Universities feel ‘relief’ in the wake of Ontario budget

Ontario’s universities are feeling a measure of relief after the McGuinty government’s budget plans detailed somewhat gentler spending cutbacks for higher education compared with the rest of the public sector, reported The Globe and Mail March 28. “For postsecondary education to get that level of attention in such a tough budget, I’m fairly pleased and grateful,” said Mamdouh Shoukri, president of York University, referring to the province’s promise of 1.9-per cent average funding increases for higher education over the next three years. Read full story.

Judges shouldn’t be making social policy
Since the 1980s our biggest social questions have been decided by judges. Abortion, gay marriage, medical marijuana, Canada’s obligations to citizens imprisoned abroad and now prostitution are all highly contentious matters that were not resolved by Parliament but rather by judges, notes lawyer James Morton, who teaches at York’s Osgoode Hall Law School, in an opinion piece in the Ottawa Citizen March 27. The judges of appeal are top legal minds without doubt. But their training is in law and not social policy, he writes. In any reasonable societal arrangement, judges would decide individual cases based on laws passed by legislators whose job it is to decide social policy. But in Canada, that’s not the way things work. Read full story.

Life inside the camps
Dutch Jew David Koker’s extraordinary diary, a clear-eyed and sensitive account of life inside a concentration camp, is finally available in English, reported Tablet Magazine March 28. “In my opinion, it’s considerably more interesting than Anne Frank’s diary,” said Michiel Horn, a historian at York University and the book’s translator. Read full story.

NAC appoints York grad artistic director of English theatre
St. John’s director Jillian Keiley (BFA ’94) has been appointed to the country’s top job in English theatre, reported The Telegram March 28. In August, the award-winning founder of the Artistic Fraud Theatre Company will take over as the National Arts Centre’s (NAC) artistic director of English theatre. Read full story.

Keep Hamilton school open, residents plead
The people most affected by proposed high school closures in the lower city are those least likely to attend public meetings, according to Rob Fiedler, a York PhD student in urban geography, reported the Hamilton Spectator March 28. They are minorities and the less affluent, who tend to be less engaged “because they’re too busy making ends meet,” he explained. Read full story.