York to protect academic freedom

In a clear nod to concerns over a joint program planned with Jim Balsillie’s think tank, York University officials have asked a Senate committee to rework the guarantee of academic freedom and bring it back for Senate approval next month, reported the Toronto Star March 22. At an intense Senate meeting Thursday over the proposed $60-million international law program with the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI), Patrick Monahan, York vice-president academic & provost, also suggested the Senate committee serve as an ongoing watchdog once the program is running, to guard its academic affairs from outside interference. “It was a very challenging but ultimately constructive discussion,” said Monahan. History Professor Craig Heron, a member of Senate, said Thursday he felt “quietly good that York is now aware of the need for consultation.” Read full story.

Mountie spies grilled Herbert Norman’s widow years after diplomat killed himself
The RCMP spied on the widow of Herbert Norman more than a decade after the Canadian diplomat — dogged by unproven accusations of Cold War disloyalty — leapt from a building to his death in Cairo, reported The Canadian Press March 22, in a story about revelations from newly declassified records. The RCMP’s targeting of Irene Norman long after her husband’s demise is bizarre, said Reg Whitaker, a York distinguished research professor emeritus. “What were they doing interviewing Mrs. Norman 12 years after?” said Whitaker, who has written extensively about Norman. “It puts them in a very negative light. It gave me a really bad feeling reading that stuff.” Read full story.

Student’s contest winnings aid youth shelter
Etobicoke’s Youth Without Shelter received $5,000 in donations from York University student Brittany Rusinek on Monday, thanks to her winning the money in a contest sponsored by Pepsi, reported InsideToronto.com March 22. Since discovering the shelter, Rusinek wanted to support the homeless youth in whatever way she could. Winning the money in the contest gave her that opportunity. Read full story.

Cobourg legal revolutionary honoured
Not everyone who comes to the Cobourg courthouse knows that it was a Cobourg resident that they have to thank for the Legal Aid Ontario program, reported Northumberland Today March 23, in a story about a new display dedicated to Osgoode Hall Law School grad Andrew Lawson (BARR ’55). Lawson will also be remembered by a scholarship for Osgoode students funded by a bequest in his will. Read full story.