Universities reject ex-judge’s request to limit scholarships

York University and the University of Windsor are rejecting calls by a retired judge that scholarships named in his honour should not be awarded to Muslim students, reported the Toronto Star Feb. 26. 

"A comment like that is unacceptable, but it’s really a moot point because once endowments are established, it continues to serve the students for whom they were established," said York University spokesperson Alex Bilyk. "Upon reflection, I’m sure the judge realized this type of request is not in line with Canadian norms."  

Paul Staniszewski, a retired Windsor judge, said Muslim students should not be awarded scholarships he established at York University and the University of Windsor – a conclusion he came to after Polish engineer Piotr Stanczak was beheaded this month by the Taliban in Pakistan. "I said, well, they cut his head off, there was an innocent man, I can retaliate in a non-violent way by saying I have these scholarships and I want them to be denied to anybody that’s Muslim. That’s all," Staniszewski, 84, told the Star last night from his home in Windsor.  

Staniszewski practised law in Toronto for 13 years after graduating from Osgoode Hall Law School in 1954 and was called to the bench as a county judge in the late 1960s.  

York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School awards up to two awards in the Staniszewski name each year, according to the school’s Web site. 

Krisna Saravanamuttu, vice-president equity of the York Federation of Students, said he was "appalled" at Staniszewski’s comments. "His comments are nothing more than a reflection of racism and Islamophobia," Saravanamuttu said. "Age is no excuse. At the end of the day, there is no excuse for racism."  

Civil rights lawyer Clayton Ruby (BA ’63) said Staniszewski’s position is contrary to public policy and no university would accept such a suggestion. "It’s a disgrace that he should even attempt it," Ruby said.  

  • The Canadian Press reported Feb. 25 that Paul Staniszewski had asked York and Windsor universities to deny scholarships he funds to students of Islamic background. The news was broadcast on CFMZ-FM, CFRB-AM and OMNI TV in Toronto.
  • Alex Bilyk, York University spokesperson, discussed York’s response to Paul Staniszewski’s request, on “CTV News” Feb. 25. 

Nationalization is not the answer

The financial markets continue to wait to learn what the US government is going to do to "fix" the banks, wrote Fred Lazar, an economics professor at York’s Schulich School of Business, in a National Post commentary published Feb. 26. Unfortunately, six months have been wasted since then-treasury secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke began to take action. However, they made two fundamental errors, both of which were the result of pandering to politicians.  

The original Plan A proposed by Paulson and Bernanke for TARP (Troubled Assets Relief Program) was, and continues to be, the right one; namely, the government should remove the toxic assets from the balance sheets of the major US banks, wrote Lazar. Unfortunately, politics got in the way and UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s proposal to actually invest in the banks led us astray. Brown’s Plan B, which really is the precursor to the nationalization idea, was lauded by the left. Well, Brown has learned a very painful lesson – Plan B did not work, and so he is crafting an alternative which looks a lot like Paulson’s Plan A.  

Barbie is ‘quaint’ by today’s standards, says prof

Despite the emergence of countless new high-tech toys, games and gadgets that have rolled out in the 50 years since Barbie was introduced, the iconic doll continues to appeal to new generations of children while serving as a source of fond nostalgia – and in some cases disdain – among adults, reported The Canadian Press in an article published Feb. 26 in the Waterloo Region Record.  

Andrea O’Reilly, a professor in York’s School of Women’s Studies and founder and director of the Association for Research on Mothering, grew up with Barbies and had 25 of her own. But when her daughters – now 19 and 21– were younger, she was conflicted about her girls playing with them and went through a period when she didn’t allow it, largely because she thought Barbie “was representing an unhealthy view of what girls look like.” 

"I think it’s important if girls do play with Barbies, and that’s something that the mom decides, that that conversation happens, that the Barbie is given, but there’s some dialogue, age-appropriate, about what that means for the young girl,” O’Reilly said from Long Island, NY. However, O’Reilly notes that by today’s standards, Barbie is "pretty innocuous” and "quaint” given the images in larger popular culture for young girls.  

Judge’s harangue is inappropriate, says prof

He is smart, experienced and has fiercely loyal friends who speak fondly of his compassion and wit. But if Justice Arthur "Artie" Gans has one flaw, it might just be his mouth, which has a habit of landing him in trouble, reported the Toronto Star Feb. 26.  

This month, the Ontario Court of Appeal ordered a new trial for a man convicted of misleading advertising in connection with direct-mail promotions because Gans’s repeated interruptions and sarcastic comments from the bench undermined the appearance of fairness. It was a costly legal error, given David Stucky’s trial had taken about a year to complete.  

But that was nothing compared with what Gans said to Eugjen Brace on March 2, 2007, after the 25-year-old had been convicted of driving dangerously through a Toronto neighbourhood in a stolen SUV and resisting arrest.  

In allowing him to remain on bail until sentencing, Gans warned Brace that if he violated the conditions of his release, he would return to jail with severe consequences. "If you transgress, I’m going to make sure that the next shower you take, there’s going to be some big black guy right behind you. Do you understand me, young man?" Gans remarked.  

Gans, 62, who was appointed a judge in 1997, soon realized his mistake. When the case returned to court five weeks later, the first thing he did was endeavour to make amends.  

That Gans realized his error and promptly apologized is "a good sign" and "heartening", though his initial comments to Brace were "terribly inappropriate" and "shocking", said James Stribopoulos, a professor at York’s Osgoode Hall Law School. The comments conjured up a myth about the evil person or "bogeyman" in prisons being a "big black guy", Stribopoulos said, adding homosexual rape is another component of that mythology.  

Betrayal kills intimacy in marriages, says grad student

In a Feb. 26 story about frustrated spouses venting about their sexless marriages on a Web site, The Globe and Mail cited psychotherapist Catalina Woldarsky Meneses, a York PhD candidate in psychology.  

She counsels couples who have experienced serious betrayals that have killed the "safety or connection", and the intimacy of their marriages. "When things don’t get resolved fully, they start to fester. People might get along fine day to day, but when it comes to fully connecting sexually, that’s where it plays out," says Woldarsky Meneses, project coordinator for the Emotional Injury Project, which is run through the University’s Department of Psychology. 

Fish story earns director festival nod

Jim Goodall (BFA Spec. Hons. ’01) has earned plenty of accolades for his animation, but it was a decision to move back into live action filmmaking that earned him a spot in the upcoming World of Comedy Film Festival, reported Metroland’s insidetoronto.com Feb. 25. 

Goodall, who lives near King and Shaw streets, is looking forward to having his short film, The Interior Monologue of Gill the Goldfish, make its Toronto debut at the festival.  

The York University grad enjoys working on fantasy-based pieces with a comedic edge, which led to the creation of Gill the Goldfish. The piece, which blends live action and computer-generated animation, offers up an ironic look at the life of a miserable pet. "People look at goldfishes and think they’re cute, kid-friendly little pets," he said. "Gill is quite a miserable, foul-mouthed, suicidal character who just wants to get laid." 

Because of the costs associated with animation, Goodall was fortunate to find people who were willing to lend their efforts for less than what many longtimers in the industry would have demanded. "I relied on a lot of young talent, because traditionally visual effects are quite expensive," he said. He also filmed the piece on a sound stage at his alma mater, York University, during summer months. Because students were not using the space for their own projects, he was able to secure the space for a reasonable fee. "Summer’s a busy time in Toronto in the film industry, so a lot of places were booked," he said. "We were lucky to get the space at York, where we could construct our entire set." 

The character of Gill, voiced by Toronto comedy mainstay Sean Cullen, lives in his small bowl and is consistently tormented by his child owner. He sees only black, white and orange and feels as though his world is a prison. "I just wanted to look at the life of a goldfish from the other side," Goodall said. "It’s like a lot of what I’ve written, exploring childhood memories but not in a very deep way – more in a cartoony way."  

The short is one of many acclaimed pieces Goodall has worked on. In Timbuktu, a live action piece he created while in University, was screened in various international film festivals, his live action comedy Heroes earned him a Best of Craft Award for Writing at TV Ontario’s Student Telefest Awards and his feature film script Giantland earned the Pitch This! Award at the Toronto International Film Festival. He recently finished production design work on the vampire rock and roll feature Suck, which stars Malcolm McDowell, Iggy Pop, Alice Cooper and others.  

Flautist plays mix of genres on first album

With his debut record already released, Jef Kearns (BFA Spec. Hons. ’04) is setting his sights high this year, reported the Chatham Daily News Feb. 26.  

The Chatham native meshed genres such as hip hop, soul and R&B in his original album, On the Level. “It’s getting a great response,” he said from Toronto recently. “It’s got some great reviews online.” 

The album was mastered by Tom Coyne, who has worked on albums by Beyoncé and Britney Spears, as well as recent works by Lionel Richie and Kenny G. Kearns said he is trying to keep busy, playing different clubs three to four times each week.  

He attended music programs at Humber College and York University.  

On air

  • Elizabeth Dauphinee, a political science professor in York’s Faculty of Arts and a dual Canadian-American citizen who worked on Barack Obama’s presidential campaign, talked about his primetime address to Congress, on CBC Newsworld Feb. 25.