Ontario to expand French postsecondary education

The Ontario government unveiled a project Oct. 24 dedicated to making French-language programs more accessible to college and university francophone students, reported the Charlatan Nov. 13. Through its Action Plan for French-Language Postsecondary Education, the government granted $16.5 million to various universities and colleges. The funds will be distributed over the next three years to assist in expanding French-language programming and services. . . . At York University’s Glendon College, funding will be going toward expanding the language training centre and French-language programming in its communications, business, biology, foundations of law and psychology courses. Read full story.

FICCI signs MoU with SICI to raise engagement with Canada on higher education
Ved Prakash, chairman of the University Grants Commission in India, has pinpointed that the three-pronged challenge faced by the Indian higher education sector as diversification of university campuses, widening of curricula to achieve excellence in all disciplines and bringing equity into the system. . . . Mamdouh Shoukri, president and vice-chancellor of York University, pointed out that the time had come to go beyond mere student exchange programs. The need of the hour was to internationalize higher education as the knowledge economy was increasingly being driven by knowledge workers and the younger generation in much larger numbers was seeking to pursue postsecondary education. “The next generation of citizens of the world will be the people who can live with people of other nationalities. That would make for a prosperous global economy and a peaceful world,” said Shoukri in India Education Review Nov. 13. Read full story.

New type of quasar found, baffling scientists
Astronomers have discovered a new type of quasar – an incredibly bright galactic core powered by a supermassive black hole – that current theory fails to predict, reported Space.com Nov. 12. Models predict that a quasar’s light and heat should push nearby gas out from the center and toward the fringes of the host galaxy. The newly found quasars do demonstrate this behaviour, but, surprisingly, some of the gas also appears to be falling back to the centre. “Matter falling into black holes may not sound surprising,” said study lead author Patrick Hall, a professor at York University. “But what we found is, in fact, quite mysterious and was not predicted by current theories.” Read full story.

Update: 2,357 current death toll from super typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda); world unites, responds to Philippines’ call of mercy
It takes a natural disaster of major catastrophic proportions like Category 5 super typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) for the world to literally stop, forget its selfish cares and unite for a common good. . . . Organizations collecting donations mostly accept everything given to them, but admit that cash donations are most preferred. . . . One cannot find fault in people who donate noodles, corned beef and peanut butter for a donation drive. “It’s what people imagine is necessary,” said York University Professor Jennifer Hyndman in the International Business Times Nov. 14. “It comes from the right place. You know it’s a heartfelt desire to do something,” said Hyndman, a former relief worker who helped after the 2004 tsunami in Southeast Asia. Read full story.

Harper’s boon to the arbitration industry
“More broadly, the Harper government is working hard to expand this novel legal architecture of globalization. The architecture shifts bargaining power toward the most powerful private economic actors in the world and away from the institutions and processes that represent virtually everyone else,” wrote Osgoode Hall Law School Professor Gus Van Harten in the Tyee Nov. 14. “It is an open question how extensively this will constrain future governments and expose taxpayers to liability in the years to come. Recent developments at ICSID and other forums give cause for serious concern.” Read full story.

Racism in academia: Addressing racial oppression in postsecondary education
An undercurrent of whiteness and Eurocentric thinking in Canadian culture does not seem ready to accept the changing complexion of the Canadian nation. . . . Universities are seats of learning, where characters are carved and minds are moulded. We should remember that sowing seeds of hate and division here is not only painful, but also alarming, because it may slowly creep into all segments of society. . . . In a study conducted by Professor Enakashi Dua of York University, based on interviews with 14 human rights or equity officers at various Canadian universities, she concludes that “the most powerful barrier to implementing policies to control racism is the lack of willingness of the senior administrators to address systematic and structural racism,” reported Rabble.ca Nov. 14. Read full story.

Is Rob Ford Canada’s most embarrassing politician ever?
“Of course we can recall the cabinet minister in Saskatchewan Colin Thatcher found guilty of murdering his wife. Or Richard Hadfield in New Brunswick who famously cruised around in his limo looking for young men,” said York University Professor Dennis Pilon in News1130 Nov. 14. He also mentioned Premier Gordon Campbell’s famous DUI. But Pilon said with Ford, “I feel like we are caught in a live reality show where every week some crazy new event will ensue.” Read full story.

Rob Ford fiasco a warning to B.C. on four-year civic council terms
Crack cocaine use, drunken stupors and alleged criminal associations. This is how Toronto is becoming known around the world, thanks to the ongoing saga that is Mayor Rob Ford, reported Victoria News Nov. 13. And as fruitless calls for his resignation grow louder, and the mayor digs his heels in deeper, a former University of Victoria political scientist says British Columbia should use this unfolding story as a political learning opportunity. Dennis Pilon, now an associate professor in the Department of Political Science at Toronto’s York University, warns that issues like this – although rare – should deter B.C.’s provincial government from increasing terms for municipal politicians from three years to four. Read full story.

Reel Toronto: ‘The Prince and Me’
It’s one of the great questions of all time: Can a royal prince and a common-but-beautiful North American gal find true love? One of the films that has tackled this great and timeless question is The Prince and Me, starring the otherwise-talented Julia Stiles and Luke Mably, who is handsome and has a British accent. . . . But what you could not possibly have known until this very moment is that they shot in Toronto, reported the Torontoist Nov. 13 . . . Probably the film’s most important setting is the student centre/bar where the characters work, talk, fall in love etc. Those scenes were actually shot up at York University’s Student Centre. When they enter the building, you can even see one of the kajillion TTC buses that circle the loop there in the background. Then they go downstairs into this rather lively area, which is actually the usually-not-so-lively Underground at York. Read full story.