York clears way for joint program with BlackBerry founder’s think tank

York University has been given the green light to launch a $60 million public-private partnership with BlackBerry co-founder Jim Balsillie’s think tank for a joint program in international law, reported the Toronto Star March 1. A senior University committee voted unanimously Thursday to approve the plan, which includes new provisions addressing concerns raised by some Osgoode Hall Law School professors about York’s ability to keep research and hiring decisions free from potential interference by the Waterloo-based Centre for International Governance Innovation. “If I hadn’t been convinced academic freedom would be guaranteed, I would have actively opposed the idea. But the new ‘protocol’ signed by both parties protects ‘the freedom to pursue research that may criticize the parties or a financial contributor,’ ” said physics Professor William van Wijngaarden, chair of York’s Senate, who also chaired the Thursday meeting of its Academic Policy, Planning & Research Committee. Read full story.

Don’t pit young against old
“It has become common for governments to blame baby boomers for increases in the cost of public services,” wrote York Professor Thomas Klassen, School of Public Policy & Administration, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, in an opinion piece for The Globe and Mail March 2, about proposed cuts to Old Age Security payments. Read full story.

Struggling with Shakespeare? There’s an app for that
Igor Djordjevic
, chair of the English program at York’s Glendon College , told CBC News online March 2 that he now uses a number of online tools – and humour – to help his students, but he has concerns about a new Shakespeare Smartphone app. “I fear that sometimes the design of apps, even if they’re intended for education, is trying to cater to an entertainment bent,” Djordjevic said.  Read full story.

Canadian composer makes TV music
“I swore to myself I would never, ever work in anything but music, so I quit [my job as a bellhop] and prepared for homelessness,” York grad Robert Duncan (BFA Spec. Hons. ’94) told the Sun newspapers’ QMI Agency, in a story that appeared March 2. Duncan, now 40 and living in Los Angeles, has become one of the most successful composers for television in Hollywood and was nominated for an Emmy last year for his opening and closing themes on the show, “Castle”. Read full story.

Adamo Ruggiero: Staying true in life and work
Italian-Canadian actor and York grad Adamo Ruggiero’s latest role is starring in David S. Craig’s stage adaptation of The Neverending Story, presented by Young People’s Theatre, wrote the Italian-Canadian weekly Tandem March 2. Ruggiero (BA Hons. ’11) is likely best known for playing the role of Marco Del Rossi in the second season of “Degrassi: The Next Generation”. “I always followed by instinct as a kid and my instinct always led me towards performance. It’s all I really know,” Ruggerio said. Read full story.