrol the campus until after the arrests were made and the university continues to hire officers as needed, including at the beginning of the year.

York sociologist is country’s leading expert in fathers’ rights movement

Rob Kenedy, sociology professor in York’s Faculty of Arts and Canada’s only academic with expertise in the fathers’ rights movement, has interviewed 200 activists in the field for a book he is writing on the subject of equal parenting, wrote the National Post Sept. 3 in a story about the group Fathers 4 Justice (F4J). He deplores Toronto’s spirit-breaking, "villainizing" tactics [of using Emergency Task Force swarmings, streets being cordoned off, jailings and association bans to control the group’s actions].

F4J’s use of instantly recognizable comic-book icons Spider-Man, Batman, The Incredible Hulk and Wonder Woman were chosen for the group’s parade in Chatham, Ont. this weekend, Kenedy adds, precisely because they remind the world that they are fictional guardians of society’s most vulnerable. The symbolism is apt because in real life loving fathers are superheroes to their children. 

Police shifting focus from prostitution to gun crime, says Osgoode prof

Barrie is bucking a provincewide trend that has seen a drop in charges laid for prostitution-related offences, wrote The Barrie Examiner Sept. 3. Charges may be declining as larger urban centres, such as Toronto, increasingly shift their law-enforcement focus and resources to more serious – and politically charged – crimes such as gun violence, said Alan Young, a lawyer and professor at York’s Osgoode Hall Law School.

Oil’s history is unique

No commodity is more intimately tied up with momentous world events than oil, wrote Sally F. Zerker, professor emeritus and senior scholar in York’s Faculty of Arts, in the National Post Sept. 3. Other essential commodities, such as iron, wood, coal and potash, have no such troubled history. The same is true of coal, which was the primary source of energy throughout the 19th century and up to the Second World War. Why?

A seemingly obvious explanation is that oil is pumped in some of the world’s most unstable hot spots – such as the Niger Delta and the Middle East. But in fact, oil can be found everywhere. But just because oil appears everywhere doesn’t mean it is cheap everywhere. A barrel of oil in Saudi Arabia can be produced for a dollar or two. A barrel of liquid oil made out of the Alberta tar sands nowadays costs approximately $27.

What will the price of oil be next year, next month, next week? As usual, regular consumers have no idea. That part of the story never changes.

On air

  • Jennifer Jenson, professor in York’s Faculty of Education, spoke about the latest electronic learning aids on CBC Newsworld, Aug. 29.
  • York student Mark Robinson, who chases storms, spoke about Hurricane Gustav on CTV News Aug. 31.