From: Stanley Jeffers

Subject: "Why Did York Get Up Their Noses?"


 This is the title of a commentary in toady's G @ M (page A 15) by

Rick Salutin. He rips into Ibbitson and Wente for their vicious and snide

attacks on York, CUPE etc. Here's a few snippets-the full story is at-


   "The strike by teaching and graduate assistants, and contract faculty,

 made them bilious. Margaret Wente called York "one of the last places

  on Earth where grown men and women with good pay and job security

 style themselves as champions of the oppressed masses." Style? She

 lamented that they hadn't joined others "from the 60s" who have "sold

  out and become lawyers or stockbrokers or right-wing journalists."

                      This was a criticism. John Ibbitson wrote three

columns on the strike ,which is a lot for one contemptible event. He

called it "foolish," "dumb, dumb," "pinkish"; told the strikers, "you have

compromised your honour" and predicted, "The dinosaurs will carry on.

. . . But their days  are numbered."


     They both got sloppy. They called the union, CUPE, "one of the most

   militant" or "most militant" in Canada. But CUPE is so decentralized,

  there's little you can say in general about it. The

Auto Workers are way more militant, as are, in the public sector,

Ontario's teachers or civil servants, not to mention the posties. They both

said strikers have a rosy future: Their "peonage is temporary" since

"Canada's universities  are on the verge of the biggest hiring boom in 30

years." But grad students were told 10 years ago in a famous report

that they'd see a  hiring boom that never happened; those authors later

said they'd made a mistake. The pattern now is to keep PhDs in

temporary teaching job  with little money and no security. They camp

around universities and vie for jobs the way longshoremen used to at the

hiring hall. Besides,most York strikers don't plan to spend their lives

as profs.

    So, bilious and inaccurate. Why did the strike get up their nose?"


  His last paragraph describes his own experience at York in its very

first year-

    "I also happened to be at York in its first year, 1960. Many promises

 about pursuing excellence had been made to students and profs; they

 were almost immediately broken in favour of rapid expansion. By year

 three, a revolt was on. Sociologist John Seeley, a long-time friend of

 York president Murray Ross, joined it and was ever after barred from

 teaching in Ontario. He says their last chat took place on the Glendon

    campus, surrounded by construction. Murray Ross said, I may be a

  liar and a bastard, I may be everything you people say I am. But

  I'm here like these buildings are here and anybody

who doesn't like it can get out. York's main campus today is

dominated by the Ross  building; chiselled on its front are some lugubrious

quotes about higher learning. I've always felt that line should have

gone on, instead. During   the recent conflict, strikers held their main

rallies in its lobby. They were in a fine old tradition."