All Posts Tagged With: "York University"
Instead of drinking, focus on the sex predators next door
Last month, hundreds paraded through the campus of the University of British Columbia to protest sexual violence, speciﬁcally six unsolved late-night outdoor attacks on female students since April. A hooded predator prowling dark grounds in search of coeds is a familiar conceit, one that informs how we think of sexual violence on campuses. Recently it was given airing in a Toronto Life story that claimed increased safety measures at Toronto’s York University, where women receive “rape whistles” at orientation, haven’t prevented campus grounds from being “a hunting ground for sexual predators.” (The school has taken legal action, claiming the article “presents a wholly distorted picture of women’s safety on the campus.”) Yet the UBC march to “Take Back the Night”—a rallying cry since the ’70s—bristled with more nuanced references to the reality of campus sexual assault, the vast majority of which are never reported nor easily framed in black-and-white terms. Signs held high connected the current attacks with entrenched “rape culture”—sexual violence being ignored, condoned and normalized, witnessed in the “rape chant” on the UBC campus in September. Other placards decried the RCMP reporting some UBC victims were wearing short skirts: “My little black dress does not mean yes,” read one.
UBC administration responded to concerns and fear with predictable reassurances. President Stephen Toope described the university as “one of the safest campuses in North America” and announced “unprecedented police and security measures to make sure students feel safe.”
Universities help first-year students with mentors and more
Shari-Ann Baker, who was born and raised in Jamaica, moved to Toronto in 2010 to attend York University. Her first assignment was an essay for a Canadian studies course. Baker got a B, a mark she was able to improve after learning about the school’s Writing Centre: Her next assignment, for a sociology course, received an A. York’s various facilities, programs and clubs, such as the Community of United Jamaicans, were invaluable in helping her get settled. “People say you’ll get worse grades than in high school,” says Baker, now 22, in her fourth year of a linguistics degree. “If you take advantage of resources on campus, I don’t think it’s a problem.”
First year is a precarious time, fraught with new challenges and responsibilities—both academic and personal. Suddenly, “the world sees you as an adult,” says Barry Townshend, manager of the Centre for New Students at the University of Guelph. “A lot of responsibility comes with that,” from getting to class on time to paying rent, not to mention choosing an academic direction that will help with a future career. It’s a lot of pressure, all at once. Universities are increasingly finding a way to support students through this transition with writing centres, advisers, academic coaches and mentors.
Future lawyers push for more practical skills
Laura McGee entered law school three years ago planning on a career negotiating international trade deals. By second year, reality set in.
“Once you look at recruiting opportunities, you start to think, ‘Who’s going to pay me to practise international law?’”
Staring down a six-figure debt, she decided to explore her options on Bay Street, Canada’s corporate capital, where there’s plenty of work for young lawyers. To her surprise, the University of Toronto didn’t offer many ways to get business-law skills or test drive a corporate career. The school’s clinics, where students get credit and hands-on experience with clients, offered exposure to Aboriginal law, poverty law and family law, but—ironically for a school one subway stop from Bay Street—not business. “You learn to think in law school,” she says, “but you don’t learn how to practise as a lawyer.” Seeing a gap, she circulated a petition proposing a business-law clinic. About 200 students, a third of the class, signed within two days.
Western business schools scramble to set up overseas
For Dezsö Horváth, the dean of York University’s Schulich School of Business, there’s no small amount of irony in India’s recent decision to allow foreign universities to confer degrees in the South Asian country of 1.2 billion. The widely expected but long-delayed ruling came on Sept. 10—one week after Schulich planned to welcome the first wave of students to a brand-new, $100-million campus in Hyderabad. The ambitious project was put on hold last year after it became clear that the foreign universities bill, first proposed in 2010, would not be approved by this fall.
Horváth now predicts it will be mid-2014 before all the details are ironed out, meaning the earliest Schulich could open in Hyderabad would be two years from now. In the meantime, Schulich has forged a partnership with the philanthropic arm of India’s GMR Group, the infrastructure company that has agreed to build Schulich’s Indian campus. Under the temporary arrangement, students will spend a year studying in India before coming to Toronto to complete their degrees.
Medical schools address conflict-of-interest
When Toronto family doctor Navindra Persaud was studying medicine at the University of Toronto in 2004, he took a week-long course on how to treat patients suffering from chronic pain. But something was missing from the lessons.
While there was a growing body of evidence about the risks—addiction, overdose, death—related to opioids such as OxyContin, the negative effects were minimized. Instead, students learned about “strong, consistent” research to support prescribing the drugs to patients with chronic pain unrelated to cancer. Persaud says he and his peers left the lectures with an “incomplete and partially inaccurate” picture of how to treat patients.
At the time, he didn’t think there was anything wrong with the classes. Now he knows the lecturer had been previously paid to speak about pain management on behalf of Purdue Pharma LP, the makers of OxyContin. And the free textbook handed out to students? It was published by the drug company, as well. Just three years later, in 2007, Purdue paid more than $600 million, one of the biggest drug settlements in U.S. history, to resolve criminal charges and civil liabilities for misleading health care professionals about OxyContin’s addictive properties.
Student unions need to choose performers carefully
It is suddenly fashionable for student unions to cancel performers, often at great cost, after deciding they’ve done something reprehensible.
Student unions at Carleton University and the University of Ottawa dropped rapper Rick Ross this summer after complaints about lyrics that endorsed date-rape drugs. Ross, who was fired by Reebok over the same song, apologized.
Earlier this month, Western students cancelled Sean Kingston’s performance when they learned of a rape charge against him and then felt the need to apologize after his replacement Classified was accused of joking about rape on stage.
So it wasn’t surprising that the York Federation of Students cancelled A$AP Rocky last week after they learned he was charged with hitting a female fan at a Philadelphia concert. What might raise eyebrows is their choice of replacement. If you’re worried about misogyny—the message York’s Federation of Students is projecting by cancelling A$AP—Major Lazer might not be the best choice.
It’s one big party this week from Acadia to Western
Instagram and Twitter feeds from Acadia to Western are bursting with photos of raucous football games, wild parties and budding friendships. We’ve gathered the best shots of #frosh 2013 so far and plan to post many more. Want to be part of our coverage? Tweet your frosh photos to @maconcampus now. Want more? Add us on Facebook and visit Maclean’s On Campus daily.
“Peeping toms” reported on campuses from coast to coast
Police in Waterloo, Ont. arrested a 31-year-old non-student on Thursday and charged him with voyeurism after he was, “observed using a cell phone to take video of unsuspecting females as they used a staircase on the campus.”
It wasn’t an isolated incident at Waterloo, nor are “peeping toms” rare on Canadian campuses. During the last school year there were at least half-a-dozen media reports of men filming, photographing or otherwise spying on female students from New Brunswick to British Columbia.
Multiple students reported a man lurking in the women’s washroom at Toronto’s York University.
Hugh Podmore knows what he wants in a roommate
Hugh Podmore is moving from Montreal to Toronto to start his master’s degree in Earth and Space Science at York University this fall. Like most students, he began his roommate search with an ad on the classified site Craigslist. Unlike most students, he spent four hours putting it together.
His comedic stop-motion film paid off. The ad was posted to Reddit and shared on Twitter and at least 30 people in Toronto’s tight student housing market replied. He’s also had countless offers of friendship from Torontonians and some from Italians too (a local news site picked up the story).
As you can see from the ad below, he’s doesn’t smoke, keeps things clean, is “quiet but social” and socially open-minded. Still, he was having trouble finding the right place before he posted the film. “I sent out a bunch of e-mails to convey a sense of my personality and what I thought was important in a roommate but I didn’t feel that I was really getting the message across,” he says. “The pictures were a way to say, hey, this is who I am, this is what I’m like, if this appeals to you, get in touch.”
Podmore is thrilled at the response. “Everyone’s really helpful and eager to help me get settled in this new city which is really incredibly nice,” he says. He’s seems nice too: “I will be walking around Toronto all of the next three days, so if people see me on the street, come say hi,” he says.
Students in Calgary, where flooding has exacerbated a shortage of rentals, should definitely watch.
York professor and Waterloo student deserve a closer look
A men’s issues event I reported on in March at the University of Toronto drew masked protesters who were there to intimidate people, city police there to keep things in order and it was, inevitably, delayed by a fire alarm. What followed was a rather lightweight critique of women’s studies from University of Ottawa professor Janice Fiamengo.
I was pleased that free speech prevailed, as it was by no means assured. A lecture a few months earlier hosted by the same men’s issues group, The Canadian Association for Equality, was almost shut down. Protesters accused professor Warren Farrell of “hate speech” for, among other things, his controversial views on date rape.
CAFE will host another provocative professor, Lionel Tiger, tonight in Toronto. That event will be at a private venue off campus where the group will raise funds for a men’s centre.
Analyzing the many reports of sexual assaults on campus
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.
Access Copyright takes York University to court
There’s a battle brewing in the world of Canadian academia.
On one side stands Access Copyright, a collective which has provided institutions access to a pool of protected intellectual work for more than two decades while distributing royalties to the writers, artists and publishers it represents.
On the other is a group of universities who no longer feel the need to pay for the services offered by the collective, opting instead to navigate the world of intellectual property rights without a middle agent.
Simmering tensions are now threatening to boil over as Access Copyright takes one of Canada’s largest universities to court — a move some see as a warning to others who’ve ended relations with the agency.
What students are talking about today (April 2nd)
1. The star of the MTV reality show Buckwild has died. Shane Gandee and two men, also dead, were last seen leaving a local bar in the rural town of Sissonville, West Virginia. They told bar patrons they were going to drive their truck off-road, a sport known as “muddin’” among the country-loving college-aged kids followed by MTVs cameras. The gossip site TMZ reports that carbon monoxide poisoning is being explored as a possible cause of death and that Gandee’s truck’s exhaust pipe may have been blocked by mud.
2. Twenty people, including some students, were displaced by a fire that destroyed two townhouses and damaged a third near York University on Monday, reports CBC News. York administration offered those affected by the fire temporary shelter.
Jewish students say they’re victims of discrimination
This decision was made during a meeting called by the YFS’ executive members on March 21, when a motion was put forth to endorse the campaign, resulting in a vote of 18-2 in favour.
Approximately 200 undergraduate students attended the meeting.
Safiyah Husein, vice-president equity of the YFS, says the movement is a form of “international solidarity with the Palestinian call for justice, equality, and an end to the occupation,” that, “puts pressure on institutions to divest from companies currently funding weaponry for the Israeli military.”
More than 5,000 students signed a petition asking the YFS to discuss the BDS issue, says Husein.
What students are talking about today (March 27th)
1. Students at Trent University are boycotting Aramark, the corporate campus food provider. They say it’s all about “food justice.” Sustainable Trent and others have given out hundreds of free meals as part of their campaign. “With nutritious vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, and even local grass-fed meat options, this food is a much-needed remedy for students who struggle daily to meet their needs with Aramark’s limited and often processed selection at its cafeteria,” according to The Arthur student newspaper. This apparently isn’t just about food, but about “the tar sands, the prison industrial complex, and weapons manufacturing.” Who knew?
2. Toronto Police have arrested a 19-year-old from Maple, Ont. following two alleged “indecent acts” at York University. Police report that the same thing happened twice: on March 13 and March 21 the male student, visiting from another school, was in a lab and staring at a female when things turned, umm, indecent. Police say there may have been other incidents. The Excalibur student newspaper reports that York administration had not sent out a security bulletin email to students, as of March 25. There wasn’t a bulletin posted on its security bulletins website either, as of noon today.
What students are talking about today (February 22nd)
1. Students at Brandon University were excited for some metal after KISS frontman Gene Simmons posted earlier this month on his website that the band would play July 18th in the Wheat City. Both The Quill and the Brandon Sun reported the news but now the date has now disappeared from Simmons’ website and it’s unclear whether they’re even coming. This may not seem like a big deal to most of us, but it shows how desperate students in small cities are for entertainment.
2. Here’s disturbing news. Daniel Younis, 24, was Recruiting Coordinator and Running Back coach for the York University Lions football team when he was arrested this month for luring a child under 18 and attempting to make child pornography following Internet chats with a 16-year-old boy.
Universities aren’t doing much to help students plan careers
From the 2013 Student Issue on sale now.
Mike St. Jean is in his seventh year of political science at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ont. “I still don’t even know what I can do with my degree,” he says. “I can get a job in government or elections, but other than that, the transition seems hard to lay out. I read books and analyze them. What does that mean to the real world?”
It’s not as if it hit him suddenly. The question “What’s next?” is one of the reasons he dropped down to part-time studies in year four of his degree. Another reason was that he needed time for his part-time job and his work with the Argus student newspaper, where he’s now an editor.
Lakehead’s counsellors haven’t helped. He only visited them once, years ago, and was told to consider a master’s in English or an education degree. “I don’t know how many jobs there are for teachers,” he says. What he does know is that a friend who took education moved to England because she couldn’t find work here. A master’s didn’t strike him as a good plan, either; he’s seen multiple master’s graduates and one Ph.D. apply for low-wage jobs at the Subway where he works. Professors are encouraging, but they don’t offer career advice. His parents want to help, but “they think university is about curing cancer and rocket science,” he says. “They have no idea what I’m in.”
Artist Deanna Bowen says work is meant to be provocative
Three Ku Klux Klan banners prominently displayed in the vitrines overlooking York University’s Accolade East colonnade are causing people who pass by everyday to literally trip over themselves.
These pieces are part of a daring art exhibition at the Art Gallery of York University entitled Invisible Empires, which presents a collection of archival material that shows how the violent white supremacist organization had a role in 20th century Canadian history—not just American history as many Canadians likely believe.
Hanging such banners on campus seemed likely to cause an uproar among people of colour, and some were indeed initially upset. However, it seems to have sparked a conversation.
“They’re not put up to be harmful,” says Deanna Bowen, the black Toronto artist behind the exhibit. The banners are “meant to get you inside to hear more about this history.”
Travel and fine dining required (but it’s not all glamourous)
Michele Simpson is a manager of media relations for Tourism Toronto. Her job is to encourage foreign travel writers to visit the city and, while they’re in town, she shows them where to go and what to do. Simpson’s goal is to show off the best of what Toronto has on offer so that they’ll share it with their readers, encouraging more visitors.
She found public relations serendipitously. While studying psychology and humanities at York University, her sister opened a book of post-graduate programs at Seneca College, started reading about corporate communications and noted how much it sounded like Michele. On top of the B.A. and the Seneca certificate, Simpson holds a writing certificate from George Brown College.
Here she talks about the ups, the downs, the pay and the perks of her public relations career.
Is P.R. as glamourous as it looks on TV?
One of the reasons I got into P.R. was because it did look somewhat glamourous. But it is not. There are different facets of P.R. where it can be glamourous, but for the most part it’s a lot of hard work. A lot of hours are put in before you even get to that party or premiere or special event. Even when you’re at these events you’re still working. I know in the past a lot of TV shows or movies have glamourized P.R., but people are surprised when they find out how much goes into the work.
What students are talking about today (January 11th)
1. The Waldorf, a two-year old arts venue in Vancouver’s east end, has been sold to developers. Artists are, unsurprisingly, enraged. Grimes was among those who played the tiki-themed multi-room venue. Her Tweet on Thursday captures the reaction to the closure: “wow vancouver is so f*d if they shut down the waldorf. f*k this city. you’ve destroyed nearly every piece of culture that you had.” Rhys Edwards, wrote this in a piece for The Ubyssey’s blog: “The Waldorf is one more victim in the amorphous onslaught of gentrification in a city that simply does not prioritize cultural activities that do not promote economic development.” Without the Waldorf, she says, Vancouver will be less weird.
2. Emma Teitel says she can’t do simple math and she’s blaming the pressure to perform, which in her case took the form of the “Mad Minute,” an exercise where students race against a clock to do as much arithmetic as possible. This created a fear of math and caused her to give up. She points out that Finnish students, who don’t face much pressure from teachers, perform best in the world.