Lee Lorch, Desegregation Activist Who Led Stuyvesant Town Effort, Dies at 98

Lee Lorch,a soft-spoken mathematician whose leadership in the campaign to desegregate Stuyvesant Town, the gargantuan housing development on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, helped make housing discrimination illegal nationwide, died Friday at a hospital in Toronto. He was 98. He died of natural causes, according to his daughter Alice Lorch Bartels. By helping to organize tenants in a newly built housing complex — and then inviting a black family to live in his own vacant apartment — Mr. Lorch played a crucial role in forcing the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, which owned the development, to abandon its whites-only admissions policy. His campaign anticipated the sit-ins and other civil rights protests to come, reported the New York Times March 2. [Mr. Lorch was professor emeritus of mathematics at York University.] Read full story.

The future of education has arrived
Engineering students at York will soon have a brand new home with the opening of the innovative Lassonde School of Engineering building in 2015, reported the Toronto Star Feb. 27. The building’s cloud-inspired design is meant to reflect and motivate the school’s mission of providing a creative biosphere for students. The new building will have zero classrooms or offices, instead focusing on open spaces where students can collaborate and work and learn alongside each other. Read full story.

Bruce Power pushes $15-billion upgrade with lead shareholders
Bruce Power is working to secure the commitment from its two leading shareholders to refurbish six Candu reactors at its Lake Huron site. . . . Both Bruce Power and OPG say they expect the cost of power from their refurbished Candus to be in the range of 7 to 9 cents per kilowatt-hour, which would be among the cheapest new sources of Ontario-produced power. But critics don’t trust those claims. They are “not credible in light of the track record of refurbishment,” said Mark Winfield, co-chair of the Sustainable Energy Initiative at York University, in The Globe and Mail Feb. 27. Read full story.

Behavioural problems in children due to stress: Expert
Children who are excessively moody, or aggressive, or lethargic, aren’t bad kids, said York University Professor Stuart Shanker in the Abbotsford News Feb. 27. They are stressed and sleep-deprived. Shanker spoke to a full house at the Abbotsford Arts Centre last Thursday night in a talk organized by the Abbotsford school district. Read full story.

Towards collective liberation: anti-racist organizing, feminist praxis and movement building strategy
Chris Crass is a longtime organizer working to build powerful working class-based, feminist, multiracial movements for collective liberation. . . . At York University on March 6, Crass will draw on the long legacy of white anti-racist organizing, to explore anti-racist organizing vision, strategies and lessons with the goal of deepening our understanding and commitment to anti-racist organizing as a key element in building larger movements for the liberation of all people, reported Rabble.ca Feb. 27. Read full story.

Storms battered City of Toronto to the tune of $171 million in 2013
A main concern during disasters is loss of electricity because of downed power lines. To deal with the problem, Niru Nirupama, head of York University’s Disaster & Emergency Management program, said burying power lines the same way gas lines are is a wise move. “This is expensive, but if the budget allocation can allow this transition to take place over the next 10 to 15 years, this will solve the problem of power outage during disasters,” he said in the Toronto Observer Feb. 27. To help minimize the damage from flash floods, Nirupama said improving drainage systems and smart development are key. Read full story.

Jewish diversity should be preserved, professor says
At York University, Professor Kalman Weiser often gets complaints from Sephardi students who tell him that he is marginalizing their stories, history and way of life. The courses at York are focused heavily on Judaism through an Ashkenazi lens. “There needs to be more positions for people who can teach about these things,” he said in the Canadian Jewish News Feb. 27. “We can always learn more and enrich the field.” Read full story.

Priscila Uppal: York resident prepares for debut of 6 Essential Questions
York University Professor Priscila Uppal wrote about the experience of meeting her estranged mother in her memoir Projections: Encounters with My Runaway Mother, which was published in the fall and nominated for last year’s Governor General’s Literary Award and Hilary Weston Prize for Non-Fiction, reported the York Guardian Feb. 27. While working on the memoir, which took 10 years to write, Uppal was simultaneously writing a play about the same subject, at the suggestion of Factory Theatre’s dramaturge Iris Turcott. Read full story.

Helping children be calm, alert and ready to learn
York University Professor Stuart Shanker maintains that Canadian children are dealing with an overwhelming amount of stress, reported Kawartha Lakes This Week Feb. 27. On Thursday, March 6 at 7pm, at St. Mary Catholic Elementary School in Lindsay, Ont., Shanker will discuss how new research on brain development is changing ideas about how we learn, teach and parent. Read full story.

Lombardi player of week
Mike Lombardi played an integral role in propelling the York University Lions men’s hockey team to a 7-5 road win over the Ryerson University Rams in their recent Ontario University Athletics game, reported the Richmond Hill Liberal Feb. 27. Read full story.

Nature’s past
Listen to a five-part series of podcasts discussing environmental history and its impact on Canada, reported Canada’s History Feb. 27. Hosted by York University history Professor Sean Kheraj as part of the Network in Canadian History & Environment (NiCHE) research network. Read full story.