Perception Is Reality

Posts Tagged ‘york university

I have been the Editor of the Winters Free Press for roughly a year now. The Press is owned by the Winters College Council which looks over the finances of the Press. The Council also has severwfplogodavidal departments (or smaller versions of them), including finance, internal affairs, social-cultural, sports, etc.

Often times there is a conflict between the departments of the institutions which are in a constant tug-of-war, trying to accomplish their tasks.

Why does the tug of war exist? In the year that I have been editor, I have understood the issue to be of clarity and proactive engagement. Or lack thereof. It is essential that the various portfolios communicate their issues to each other to work out an efficient solution that works for both parties. The aim should be to utilize capacity efficiently, and to develop more capacity where the need exists.

If the problems are not approached in such a method, a system failure could result. It is also discouraging for members of institutions to see that their efforts are in vain, and their professional growth is being hindered, along with the growth of the organization.

Dalton Kehoe, a professor at York University and a consultant at Heart of The Matter teaches various organizational communication and interpersonal communication courses in order to bring more awareness about such issues, and perhaps come to solutions. Kehoe also imparts knowledge and understanding through his very practical workshops, including Appreciative Inquiry, D.I.A.L.O.G.U.E. talk, Leadership for Engagement, and so on. I believe that principles and values these workshops impart are fundamental to effective functioning of an organization.

My understand is this: if organizations do not find within their fundamental principles, the need (and consistent efforts) for efficiency and growth, they are simply not worth the time, effort, money, or manpower that is put in them. In a world with limited resources, it is essentially pertinent that organizations understand its internal workings to achieve harmony. Just like the various organs in the body.


In the last issue of the Winters Free Press (March Edition), I began a section called Meeting the Fellows. Who are Fellows?

Fellows are chosen from both inside the University community and outside in the world beyond the campus boundaries. They are selected on the basis of the contribution they can make to the academic, intellectual and artistic life of the Winters community

Who are fellows? (Winters College)

Most people however, are not aware of who the fellows are and what their role is. Each month we (try to) introduce a fellow by either interviewing them, or writing an article about the work they do. This allows both the students to recognize who the fellows are and what they stand for, and it allows for the appreciation of the revered members of our community.

The March issue had the following article. Please click the image for the full version. Stay tuned for more. If you would like to contribute to the Winters Free Press, please leave a message here and we will get in touch with you.

Onnig Cavoukian

Posted on: March 1, 2009

“Good afternoon. My remarks today will not be the usual variety of university news and topics, because the state of our affairs here at York is not usual, nor is it sustainable.”
-Mamdouh Shoukri, President of York University

President Shoukri, I have always had respect for you. Now I have newfound respect for you. You have spoken what has been on the mind of thousands of students and administrative staff.

Thank you

Many of you know that I am the editor of a publication at York University.

The Winters Free Press has existed for quite a few years, however, there has never been consistency. Seasoned community members have never mentioned the Winters Free Press, only Mondo (the predecessor). Mondo had what Winters Free Press lacked: a system.

Without a system, the Winters Free Press had been in turmoil. In re-evaluating the way we worked, I decided to lay down a foundation for the Press. With the CUPE 3903 Strike, I was situated in the perfect position: to start from scratch. This has been undoubtedly difficult, and has taken its toll on the York community. However, in darkness, it is easier to see the light (and the source of the light). We were able to look at what we were doing wrong, and by experience deduced what needed to be done to make things right.

In Islamic teaching, one must leave the world in a better condition than which one found it in. This, I paraphrase from His Highness the Aga Khan’s speeches. The same is true for communities. When you leave even a small community or student group, the impact of your actions when you were present still echo when you are no longer present.

The new system has kinks which we are ironing out. But it works. However, It doesn’t stop there. I am actively working on a document, a bible of sorts, to outline best practices and the method by which things got done. This is my legacy that I would like to leave behind, so that when the next editor is appointed, they can build up from there. They will know what works and what does not, and based on their circumstances, may be able to use the system, revise it and work it to their advantage. The point is, there will be a system to revise in the first place.

Be self-reflexive, manage well based on your reflection, and leave a legacy behind so that others too may reflect, manage well, and leave a legacy behind. This legacy may be built up on top like floors of a building. But you laid the foundation. And for that you will be remembered.

The following comes from Mr. Paul Swarney c/o Brenda Spotton

Here’s Brenda Spotton’s summary of our session on Wednesday.

1) There is no fixed date defined now beyond which a) students will “lose” their
year, and/or b) lose the summer term.

2) Students with a summer (May +) commitments should seek accommodation via a
deferred standing agreement with the instructor;l work out problems with the
Associate Dean.

3) Students won’t/can’t be told classes resume one day and then expected to
submit assignments/sit exams the very next day.

4) Students will graduate when they complete their program requirements; June
convocation will proceed once the Winter term is completed (n.b. having a date
set asap is important for planning to students with family coming from abroad).

5) Students expecting to take a course or two in the summer to complete their
degree requirements should contact the chair of the dept/Associate Dean of the
faculty once we know the dates and offerings of the summer term.

6) The Registrar has been in contact with all other Canadian universities to let
them know grades will be delayed and will write a letter to foreign
programs/universities explaining the situation, if asked.

7) Student Financial Services is the place to take up a financial petition–but
noting that the deadline for refunds passed before the strike started and the
lost course time will be made up (minus 1 week of 12).

8) YFS is taking up a student petition for partial tuition refund.

9) plus questions about metro passes, residence, and extra expenses …

Brenda Spotton Visano
School of Public Policy and Administration
York University
Toronto ON Canada M3J 1P3



The CUPE 3903 strike has been reminiscent of an element of our society that is highlighted by capitalism. We are never grateful, let alone satisfied with what we have. We do not take responsibility for our circumstances, blaming them on others. With CUPE3903’s demands, this became very obvious in their case. Two things I would like to highlight here:

1. Freedom of speech should not become a license (as remarked by His Highness the Prince Karim Aga Khan).
2. This is demonstrated in the current scenario we find ourselves in and highlights the onset of a failing democratic method.

I would like to share with you a few words regarding this from my memoir and would like to see if you can relate.

“Perhaps the most important thing in my life that has shifted energies from negativity to positivity has been gratitude. I have been through a phase where I have been extremely insecure, believing that I was not good enough for anyone or anything. I would externalize my problems, blaming circumstances for them. Little did I realize at that point that this discontentment came not from outside, but from within. The principal factor in my dissatisfaction with life had been my ungratefulness. It had become a rote routine to be thankful. To say it, to repeat it without meaning it. To friends, to strangers, to God. When I realized the power of gratitude, my perception of life changed. My vantage point had shifted. From externalizing my problems, to internalizing my satisfaction, I was grateful. A major transformation in literally minutes, sustained over long periods. For this reason, I call this gratitude, ‘Goditude.’ “

I cannot emphasize how detrimental the affects of this strike have been. Yet, I can proudly say that it has given me time and the opportunity to grow and develop. It has brought about significant change in my life. I think that this was a necessary event in my life. Perhaps, an intervention of sorts by God. No education could have given me the strength and understanding that I have now had it not been the strike.

I believe it is time to take a hard look at the situation, as students, as the contract faculty, and as the administration at York University. This time, however, let us look at ourselves. As members of an institution, of a democratic union. As individual members of society. Let us take a look at history to see how we have failed the democratic process. Let us be thankful for what we have, and shift our energies to the positive aspects of our life.

Enter Cliche: Obama talks about hope and change. Lets talk about hope and change. Within ourselves, for ourselves. Let us trust ourselves, perhaps. As theRock Obama said,

know your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy



Let us build a capable, competent society, a strong democracy, uniting bridges.

Reblogged from Mike Eadie’s facebook: (P.S. This list has 117 points. Please check the last part for the climax).

1. High school started before 8am, but now anything before noon is considered “early”.
2. You have more beer than food in your fridge.
3. Weekends start on Thursday.
4. 6am is when you go to sleep, not when you wake up.
5. You know many different ways to cook ramen noodles or macaroni and cheese.
6. The health center gives out free condoms, and people take them… just in case.
7. Instead of falling asleep in class, you stay in bed.
8. You know how late McDonald’s, Taco Bell, Qdoba, etc. are open.
9. You think it’s the weekend on a Wednesday and you don’t know what month it is.

10. You can’t remember the last time you washed your car.

Read the rest of this entry »

About the Author…

Born in Karachi, Pakistan in an Adventist hospital, I grew up in a city where on one side I experienced poverty and oppression, while on the other I had the good fortune of Tabish Bhimani being a member of an upper middle-class business family...more...

Twitter Updates

Error: Twitter did not respond. Please wait a few minutes and refresh this page.