York students feeling fallout from strike

For most university students across Ontario, school is almost over. But at York University – where there was an 11-week strike this year – students are still in class, wrote CBCNews.ca May 1.

Students from other universities are finishing their exams and looking for summer jobs. But York students won’t be joining them anytime soon. Exams at York won’t end until June 2, a full month later than other postsecondary institutions in Ontario.

Student Manaf Rashid says the fallout from the strike has affected him “severely”.

Rashad is a kinesiology student and wants to go to graduate school but he’s now a month behind his competition. With strict deadlines he’s worried about his application. “You can hope for it but you can’t expect it, right? And at the end of the day there are other students that are working hard and such. And really, for people in our situation the best we can do is wait another year,” he said.

Chuck Marino, a retired psychology professor who helps out at York’s Atkinson Counselling & Supervision Centre, says anxiety is running high on campus. York doesn’t have “the greatest morale” these days, he said. Many students say they’re concerned about summer jobs, internships and just making enough money to cover next year’s tuition.

York won’t seek ‘flat fee’ tuition plan

York University President & Vice-Chancellor Mamdouh Shoukri says a “flat fee” plan such as the University of Toronto is proposing would not be appropriate at York, which he says has one of the highest proportions of low-income students in the province, wrote the Toronto Star May 1.

The U of T’s Faculty of Arts and Science wants to charge students for five courses whether they take four, five or six, to encourage students to take more courses at a time and generate more funding.

Osgoode grads work to save Chrysler

Canada found a valuable ally in Fiat chief executive officer Sergio Marchionne (LLB ’83), an Italian-Canadian who had gone to school and started his business career here, wrote The Globe and Mail May 1 in a story about efforts to save automaker Chrysler.

Marchionne drove a hard bargain for Fiat, and insisted his company would not partner with Chrysler unless its unions and creditors agreed to major concessions. In fact, Finance Minister [and York grad] Jim Flaherty (LLB ’73) knew Marchionne from the latter’s days in Toronto, where he graduated from Osgoode Hall Law School, and McGuinty visited him in Turin last May, in the hopes of attracting Fiat to his province.

  • Bernie Wolf, economics professor at the Schulich School of Business at York University, spoke about the deal to save Chrysler on CTV Newsnet April 30.

Can’t curb your enthusiasm for food? Blame the brain

A recent study by researchers at York University in Toronto found that binge eating might be a factor of your genes, wrote CBCNews.ca April 30. The researchers looked at two groups of obese people: one that suffered from binge eating disorder and a second group that did not.

The researchers found that binge eaters have a specific type of brain receptor, one that is also linked with drug and alcohol addiction. It predisposed them to be more responsive to the tastes of sweet and fatty foods.

Scientists believe dopamine fosters our “wanting” of food while opioids regulate the pleasure we get from eating. Previous research on animals found that opioids are linked to binge eating of fat. The York University study took that a step further: it found the same link in humans as well as a different genetic makeup in the opioid receptors of binge eaters than in those who don’t binge.

Lead author Caroline Davis, professor in York’s School of Kinesiology & Health Science, Faculty of Health, says while the study should help improve treatment for people suffering from binge eating disorder, it could also help reshape the way researchers study obesity and weight gain.

The study, “Dopamine for ‘Wanting’ and Opioids for ‘Liking’: A Comparison of Obese Adults With and Without Binge Eating,” will be published in a forthcoming issue of the journal Obesity.

Schulich grad named one of Top 40 Under 40

Immigrating to Canada from Sri Lanka with his family at 13 instilled a drive to succeed in Jerome Dwight (MBA ’05), president & CEO of BNY Trust Company of Canada, that is still evident today, wrote The Globe and Mail May 1 in a story about the Top 40 Under 40 awards.

In 1983, the family settled in Toronto’s Rexdale in humble circumstances. Dwight’s parents left prestigious careers as a dentist and a government executive to help their sons succeed in their new country. And succeed they did. Dwight launched a career in commerce and his younger brother became a pediatrician. “We really had no option to fail. We started with very little. We had to work hard to justify the decision my parents made.”

After earning his commerce degree from the University of Toronto he became a chartered accountant in 1997, a chartered financial accountant in 2001 and received his MBA from the Schulich School of Business at York University. “I always look at things from an entrepreneurial mindset,” he says, adding that he sees his role at BNY Trust Company as an opportunity to move the business into new markets. He’s especially proud that the firm won the lead role in administering the restructuring of asset-backed commercial paper after the market for the paper froze in one of the first waves of the credit crisis.

Looking for the road to survival

General Motors, the world’s largest automaker a year ago, and Chrysler have been driving without a destination for a long time, wrote Bernie Wolf, director of the International MBA Program and professor of economics at the Schulich School of Business at York University, in The Globe and Mail May 1. Finally they are jettisoning the excess baggage and getting a global positioning system.

The Detroit Three’s troubles are not merely a result of the sharp fall in light-vehicle sales, wrote Wolf. They have been steadily losing market share in North America for many years, from about two-thirds (65.9 per cent) in 2000 to less than half (47.4 per cent) in 2008 and it is continuing to fall. Until recently the decline was buffered by substantial sales for profitable gas-guzzling SUVs and luxury vehicles. However, these sales, too, plummeted when gasoline prices skyrocketed.

Much of the market-share losses are a result of an inability or unwillingness to produce cars with the reliability or gas-saving features, such as hybrids, that consumers were increasingly demanding. In fairness, they both have made significant strides with respect to quality but Toyota and Honda are a moving target.

York student finds places to loiter in Thornhill

York student Elana Anzel-Sivkin, 22, volunteered to host a Jane’s Walk in Thornhill, wrote the Toronto Star May 1. It starts outside her elementary school, stops in a dog park, deconstructs the local breakfast bagel scene and tours the Mac’s Milk parking lot where she hung out as a kid. “It’s not just ‘Oh, there’s a parking lot,’” she says of her walk. “I guess I want to take it and make it more three-dimensional, a place where there is a whole web and network of interactions.”

The places Anzel-Sivkin chose for her tour – Places to Loiter in Thornhill and Other Fun and Cheap Activities – seem mundane, but she says they are lived in just like other, more noteworthy places. But because they are suburban most people ignore them, even if they are meaningful in different ways.

Anzel-Sivkin, an undergraduate at York, becomes animated when talking about the grassy knoll outside the Chabad Gate Plaza’s Mac’s Milk, a meeting point for local youths armed with slushies and boredom. “That hangout place is starting to disappear,” she says, “because it’s not allowed to occur any more…. This idea of private property is really being enforced in that area.”

  • When is a space a “place”? When you’ve got someone dynamic like Elana Anzel-Sivkin behind it, wrote the Thornhill Liberal April 30. Feisty and chatty and bubbling with energy, the York University student may be just what Thornhill needs to beat its rap as a sleepy or boring little suburb.

This weekend, Anzel-Sivkin will lead Thornhill’s first Jane’s Walk – one of a series of free neighbourhood walking tours designed to show participants what makes their community special. Jane’s Walk started in Toronto in 2007 to celebrate the thinking of Jane Jacobs, the urban activist who favoured community-led, pedestrian-based town planning.

York grad is a creative force

York grad David Rankine (BFA Spec. Hons. ’82) is a professional creator, wrote simcoe.com April 30. In a world of creators, he is distinguished by his extraordinary expression of original art and music. To experience either, is to be transformed.

Besides designing jewellery, labyrinths, posters, logos and book and CD covers, and teaching a variety of artistic skills, Rankine is lauded in the art world for his paintings created from a Celtic perspective influenced by Arabic, Hindu, Persian and Hebrew traditions.

When studying fine arts at York University he saw a link between Celtic music and the illuminated sacred texts. “When I first started looking at Celtic art in art school, I became aware that the fluidic circular rhythm found in the Celtic manuscript art (eg. Book of Kells) could be directly linked to the same rhythms in Celtic music and dance.”

Crispo’s outspoken ways lost him York president’s job

John Crispo, was an academic who became the Neil Armstrong of talking head economists, wrote The Globe and Mail May 1 in an obituary. Starting in the 1970s, Crispo became a veritable fixture in the world of Canadian media, offering his pithy insights on everything from interest rates to currency fluctuations.

Crispo’s outspokenness closed some doors. In the mid-1970s, he was in the running to become the president of York University but his bull-in-a-china-shop approach got him into trouble almost instantly: “I managed to offend all of the stakeholders represented on the search committee,” he wrote in his memoirs.