Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Yet again, controversy stalks Lorna

York's president Lorna Marsden is often accused of being too pro-Israel - except when she is being accused of being too anti-Israel. Controversy has popped up yet again in the form of a scandal regarding who gets honorary doctorates.

York's media release describes honoree Richard Falk as "an eminent professor of international law" who "has been highly critical of Israeli policies".

Translation: A man who accuses Israel of attempted genocide has been awarded an honorary doctorate of laws.

The Jewish Tribune article quotes Falk as saying “It was time to realize that the occupation was not only illegal and criminal, but an exterminist one that sought to obliterate the very existence of the Palestinian people.”

The Canadian Jewish News article offers a response by Osgoode's Dean who notes that the complaints are "unfair" since Falk is opposed to suicide bombing.

Well, that changes everything. He opposes suicide bombing. Call the Pope. Maybe there's time to squeeze in a canonization. Or the Queen. Knighthood, here he comes.

Google "Richard Falk" and prepare for some interesting reading.

See the problem with York is that they don't get that there is nothing technically wrong with giving a doctorate to an academic whose views are controversial. But the York admin gets all hot and bothered when people shy away from coming here because of the Mideast tensions on campus.

Deal with it, Lorna. You open the door to controversy, and now it's come in for tea.

In related news, Falk will be speaking at CUNY's Graduate Center conference on Al-Qaeda. I'm sure that will be a real treat.

Sunday, June 20, 2004

York Quote of the Week

So this isn't a real feature the way "whiner of the month" is, but this is too funny to not blog.

In this North York Mirror article about the subway to York that council wants to build, one councillor notes that a subway will take years to build, and that two years need to be added because of an environmental assessment.

"If God had to go through an EA, he would never have created the world," said Ward 36 Councillor Brian Ashton (Scarborough Southwest."

Amen.

Friday, June 18, 2004

Reader Feedback, part two: Excal chatters slander me

So I made the mistake of posting the URL to this in a post I wrote in an Excalibur forum, where we were talking about the federal election.

I got majorly dissed for my troubles.

One poster wrote:
"It's so funny to see someone claim they and they alone 'speak the truth.'"

Which I so don't claim. All I say is that not all of the truth is what we see written about in the York media and national media, so I present the truth as I see it, so people can realize that you don't have to follow the "Excalibur" or "Toronto Star" version of the truth because different people have different truths. And Blogger is a good way to add my voice to the chorus of voices.

A second poster wrote:

"Judging by her rants against Excal, I'm guessing they must have rejected her "writing pieces", (I use the term loosely)."

Such slurs. Now, of course you readers out there have to trust me on this one, but I can safely say that Excalibur has NEVER rejected a contribution I made to the paper.

But at least I know I've made it - now that people hate me.

And that's the truth about - oh, whatever.

Reader Feedback, part one: Students For Academic Freedom

So one interested reader sent along an URL for an organization called Students For Academic Freedom, which gets involved in the issue of students being intimidated in the classroom for having the "wrong" point of view.

I think we all know that I think this reader, who says s/he is a York student, is right on the money that we need to be thinking about people getting silenced in our often one-sided classrooms.

And that's the truth about York.

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Don't be absurd

The Canadian Federation of Students has sunk to even lower depths of idiocy. In their election report card, they give an A to the NDP, a C to the Liberals, and an F to the Tories.

The funniest absurdity?
The line on page 8 that says "Should the Liberal Party put their leader’s promise in writing, the Liberal platform’s grade would jump to a “B”.

The same way Dalton signed a pledge? Give me a break.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Three cheers for fearmongering

Retired York prof Virginia J. Rock has signed a news release-cum petition stating that Stephen Harper is the big, bad wolf and will stick it to women if elected.

Fortunately, Rock is retired, otherwise, I might feel compelled to look on the York courses website and of course RateMyProfessors.com and think seriously if this is a person from whom I wish to study.

But that's beside the point.

Here's my question: Is it inappropriate for Virginia Rock to use her title as a York prof to gain credibility? The site does have the disclaimer that "Organizations are included for identification purposes only. The following women have signed this statement in their individual capacity."

Any thoughts, random York students out there?

Email thetruthaboutyork-AT-yahoo[dot]ca.

We need to be thinking about the messages our profs are sending to us.

And that's the truth about York.

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Reading between the lines

I've been critical of many people and organizations before, not the least of which is the Canadian Federation of Students.

It now appears that they and the political stooges who represent them at York have derailed the planned defederation, putting their needs ahead of the rest of us at York, who are sick of their shenanigans.

We're apparently not the only ones who want out.

Defederation was proposed in February, by the new council. Concerns people had included the fact that the CFS ran a war on Iraq strike and shut down classes, which is extremely inappropriate. Most people can't even tell you what continent Iraq is on. It seems ridiculous that they are stopping classes to do something so insignificant - did they actually think their protest was going to change anything? - and so divisive, yet claim to represent us all.

Though the democratically elected council passed defederation in April, a small group of people are still resisting.

It's time to add one more voice to this rowdy debate which shows a few select council members just talking back and forth on the same issue.

Here's my voice: We don't need a referendum to tell us that the CFS are hardliners and represent only a small, extreme minority of students.

We don't need a referendum to tell us that we need out.

And that's the truth about York.

Thursday, June 03, 2004

Paul, you listening?

Nobody saw Progress not Politics coming - none of those silly York political types did anyways.

The former York student government spent oodles of cash on political campaigns that pissed people off. They were instrumental in shutting down school in opposition to the war in Iraq, they fought against the ability of a certain student group to bring the speakers they wanted, and then they randomly extended their term.

Their constituents were pissed. The people they never expected to vote - all of us apathetic York types who do have a life outside of school - came out in numbers and voted in a group of virtual unknowns (PNP) who made a whole bunch of sexy promises, such as "we will not prevent you from going to class just because we have a political agenda to push".

Paul Martin should stop, look, and listen.

A government cannot expect to stay in power indefinitely if they are abusing the trust of their constituents. They cannot expect a fear-based stranglehold on power to last in the face of what we at York like to call "orderly democratic change".

I thought my voice didn't matter at York - until I voted PNP and saw that my actions could create change. Students don't want to vote because they think their votes don't count.

I learned at York that they do.

I am 22 years old. I have, statistically, a 27% (give or take) chance of voting in this election. But you better believe I'll be out there at the poll.

I am pissed. And my vote counts.

And together, we can affect change.

And that's the truth about York.