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National Post

‘Stonehenge of Idiots’: Critics say U of T Mississauga campus has hit rock bottom with $1M stone entrance sign
Piles of rock, no matter how artfully arranged, tend to get a rough ride in the court of public opinion, especially when they cost big bucks and are paid for out of the public purse.
The University of Toronto’s Mississauga (UTM) campus administration say a $1-million rock slab installation at the main entrance is intended to give the university a stronger “presence” in its location on Mississauga Rd. north of Dundas St. W.
But since its completion last spring, students have variously dubbed the new entrance as the “Stonehenge of Idiots,” and “The Rock Bottom,” complaining it’s a waste of money at a time when they are struggling to pay rising tuition and ancillary fees and university resources are already stretched thin.
“It’s a $1-million pile of rocks,” said fifth-year student Becky Arnott Friday. “I don’t think you can say it was a good way to spend that money. It’s unnecessary.” (Tyler Anderson/National Post)

‘Stonehenge of Idiots’: Critics say U of T Mississauga campus has hit rock bottom with $1M stone entrance sign

Piles of rock, no matter how artfully arranged, tend to get a rough ride in the court of public opinion, especially when they cost big bucks and are paid for out of the public purse.

The University of Toronto’s Mississauga (UTM) campus administration say a $1-million rock slab installation at the main entrance is intended to give the university a stronger “presence” in its location on Mississauga Rd. north of Dundas St. W.

But since its completion last spring, students have variously dubbed the new entrance as the “Stonehenge of Idiots,” and “The Rock Bottom,” complaining it’s a waste of money at a time when they are struggling to pay rising tuition and ancillary fees and university resources are already stretched thin.

“It’s a $1-million pile of rocks,” said fifth-year student Becky Arnott Friday. “I don’t think you can say it was a good way to spend that money. It’s unnecessary.” (Tyler Anderson/National Post)

nparts:

'I don’t love women writers enough to teach them': Giller-nominated author and University of Toronto teacher on why he only teaches books by men
David Gilmour has never been afraid to speak his mind. In a 2011 interview with the National Post, he admitted wanting to “beat the living s–t” out of a critic who’d given him a bad review and spoke at length about how much he hated socializing with fellow Canadian authors, whom he labelled “insecure.” His words have finally come back to haunt him. On Wednesday, Hazlitt, an online magazine published by Random House of Canada, posted a story by Emily M. Keeler — who, full disclosure, writes reviews for the Post — about the 63-year-old Gilmour, who spent over a decade working for the CBC as a film critic and arts reporter. In the article, about his bookshelves, Gilmour said, among other things, that “I’m not interested in teaching books by women” and “I don’t love women writers enough to teach them, if you want women writers go down the hall. What I teach is guys. Serious heterosexual guys.” Gilmour, whose latest novel, Extraordinary, was recently longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, tried to explain himself to Books Editor Mark Medley. (Photo: Della Rollins for National Post)

nparts:

'I don’t love women writers enough to teach them': Giller-nominated author and University of Toronto teacher on why he only teaches books by men

David Gilmour has never been afraid to speak his mind. In a 2011 interview with the National Post, he admitted wanting to “beat the living s–t” out of a critic who’d given him a bad review and spoke at length about how much he hated socializing with fellow Canadian authors, whom he labelled “insecure.” His words have finally come back to haunt him. On Wednesday, Hazlitt, an online magazine published by Random House of Canada, posted a story by Emily M. Keeler — who, full disclosure, writes reviews for the Post — about the 63-year-old Gilmour, who spent over a decade working for the CBC as a film critic and arts reporter. In the article, about his bookshelves, Gilmour said, among other things, that “I’m not interested in teaching books by women” and “I don’t love women writers enough to teach them, if you want women writers go down the hall. What I teach is guys. Serious heterosexual guys.” Gilmour, whose latest novel, Extraordinary, was recently longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, tried to explain himself to Books Editor Mark Medley. (Photo: Della Rollins for National Post)

Toronto professor learns not all editors are welcome on Wikipedia when class assignment backfires
A recent dust-up between Wikipedia and Canada’s largest university raises questions about how collaborative the popular website that bills itself as “the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit” truly is.

The online information portal recently took a professor from the University of Toronto to task for one of his classroom assignments.

Steve Joordens urged the 1,900 students in his introductory psychology class to start adding content to relevant Wikipedia pages. The assignment was voluntary, and Joordens hoped the process would both enhance Wikipedia’s body of work on psychology while teaching students about the scientist’s responsibility to share knowledge.

But Joordens’s plan backfired when the relatively small contingent of volunteer editors that curate the website’s content began sounding alarm bells. They raised concerns about the sheer number of contributions pouring in from people who were not necessarily well-versed in the topic or adept at citing their research.

Discussions in the Wikipedia community became very heated with allegations that articles were being updated with erroneous or plagiarized information. Some community members called for widespread bans on university IP addresses and decried the professor’s assignment as a needless burden on the community. (Ken Jones/University of Toronto; Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

New U of T course has students exploring ‘sex in the city’Finally: a chance to sit around and talk about sex for university credit. University College at the University of Toronto this fall offers first-year students a new course, UNI10471: Sex in the City“Students will learn about the sexual politics of the city and how cities and their neighbourhoods become sexualized spaces. How and why do certain spaces become ‘gay ghettos’ or villages? How some spaces are designated or coded as ‘safe,’ ‘dangerous,’ or ‘sexual,’ and how are these designations inflected by racial and class markers?”Dr. Rayter said a lot of students want to talk about sex.Photo: The Brass Rail on Yonge Street would be a good candidate to be included on a sex-themed “Jane’s Walk.” (Peter J. Thompson/National Post)

New U of T course has students exploring ‘sex in the city’
Finally: a chance to sit around and talk about sex for university credit. University College at the University of Toronto this fall offers first-year students a new course, UNI10471: Sex in the City

“Students will learn about the sexual politics of the city and how cities and their neighbourhoods become sexualized spaces. How and why do certain spaces become ‘gay ghettos’ or villages? How some spaces are designated or coded as ‘safe,’ ‘dangerous,’ or ‘sexual,’ and how are these designations inflected by racial and class markers?”

Dr. Rayter said a lot of students want to talk about sex.

Photo: The Brass Rail on Yonge Street would be a good candidate to be included on a sex-themed “Jane’s Walk.” (Peter J. Thompson/National Post)

Is the Internet killing the shared cultural experience?When Theresa Moritz, a senior lecturer in English at the University of Toronto, asked a class of 22 first-year undergraduate students to watch for references to Jane Austen in their day-to-day diet of culture and entertainment, she expected the references would come flooding in.Being herself immersed in a world of books, newspapers and television shows that made frequent mention of the 19th-century English novelist, Dr. Moritz thought her students in a class about Austen’s Pride and Prejudice would experience the same. But in a presentation to the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences this week, she said that instead of making the students aware of the ubiquity of Jane Austen, the exercise showed that living with the Internet as the centre of one’s cultural life puts one in a different universe from those who focus on more traditional media.“I would have expected that they would have frequently reported to me references to [Austen]. I was expecting, moreover, that that experience would connect us, professor and students, in a shared awareness of interest in Jane Austen,” Dr. Moritz said in an interview Friday.Instead, the 62-year-old instructor discovered that her world of print is a world apart from the digital lives of her students, prompting questions about the general knowledge and shared cultural experiences of young people raised in the age of Wikipedia.“I was finding things regularly, at least once a week,” Dr. Moritz said. “And I found that rarely was there even one reference reported by a student.” The lack of print newspapers in their lives was an important factor in the contrast, she said.

Is the Internet killing the shared cultural experience?
When Theresa Moritz, a senior lecturer in English at the University of Toronto, asked a class of 22 first-year undergraduate students to watch for references to Jane Austen in their day-to-day diet of culture and entertainment, she expected the references would come flooding in.

Being herself immersed in a world of books, newspapers and television shows that made frequent mention of the 19th-century English novelist, Dr. Moritz thought her students in a class about Austen’s Pride and Prejudice would experience the same. But in a presentation to the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences this week, she said that instead of making the students aware of the ubiquity of Jane Austen, the exercise showed that living with the Internet as the centre of one’s cultural life puts one in a different universe from those who focus on more traditional media.

“I would have expected that they would have frequently reported to me references to [Austen]. I was expecting, moreover, that that experience would connect us, professor and students, in a shared awareness of interest in Jane Austen,” Dr. Moritz said in an interview Friday.

Instead, the 62-year-old instructor discovered that her world of print is a world apart from the digital lives of her students, prompting questions about the general knowledge and shared cultural experiences of young people raised in the age of Wikipedia.

“I was finding things regularly, at least once a week,” Dr. Moritz said. “And I found that rarely was there even one reference reported by a student.” The lack of print newspapers in their lives was an important factor in the contrast, she said.