Is the media fair to York University?

I’ve covered student news for two years now. Time and again, I’ve seen headlines that looked like this one from yesterday’s Toronto Star: “Police investigate alleged sex assault at York University.” It’s less common to see headlines referring to sexual assaults at other schools, so it’s easy to assume York has a worse sexual assault problem. But this conclusion is probably wrong….The real problem may not be how much we hear about sexual assaults at York, but in fact how little we hear about them elsewhere, reported Maclean’s April 19. Read full story.

Canada’s greenest employers for 2013
Who’s the greenest in the land? In judging the myriad of employer initiatives submitted by this year’s applicants, the editors of Canada’s Top 100 Employers recognized those organizations where greening is entrenched in their way of thinking, guiding both how they operate now and plan to do business in the future, reported The Globe and Mail April 19….Companies named to the list, including York University, show a commitment to becoming increasingly sustainable through innovative and earth-friendly ways, such as York’s investment of $39.5 million over five years in its “Yorkwise” energy management system that aims to improve energy efficiency across the University. Read full story.

Jennifer Keesmaat has plans for Toronto
Toronto chief planner and York alumna Jennifer Keesmaat has burst onto the scene as one of the city’s most high-profile bureaucrats in memory. She has thousands of Twitter followers, organizes popular roundtables, has been mentioned more than 150 times in the print media and is in hot demand as a speaker. But she’s not comfortable with the adjectives that now trail in her wake, reported The Globe and Mail April 20. “Celebrity,” some commentators say; others call her a “rock star.” They’re descriptions she could do without. Read full story.

Investment club seeks good businesses at bargain prices
The York Finance Club is open to students of York University. For many years the club invested in equities by pooling money from members at the beginning of the school year and liquidating positions at year-end. “However, we recognized various problems with this model,” said Esper Nemi, the club’s president, in The Globe and Mail April 19. There was “an inability to adequately diversify, relatively large commission fees, short-time horizons and difficulty raising capital.” The club is now in discussions with the University administration “to set up an endowment fund for continuous investment.” If successful, the York Finance Club will be able to invest with a long-term horizon. Read full story.

Three Minute Thesis contest is ‘Canadian Idol’ for the geeky set
The Three Minute Thesis (3MT) contest drew master’s and PhD students from 16 Ontario universities to its first Ontario-wide competition, a race for a $1,000 cheque and a silver trophy donated by the Council of Ontario Universities, reported the Toronto Star April 20….York University’s Kamilla Pietrzyk’s research is on how our “culture of speed” makes social activists focus too little on the past and future, but she apologized as her time ran out, noting “ironically, I don’t have time to elaborate,” which drew laughs. Read full story.

‘Voluntourism’: Mixing vacations with charity work can harm as much as it helps
“It’s become very, very, very popular for high school kids and university students to have some kind of exposure to volunteering,” said Barbara Heron, a York University-based researcher, in the National Post April 22. “And because of the proliferation, and the lack of preparation, then you start to see some more problematic things happening.” Read full story.

Rolling the dice
Thomas Klassen, York University professor and author of Casino State: Legalized Gambling in Canada, believes state-run gambling is problematic in and of itself. When governments are looking to boost income, like they did in the ’90s when casinos were legalized in Ontario, gambling is often an attractive option. “Governments don’t like to increase taxes because that gets people all upset,” Klassen said in City Life Magazine April 19. “But the beauty of gambling, for governments, is that we’re free to not gamble.” Read full story.

Pragmatic preoccupations
“This past Tuesday afternoon I participated in another panel (‘tis the season!) about higher education, this time at the University of Toronto,” wrote York University PhD candidate Melonie Fullick in University Affairs April 19. “The panel was part of a pre-conference event for the Worldviews Conference on Media and Higher Education, addressing how the “pragmatic agenda” is represented in media coverage of higher education.” Read full story.

Law student from Ajax wins international legal competition
Osgoode Hall Law School students Rebecca Hall-McGuire and Ann Marina Guirguis brought home first-place for Canada in an international competition for law students, reported April 21. The annual event, known as the Louise M. Brown and Forrest S. Mosten International Client Consultation Competition, brought together students from 19 countries from April 3 to 6. The competition teaches participants how to build relationships with clients and offer more than black-and-white answers about law. Read full story.