Should York University accept funding that is contingent upon agreeing to remove a controversial piece of art? Without the ability to explore and express ideas that are troubling and even transgressive, universities would become mills that deliver pre-approved doses of information in community sanctioned packets.
Many Canadians are sitting back smugly stating how horrible and thank goodness that would never happen here, but if you believe this, you live in a bubble. Just look at what happened at York University last week. A hate filled piece was distributed by an anonymous group arguing the school would be better without people of different cultures. Hate isn't geographical, it is universal and based in fear of differences. Every city, state, province, business and government in North American needs to face facts, the issue isn't diversity. Look at the demographics. We are diverse, the issue is inclusion.
By demanding a male student have no interaction with female students didn't the university administration disregard the right of female students to full and equal status at York University? Didn't the university administration fail in its duty to make efforts to protect the female students from gender discrimination?
I honestly can't think of a major religion that forbids men from meeting in public with a group of women. And honestly, if this restriction existed, how would you even function in the world? Regardless of whether the student's request is legitimate, let's talk about the fact that certain people quite high up in the university's food chain were willing to grant the accommodation that the student was seeking. A secular university -- I seriously cannot stress that point enough -- was more than willing to make an exception based on a religious belief that women were ultimately so different from men that the two genders could not interact in public.
Gunjan Sondhi recently completed her PHD in Migration Studies from the Sussex Center for Migration Research at the University of Sussex, UK. She is currently a resident affiliate at CERIS, York University, Canada. I caught up with her as she was about to present her thesis at a conference at York University.
The Suburban Revolution conference held at York University in Toronto highlighted the diversity of suburbs in the Greater Toronto Area and around the world, emphasizing an area too often neglected by policy-makers, academics and journalists. Toronto's chief planner, Jennifer Keesmaat, has asserted that suburbs are not dying, but rather changing.
The year 2012 saw some scandals in Canada. There was the exposure of the multi-million dollar Ornge Air Ambulance scandal, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency scandal in Alberta, and the Robocall scandal. Did we spend a lot of time, money, and energy investigating and analyzing these scandals? Yes. Is there a sure way to avoid these problems for the next year, 2013?
Many perceive childhood as a time of simplicity and play. However, children show stress in complex ways that can represent serious signs of anxiety or a nervous system that is overloaded. Our ability to reach as many kids as possible, teaching them the skills to manage their stress, can make all the difference in their future success.