York suspends student over Internet posts pending tribunal

A Toronto man has been suspended from York University after the National Post reported he was under police investigation over his controversial Internet postings, wrote the Post March 9.

Salman Hossain has been ordered to appear before a disciplinary panel and, in the meantime, he is not permitted to attend classes at the University.

The Ontario Provincial Police said last week its Hate Crimes/Extremism Unit was investigating online writings by Hossain that make derogatory comments about Jews and call for a genocide against them.

“The University is moving on this issue in a serious fashion and we’re going to let our due process work through and see what happens beyond that,” said University spokesperson Keith Marnoch, associate director of media relations.

Canadian Jewish Congress CEO Bernie Farber said the Jewish community was “now breathing a sigh of relief” knowing that Hossain was suspended. “York has done the right thing,” said Farber.

“We are going to move forward with a tribunal on this,” Marnoch said, adding that while such a hearing must take place within 60 days, it would not take that long in this case. “It’ll be done well within that time frame,” he said. “We want all of our students, all of our community members, to be safe and knowing that they can be.”

  • Maclean’s magazine reported on the Post story in its March 8 online edition.

Oscar Peterson scholarship set at $40,000

A new scholarship named for the late Canadian jazz pianist Oscar Peterson will see $40,000 awarded in September to one aspiring musician entering a music program at Toronto’s York University, wrote CBCNews.ca March 8.

The scholarship program, endowed by the Ontario government, will offer additional scholarships as it is phased in over the next four years, according to a release issued Monday by the University.

The candidate for the $40,000 entrance scholarship must have exceptional musical ability, especially in jazz performance, and must be facing economic or personal barriers that could inhibit their ability to pursue a university degree.

The program will also offer up to four $10,000 annual scholarships for current undergraduate music students. Additional entrance scholarships will be offered in the second and third years of the program. Successful students must maintain their academic performance.

York pioneered university-based jazz performance studies in Canada, wrote the CBC.

Social science & humanities projects that matter

There are thousands of groups across the country trying to end homelessness, wrote The Globe and Mail March 9. Yet, often being under-resourced, they lack funds to research whether their programs are effective. Enter Professor Stephen Gaetz of York University’s Faculty of Education and nursing Professor Bernie Pauly of the University of Victoria who teamed up with community partners to help them evaluate their programs and share their great ideas with other communities.

Megan Davies, a professor in the Department of Social Science in York’s Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, had long wanted to share the wealth of knowledge she had accumulated about the history of mental health in Canada with young people, wrote the Globe. So, together with Anne Marshall, director of the Centre for Youth & Society at the University of Victoria, she developed high-school material that teaches students to understand their own mental health and be compassionate toward others with mental illness and made it available to teachers online at the Web site CaringMinds.ca.

We’ve got the brains, now we need some brawn

“The future lies in exchanging all forms of research not just with industry but with government and with the community at large as well,” says David Phipps, director of the Office of Research Services at York University, wrote The Globe and Mail March 9. “In past, the focus has been on technology. Now we are extending it to business, law, the social sciences and the humanities.”

At York, Phipps has two full-time staff working on what he calls Knowledge Mobilization. To date, they work with the United Way of York Region and the Human Services Planning Coalition of York Region, which represents 15 different social services agencies.

Representatives from those agencies meet regularly with York researchers for what he calls KM in the AM – a knowledge management breakfast where the agencies get to pick what area of research they want to hear about and a York professor specializing in that area delivers a presentation.

Canadian campuses are buzzing with activity

As a marathon runner and a former competitive triathlete, Joe Baker, a professor in York’s School of Kinesiology & Health Science in the Faculty of Health, can personally attest to the benefits of exercise and competitive sport in his life, wrote The Globe and Mail March 9 in a story about people who are making a name for themselves in new and emerging research fields. In his research he is trying to decipher what benefits these activities bring to older people.

“We’re finding that a lot of things that we used to attribute to getting older, like decreases in cognitive functioning, depression and increased substance abuse, are really more a symptom of disuse rather than aging,” says Baker, a member of York’s Alliance in Graceful Aging, a multidisciplinary research team.

He also examines how society’s negative stereotypes about aging influence people’s behaviours as they grow older. “We are very much a culture that values youth and devalues the older person,” he says.

His findings so far suggest people’s expectations about aging play a significant role in their declining physical and cognitive abilities. “We’re just starting to get a handle on how big an influence these negative social stereotypes are on overall health,” he says.

York student wins gold in weightlifting

North Bay’s Courtney Simkins and Logan Baker were the top female and male competitors as junior weightlifters from across the province met Friday for the 2010 Ontario Winter Games weightlifting competition.

Local athlete, Stavrula Liritzis, who attends York University and now competes for the Toronto Weightlifting Club, was the gold medal winner in the 69-kilogram class, wrote the North Bay Nugget March 9 in a story about the 2010 Ontario Winter Games. Liritzis did 61kilograms in the snatch and 66 kilograms in the clean and jerk to finish with a mark of 127 kilograms.