Drummond promises less money, reduced flexibility for cash-strapped universities

“As Don Drummond’s landmark report on the reform of Ontario’s public services bluntly notes, universities in Ontario are on a financially unsustainable path,” wrote York Vice-President Academic & Provost Patrick Monahan in an opinion piece for the Toronto Star Feb. 23. “Costs have been rising at a rate of about five per cent annually, mainly driven by compensation increases, but government funding on a per student basis has not risen in more than a decade. Even with tuition increasing at around five per cent a year, universities are faced each year with a two- to three-per cent gap between expenditures and revenues. Most universities have attempted to close this gap by cutting budgets and taking in more students, resulting in larger class sizes and increasing reliance on part-time faculty,” wrote Monahan. “What is disappointing about Drummond’s report is that, having clearly identified the pressing fiscal challenges facing universities, he fails to propose a strategy for successfully addressing them.” Read full story.

Law student charged in York University shooting incident
First-year York University law student Andrew MacDonald, 35, has been charged in connection with an incident in which a shotgun was fired at the door of a dormitory on Assiniboine Road at around 6:45 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 18, reported CP24.com Feb. 23. “It is deeply concerning to all of us that the alleged suspect, a member of our student community, has so seriously compromised the safety of everyone at York,” York Vice-President Finance & Administration Gary Brewer told a police news conference. “I want to assure everyone that the safety and well-being of all our community members is paramount.” Read full story.

The food industry’s ‘real’ message
Food advertising has shifted to reassuring consumers of the natural, authentic sources for their products, wrote The Globe and Mail Feb. 23, but there is a disconnect when it comes to pop and fast food brands pushing a “real” and “wholesome” brand strategy. “It’s total B.S., of course,” said Alan Middleton, a marketing professor at York University’s Schulich School of Business.  Read full story.

Wilders against the Slavs
Willem Maas
, Jean Monnet Chair at York University’s Glendon College and author of Creating European Citizens, suspects Dutch Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders launched an anti-Slav website as a diversion from criticism of his support for government cutbacks. It’s worked, wrote Macleans in its March 5 issue. A recent poll shows a spike in his party’s popularity, giving it a projected 24 seats were an election held today. (No link available.)

Critics say Ottawa skimped on caregiver tax credit
A closer look at the numbers behind a federal 15-per cent, non-refundable tax credit to those caring for family members reveals it may not do much to help make ends meet, reported CTV News Feb. 23. Not only does the credit amount to just 82 cents a day – about $300 annually – but many of those it’s intended to help, don’t qualify. “If you’re already too low income to pay any tax, then you lose out, you can’t access the credit,” said Lisa Philipps, a tax law expert from York’s Osgoode Hall Law School. Read full story.

Expert criticizes mayor’s ‘tough on crime’ message
Thunder Bay Mayor Keith Hobbs has pledged to challenge the judiciary to get tough on crime, reported CBC News Feb. 23, in a story that cited comments by Robert MacDermid, professor of political science in York University’s Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies. MacDermid said he was surprised to hear that a mayor would be making such comments. “We’re deluding ourselves if we take his word at face value, because really, he doesn’t have any influence over the application of law – nor should he,” MacDermid said. Read full story.

Studying history and culture in Italy with York University
John Picchione
, professor in York’s Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, spoke with the Italian-Canadian weekly Tandem News about the Summer Program in Italy offered by the Department of Languages, Literatures & Linguistics. “The course becomes the cue and starting point for the discovery of the great Italian historical, cultural and artistic heritage, while at the same time a great opportunity for the student to expand and enrich his own cultural store of knowledge,” said Picchione. Read full story.

Meet a Toronto-Danforth Candidate: Craig Scott
Craig Scott is a professor in York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School and a human rights activist, wrote torontoist.com Feb. 23 in a profile of the NDP candidate for the byelection in Toronto-Danforth. It was because of a sense of duty that he decided to seek the NDP nomination, which he won in January. “The country is going to have a hard time surviving the Conservatives,” he said. “I don’t think we’ll be able to recognize ourselves if they win again. We need to produce an alternative in 2015 for Canadians.” Read full story.

Road tolls may be way of future
Just like municipal water, all of Ontario’s roads should be metered and paid for when they are travelled on, Transport Futures founder Marty Collier (MES ’05) told YorkRegion.com Feb. 23. “People often say to me, ‘Well, that’s just a tax grab’, but I say, it’s a time grab,” the York University graduate said. Read full story.