While you were sleeping: summer in review

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By Adrian Morrow

Malik Zulu Shabazz, an outspoken black nationalist and the leader of the New Black Panther Party, was scheduled to speak at Ryerson in May. Shabazz, who has said that Jews control the media and the U.S. federal reserve, planned to address a rally at Queen’s Park before making a stop at Ryerson. The events were part of a campaign calling for grade school curriculums to acknowledge the historical contribution of blacks and for the Brampton superjail project to be dismantled. Black Youth Taking Action, a local group, organized the lecture, which was endorsed by the Ryerson Students’ Union before they knew that Shabazz was the speaker. “We definitely recognize there was some criticism of his views,” said Heather Kere, RSU’s vice-president education. “We were endorsing the campaign’s goals and not the individual speaker.” The event drew fire from Jewish groups, who demanded that Shabazz be banned from entering Canada. On the day of the lecture, school administration alerted RSU that they had received e-mails threatening to violently disrupt the event. For the sake of safety, RSU cancelled the lecture. Shabazz himself was turned back at Pearson airport by border guards, citing rhetoric in which he advocated blowing up grocery stores. “He deflected attention away from the main point of the campaign. We still strongly believe in the campaign,” Kere said. Anita Bromberg, legal affairs director with Jewish advocacy group B’nai Brith, said that Shabazz is a hate-monger. “There should be some hard questions about the role of student executives in this affair,” she said, adding that students at Ryerson should be asking whether they want student government to be endorsing events like this. And I knight thee… A celebrity environmentalist and a supreme court judge both received honourary degrees from Ryerson at its June convocation. David Suzuki, the widely respected tree-hugger and academic famous for his TV show, The Nature of Things, received an honourary doctor of science degree. The school gave Rosalie Silberman Abella, a Supreme Court justice since 2004, an honourary doctor of laws for her human rights work, which included advising the government to help women and minorities advance in the workforce. The school also gave honourary degrees to Donald Triggs, the wine baron who helped found Jackson-Triggs Vinters, and Canadian historian Ramsay Cook. Ryerson architecture students go to Pakistan Several architecture students are going to Pakistan to build low-cost housing based on their own designs. The houses are meant to help replace those lost in an earlier earthquake. The $50,000 price tag will be picked up by the students, the school and private donations. Ryerson grad harassed in case of mistaken identity Grad Aileen Siu was harassed because she has the same name as an insensitive government employee. Evon Reid, a University of Toronto honours student, applied for a job at Queen’s Park. A different Aileen Siu, who was handling his application, referred to Reid as a “ghetto dude” in an internal email that she accidentally sent to him. Angry over what they saw as racial stereotyping — Reid is of Jamaican descent — bloggers took out their rage on the wrong Siu, tormenting her via Facebook. Rogers family buys rights to name school after itself The Rogers family got the School of Business named after themselves after giving Ryerson a big wad of cash. Ted and Loretta Rogers gave Ryerson $15 million to devote to its faculty of business. In exchange, the faculty will be renamed the Ted Rogers School of Management. No word yet on how many stogies and three-martini lunches can be bought for $15 million.

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