York University, SHAME ON YOU!!

Canadian Universities Forum (discussion group)

Subject: York University, SHAME ON YOU!!
York publicly announced a controversial proposal to rename its newest building after a development corporation that was accused and cleared of a land scandal with the university.
On Feb. 27, 2006, the York University Board of Governors approved renaming the Accolade West Building as the Tribute Communities Building.
The controversial new name was approved on the recommendation of the Marketing and Communications Committee, which according to director York Media Relations Alex Bilyk, came after Tribute made a generous monetary contribution towards the school.
"Things like this cost money, so you´ve got to raise it some place," he said. "University education is subsidized one way or another - it´s subsidized through government activity, it´s subsidized through payment of tuition, it´s also subsidized by donations that are raised by alumni, corporate entities, trust funds and foundations."
Just over a year ago, the Toronto Star alleged that Tribute paid $15.8 million dollars for 42 acres of land on the southeast side of York´s Keele campus, which was "substantially less than market value." Tribute and the university were later cleared of the scandal by an independent commission.
While this is not the first instance of York honouring donors to the Accolade Project through name dedication, the naming of a building after a contributor to the project has been unprecedented. In the past, gratitude has been extended through the dedication of Accolade East Building´s reception lobby, its theatre, and recital hall seats, galleries and music and dance studios.
Tribute Communities was one of the Accolade Project´s largest contributors with a sum of two million dollars - a fifth of the project´s fundraising activities.
"Renaming [the Accolade West Building] after a corporate donor sustains York´s reputation for being more like a corporation rather than an educational institution," said third-year design major Janet Cordahi. "[I´m] not fond of the idea of renaming the Accolade West Building for that very reason."
"Although the Tribute Communities have made a large donation to the project, it would make more sense to name a wing or section of the building [after them], in order to thank them for their contribution," said Melissa McCarthy, a third-year fine arts cultural studies major.
Some student organizations have also criticized the renaming. York Federation of Students has chosen to oppose the renaming of the Accolade West Building.
"Our position is the renaming of the building after a corporate entity advances the paradigm of a corporate university. [The building] is for academic and student purposes and the new name does not reflect that," said YFS president Corrie Sakaluk.
On Apr. 23, 2006, the YFS started an online petition to represent the student body´s opposition and at the Board of Governors meeting on May 1, the YFS put forward a petition with approximately 900 signatures opposing the Accolade West´s new name.
According to Sakaluk, the decision has been referred to a committee of the Board of Governors for reconsideration, due to the petition being submitted.

Source: http://www.excal.on.ca/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1765&Itemid=2

(in reply to: York University, SHAME ON YOU!!)
Naming buildings after a major benefactor is nothing new. Contributors should be recognized in some tangible maner. At least, York did not appear to force students take courses in M$ proprietory technology as a thank-you for a generous donation. It is a slippery slope.

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