Volume 54 - Issue 1 August 26, 2020 theeyeopener.com @theeyeopener Since 1967
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The Black Liberation Collective isn’t impressed with Ryerson’s Anti-Black Racism Campus Climate Review — here’s why By Manuela Vega On July 17, the Office of the Vice President, Equity and Community Inclusion (OVPECI) released the Anti-Black Racism Campus Climate Review Report (ABRCCR), originally expected to be published by the end of 2019. The Black Liberation Collective at Ryerson (BLC) is adamant that the administration “repackaged” the report which they demanded be written by an independent reviewer—and they say they want to see the original draft. BLC first called on Ryerson to conduct a review of anti-Black racism on campus in 2016, and advocated for Rinaldo Walcott—a University of Toronto professor who specializes in Black diaspora cultural studies and postcolonial studies—to be the reviewer. But members of BLC said they can’t believe that Walcott—or any external researcher—would write a report that applauds Ryerson, understates harm on campus and has only vague recommendations. In particular, BLC criticized the reports’ failure to hold Ryerson accountable for anti-Black racism, by repeatedly saying that all academic institutions deal with racism. The
report also praised the OVPECI, an office which many Black students have raised concerns about. Denise O’Neil Green, Ryerson’s vice-president, equity and community inclusion, is co-chairing the Presidential Implementation Committee to address the report’s recommendations with two other members of the administration.
“This fraudulent university was willingly and knowingly endangering our lives” “How can members of the institution be tasked with surveilling themselves and ensuring that they are applying these recommendations?” asked BLC member and fourth-year politics and governance student Ledya Mahadere. Mahadere said that everything about the report, from the tone to the small number of personal stories and how they are summarized, demonstrates “what many Black students on this campus already know—which is that Ryerson has no real intention to uncover, understand and expose the reality of antiBlackness and the way it manifests on campus.”
THE OVPECI’S ROLE Ryerson’s administration promised to review the climate of antiBlack racism in 2017 at the request of the BLC, and began work on the ABRCCR in March 2019. O’Neil Green quickly became involved in the process as co-chair, said Rye alumnus and BLC co-founder Josh Lamers. BLC told O’Neil Green they didn’t want her involved because the OVPECI had implications in issues of anti-Black racism that were meant to be addressed in the report. Her office operates to protect the reputation of the university rather than marginalized community members, said Lamers. O’Neil Green said Walcott wrote the full report and added that Ryerson only provided a copy editor and “design layout with photos” to make the ABRCCR reader-friendly. Walcott approved the final report, added O’Neil Green. Walcott declined to comment for The Eye. Any debate or discussion brought about from the report should be left with the Ryerson community, he said. The report has a section on the OVPECI which reads that the office “represents a long history of equity work at Ryerson” and has a “tremendous amount of support.” How-
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ILLUSTRATION: JES MASON
ever, Lamers said the report is an attempt by the OVPECI to “re-narrate history,” posing the office as doing great work while Black community members publicly speak out against its harmful practises. “You have ECI pretending as if they’re going to be our Black saviour. As if Denise O’Neil Green didn’t fire Carol Sutherland, the only Black person in that office doing work for Black students. That’s why she was fired,” said Lamers. Carol Sutherland, who was the OVPECI special project coordinator and founder of the Black Faculty and Staff Community Network, was fired in January 2019 while she was on medical leave. Sutherland had worked at Ryerson for 15 years and was known for her advocacy and support of Black community members at Ryerson. Sutherland’s union has since filed three grievances against Ryerson, for which an arbitration hearing will be held on Sept. 9, the Toronto Star reported.
security presence. ”What I don’t understand is why I see four to six people, sometimes eight [security staff members] approaching someone...because they don’t think they belong there,” said Lamers. “Eight people is not going to de-escalate a situation... it’s going to escalate, not de-escalate.”
“How can members of the institution be tasked with surveilling themselves?” The report stated that 59 per cent of security guards “self-identify as coming from racialized minority backgrounds.” It added that their jobs are made difficult by taunts, intimidation and threat of violence, and that racialized security guards, in particular, face “racialized physical and psychological violence.” Igbavoa said that that addition overlooks the fact that “Black students have been harassed multiple times by security of campus, regardless of [security’s] ethnic background or their race.” Despite the report’s conclusion earlier in 2019 that policing presented a danger to Black students, Ryerson still applied for the presence of special constables on campus that September, said Lamers. “These people had the report for a year,” said Lamers. “This fraudulent university was willingly and knowingly endangering our lives.” Igbavoa said “the university should look into more sustainable and community-based safety methods that don’t involve policing, don’t involve security.” A working group will hold consultations with students, staff and faculty about creating a safety and security model that works for the entire Ryerson community this fall, Ryerson president Mohamed Lachemi announced on July 21.
REVIEW OF SECURITY AND “INSTITUTIONAL VIOLENCE” The ABRCCR has one recommendation on security: that Ryerson prioritize safety and security to “positively impact Black student belonging, with security to be trained in equity, diversity and inclusion.” BLC member Hansel Igbavoa called policing on campus “institutional violence on Black students,” and added that training will make no difference to being “hyper-surveilled.” In the report, Black students made it clear that campus security does not make them feel safe; instead, their presence is intimidating. Additionally, Black students feel “profoundly subject to racial profiling” by security, leading to “a strong sense of non-belonging.” Concerns were also expressed around security working in groups. The ABRCCR adds that security works in pairs for their own safety and for that of the community—a detail which Lamers said he believes Read the full story at was included to validate excessive theeyeopener.com
Waiver to use MAC deemed ‘not enforceable’ by law expert By signing the waiver, students agree to give up their right and those living in their households to any future legal claims against the university By Eli Savage The Eyeopener reached out to Ryerson athletics but they did not respond in time for publication. This article will be updated online with their comment. Ryerson officially reopened the Mattamy Athletic Centre (MAC) earlier this month with strict protocols to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission. With new implementations in place, students must now perform a symptoms and risk screening before entering. They are also expected to maintain a two-metre distance from others at all times, meaning “spotting”—assisting someone as they perform an exercise—will no longer be permitted.
“If anything, they do a little bit extra to make me feel safe there” Masks and face coverings are mandatory in all non-activity spaces and strongly encouraged in activity spaces. To use the facility, you must sign a waiver acknowledging the risk of participating in “university activities”
both on and off campus. Signing the waiver means you agree to give up your right to “any and all” future legal claims against the university. The waiver also releases the university from liability for damages to the household members of anyone who signs. Additionally, signing means you agree to pay Ryerson’s damages and legal fees in cases where a third party sues Ryerson for contracting COVID-19 through you. This means that if you contract the virus as a result of Ryerson’s negligence and then transmit the virus to another person, you are responsible to compensate Ryerson’s legal fees and damages should that third person sue the university. This is possible because the waiver contains a clause invoking third party indemnification. To indemnify is to accept the liability of another party. Hilary Young, an associate professor of law at the University of New Brunswick who reviewed the waiver, concluded that parts of it were not legally enforceable, specifically a clause in which you agree that none of your household members may sue Ryerson.
Rye High rewind
“You can’t waive other people’s rights. You can only waive your own rights—that’s pretty fundamental to contracts. You can only bind yourself, you can’t bind others. So that’s just clearly not enforceable.” The announcement was published by Ryerson athletics on Aug. 7, describing the “first phase” of reopening.
“You can’t waive other people’s rights...that’s just clearly not enforceable” The plan also included measures to protect students and ensure proper contact tracing. The MAC operates in 90-minute timeslots where up to 25 people can work out at one time. Students must register for timeslots in advance. There is also a 30-minute break between timeslots for workers to disinfect equipment and surfaces. On whether or not students should sign, Young said that if a student is just looking for a recreational facility, they’re better off going to the YMCA. Tyler Mullins, a second-year business management student, has
gone to the MAC seven times since its reopening. Mullins said he “briefly skimmed” through the waiver he signed. However, he didn’t have any concerns during his visits to the MAC. “Every single time I’ve went I’ve felt safe,” he said. “I think if anything, they do a little bit extra to make me feel safe there.” Felimon Henok is a third-year nutrition student and has worked as a facilities supervisor at the MAC for the past year. He said that students
should continue to use the gym in spite of the pandemic. “It would be silly not to use [the MAC],” he said. “I think the gym is an essential part of our health. If we’re not healthy, the more [COVID-19] will impact us.” The MAC is the first recreational facility to open at Ryerson. However, the university’s announcement notes the same guidelines are expected to be implemented at Ryerson’s Recreation and Athletic Centre.
What’s happened since we went online in March? When did it stop being March?
By Alexandra Holyk, Heidi Lee and Libaan Osman
ceived almost 10,000 signatures. In an email to The Eyeopener, the university said it has not made a decision about the statue. After the paint was washed off, the statue was tagged again with green paint. The statue was further vandalized the following week with red paint on the statues’ hands and phrases such as “Land back,” “Free the kids” and “Racist” written around the base. The identity of those responsible is still unknown.
While you were going out to patios in the middle of a pandemic, here’s what was going on at Ryerson. RSU & you Since the 2020-21 Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU) executive team began their term in May, they’ve held three Board of Directors (BoD) meetings. The latest meeting on July 17 saw the approval of the RSU’s budget for the upcoming year—approximately $2.2 million, a 10 per cent decrease from the previous year’s budget proposal. RSU president Ali Yousaf and vice-president operations Liora Dubinsky said this was because the team expects lower enrolment numbers due to an online fall semester. However, according to admission numbers revealed at Ryerson’s Board of Governors meeting held on June 30, the university saw a 4.3 per cent increase in first-year domestic and international students who have confirmed their acceptance offers and paid the tuition deposit fee, compared to last year. The RSU also unveiled a new health care plan that costs students
PHOTO: JIMMY KWAN
ILLUSTRATION: JES MASON $340 annually, compared to last year’s cost of $365. The plan covers the cost of up to four doctor’s notes a year. On its social media pages, the RSU announced on Aug. 10 that it will be offering students $100,000 in COVID-19 relief grants—each approved student applicant will receive up to $500. According to Yousaf, all full-time Ryerson students are eligible to apply for the grant. Once applications are submitted, the RSU’s bursary committee will determine how much each student will receive. The bursary committee includes Yousaf and Dubinsky, as well as RSU BoD members Sabrina Ahmed and Umer Abdullah. Yousaf said the application for the
grant will be available to students “in the coming weeks,” but did not give a specific date. Ryerson statue defaced On July 18, the Egerton Ryerson statue on Gould Street was defaced by Black Lives Matter— Toronto protesters. Egerton Ryerson contributed to the concept of Canada’s residential school system, a system of cultural genocide which attempted to assimilate around 150,000 Indigenous children into Euro-Canadian society. In June, students once again started an online petition to take down the statue, after years of failed attempts. The petition has since re-
Special constables cancelled On June 4, Ryerson announced that the university wouldn’t proceed with the implementation of special constables on campus—only two weeks after the university announced that the Toronto Police Service approved its proposal. After criticism from community members and worldwide protests against anti-Black racism and police brutality, Ryerson decided not to move forward with the program. In response to the cancellation of the program, the Black Liberation Collective at Ryerson released an open letter to president Mohamed Lachemi and executive director, community safety Denise Campbell that same day. “End the agreement with Toron-
to Police Services immediately, and make an open commitment to never partnering again,” the letter read. A month later, on July 17, Ryerson released its Anti-Black Racism Campus Climate Review report that included 14 recommendations on ways to create a safer campus environment for Black students, faculty and staff. The report was originally expected to be released in September 2019. Convocation postponed The university announced that all Fall 2020 convocation ceremonies are postponed until 2021 or until large public gatherings are allowed. The decision was made to follow the government’s guideline on social distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19, according to a statement from Lachemi. Neverending construction After a month-long hiatus in March due to the pandemic, Ryerson’s campus construction along Gould and Victoria streets is expected to be finished by late September, according to the university’s facilities management and development team. Now that the pipes on Gould Street are gone, it’s time for the “multifunctional light fixtures” to shine.
I guess this means we’re shipmates By Catherine Abes
PHOTO: JIMMY KWAN
On my first day back on campus in nearly five months, the first thing I noticed was the outdated copies of The Eyeopener still occupying the stand outside our office. They were from March 11—the morning after our Super Smash Bros. tournament, in which I’d gotten my ass mercilessly kicked. That week’s paper covered the legal battle between the Ryerson Students’ Union and the university, the opening of a new cannabis store and thrifting. It’s probably the last issue that won’t mention COVID-19. At least for a while. Usually our orientation issue acts as an introduction to university
life, with pieces on relationships, partying, studying and taking care of yourself. You’ll still find these kinds of stories in this issue, but we didn’t just write them for confused first-years students. This issue is for everyone, because no one could possibly say they’re well equipped for this dystopian digital disaster year. Not even the e-boys. The Eye is in the same boat of having to adapt to these strange times. The bad news is that our office door is no longer open, with most of our masthead working from home and full-time staff only coming in as needed. All of our meetings happen over Zoom and involve at least two rounds of “Oh, no, sorry, you go first” and “Can anyone hear me?” The good news is that we’re still in production and you can expect new stories every week. In terms of existential threats to our paper, this isn’t our first rodeo (don’t think we’ve forgotten about the Student Choice Initiative just yet, Ford). Even better: we’re still printing, albeit at a reduced, biweekly run. We don’t anticipate many people will be on campus and I don’t condone anyone leaving their home just to pick
up our paper. But if you happen to be around—whether that be to see a friend from six feet away, conquer a months-long craving for your favourite after-class snack, or take a big whiff of the canola oil smell on Gould Street— wouldn’t it be nice to pick up the paper and find out how other people are doing? To know that the Ryerson community is still out there, and that there are people who feel the same way you do? We’ll also continue to do what we do best: hold the institution accountable, ask hard questions and listen to students. Over the summer we saw Ryerson ignore community voices time and time again: the statue of Egerton Ryerson still stands, students are being charged full tuition to attend school through a webcam and the Anti-Black Racism Campus Climate Review Report that the school spoke so highly of turned out to be 26 pages of underwhelming recommendations. Even the decision to remove special constables from campus only came after worldwide protests against anti-Black racism and police brutality, making the partnership with Toronto Police
WHAT CAN THE EYEOPENER DO BETTER? The Eye is a service that all full-time students pay into. This is your chance to tell us what coverage you want to see this year and how we can better serve your needs and interests.
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Service bad press. Meanwhile, the Black Liberation Collective at Ryerson has been speaking out against this partnership for years, with their demands going unheard. As an independent campus paper, we’re not interested in vague statements and empty commitments. We’re going to report on what Ryerson’s decisions look like in practice and how they impact students’ well-being. We’re going to listen, then amplify your
voices. And when we write these stories, we’re going to give it to you straight. There’s too many things to worry about in this world to be decoding PR copy as well. I don’t know what this year is going to look like. But I like to take comfort in the fact that neither does anyone else. I like to think that this shared boat is unsinkable. So hold tight, Ryerson, and remember that The Eye is right there with you.
Editor-in-Chief Catherine “Chickadee Guardian” Abes
Media Connor “Park Snacks to Share” Thomas Parnika “Got TikTok Famous Over the Summer” Raj
News Alexandra “Road Rage” Holyk Heidi “New Horizons New Me” Lee Libaan “No One Ever Believes That I’m a Liberal” Osman Photo Pernia “Is There A Skinty Cat?” Jamshed Jimmy “Cover KING” Kwan Jes “Full of Brilliant Ideas, Deserves Several Awards” Mason Online Tyler “Rat Prince” Griffin Madi “Grind Never Stops” Wong
General Manager Liane “Good Trouble” McLarty Advertising Manager Chris “Has Never Failed Us” Roberts Design Director J.D. “Ask to See Pictures of His New Puppy” Mowat
Contributors Eli “Literally” Savage Julia “Back At It” Mlodzik Laila “Fabulous” Amer Features Jackie “Best Resume I’ve Ever Seen” Dhriti “Pwuts Ws In Evewy Lam Swentence” Gupta Sofia “Let’s Do That Line Edit When I’m Back From The ER” Arts and Culture Vavaroutsos Rhea “Bell offers Canada’s largest fiAbeer “Proteccshun” Khan bre optic network with lighteningDonald “Bad Basketball Lover” fast speeds” Singh Higney Justin “Needs A Break From The Sports Leafs” Walters Will “Eggy III Could’ve Fought Simran “Emeritus” Singh Harder” Baldwin Ivana “Edits Done Before You Blink” Vidakovic Biz and Tech Kinza “Just Checking In” Yaqoob Aaliyah “G-Cal Pal” Dasoo Aisha “Rogers Internet Sucks” Jaffar Cole “Top Ten First Print Articles” Communities Brocksom Kiernan “Gone Fishing” Green Claire “LOLrandoOMG” Donoghue Manuela “She’s On the Beat” Vega Fun and Satire Serina “Hands of God” Choi Zach “InDesign Is My Passion” Samross “Clutch” Thorg Roman
ARTS & CULTURE
From concerts to theatre, Ryerson creatives adapt during COVID-19 By Abeer Khan The transition from interacting in person to dealing with COVID-19 restrictions has been an issue to tackle for many arts-focused groups at Ryerson. Housing and Residence Life’s Black in Residence, a group of Black students who try to support and create events for Black students living on campus, are using art to bring together students through a virtual showcase. “The Black population and peoples of colour in residence are really small, so there’s not a lot of spaces for them to just get a spotlight to talk about what’s important to them and share their work,” says Zanele Chisholm, a third-year English student and an organizer of the event. To adhere to social distancing restrictions, the group is hosting “Residence Jam Digital Slam,” a virtual spoken word showcase open to Black Ryerson students on Sept. 3. “We just want to be proactive in creating those spaces and making sure Black students know that they’re important to us, and that we care about their art, and that we want to hear them.” Chisholm believes that building a strong community of BIPOC students would be helpful in both facilitating change and starting conversations about BIPOC experiences. She hopes that this event will be a space for Black students to build stronger relationships with each other as well as find a sense of community. “Community is where conversation starts,” she says. “That’s why it’s important to constantly be making the effort to make a community.” Chisholm believes art is a great way to foster this community because of its ability to bring people together in a positive way and connect on a deeper level.
ILLUSTRATION: JULIA MLODZIK “It’s a connecting point. I feel like everybody loves art. And it’s also such a personal thing for people. So I feel like you get to be vulnerable when you are showing your art or you’re looking at someone else’s art,” said Chisholm. “You automatically get a little bit closer and automatically create that type of connection that’s a bit special,” she said. For Michael Kang, president of Musicians@Ryerson, a semester online will change the way the group interacts with each other. Going into his final year, the mechanical engineering student reminisces about how welcoming the club’s office was during the semester when members were able to drop by to chat, join in on small jam sessions, and meet new people. “That’s how you build a sense of community,” says Kang. Musicians@Ryerson is a student group that aims to bring together musicians across Ryerson through their events. Last semester, Musicians@Ryerson held a virtual open mic night to emulate their weekly open mic
nights which are usually held at Ram in the Rye. Open mic nights were the group’s most consistent and engaging events where anybody who loved to listen to and play music was welcome prior to social distancing requirements.
“Community is where conversations start” With the fall semester online, there will be many changes to how the group will operate. Kang says he’s looking at continuing open mic nights virtually once the semester starts. He stresses the importance of having spaces where musicians can do what they love. “Musicians and artists don’t really have the kind of outlets they used to,” explains Kang. “[The open mic nights] are a large part of how we engage and how we connect with each other.” In Ontario, many theatre and concert venues have remained closed during Stage 3, unless they are drive-in venues. However,
drive-in concerts and theatres are gaining popularity across the city as people long for creative outlets and experiences. Earlier this month, Toronto artists DVSN held drive-in concerts from Aug. 7 to Aug. 13 at the CityView Drive-in in Toronto, while July Talk performed two shows at the Stardust Drive-In Theatre in Sharon, Ont. Students at the School of Image Arts (IMA) at Ryerson must work around limited access to necessary equipment. Unlike other programs at Ryerson that will not allow for any on-campus activity, IMA will allow students to enter the building at reduced capacities. Samantha Jackson, a fourth-year photography student and the president of the IMA Course Union, says that the school has divided access to the building for students so that there is a low flow of traffic. She says that each year will have three designated days to use the building and its facilities each week. Jackson says that while these changes work for her, since she doesn’t plan to use the more advanced equipment IMA has to offer, she is aware that many of her peers are disappointed in their limited access to equipment like high-end drum scanners. High-end drum scanners are used to develop film and their cost can range anywhere between from $11,000-$65,000. According to Michael Strickland Images, the drum scanners are used to develop film by capturing an image with analog light, producing the most detail possible before then converting it to a digital file. Limited access means that some students may have to consider paying out of their own pockets to produce their work on top of paying full tuition that is supposed to
cover these costs. While many creative industries have come to a halt due to COVID-19, Jackson said she appreciates the support and encouragement she and her classmates received online from program alumni. “A lot of graduates are encouraging and saying, ‘We’re working in the industry right now, it’s not as awful as you think it is!’ It gives you an opportunity to learn about making safer sets, and being sustainable and implementing all these changes.” However the School of Performance Course Union President Fahed Altaji is less encouraged by the move online. He says that it is unjustifiable that students, especially in hands-on programs, must still pay regular tuition costs. He remembers the past semester, when many students were unable to participate in end of year shows, and hopes that the quality of education delivered online increases in the fall. “We were missing a lot of things in terms of what we would be learning,” says Altaji, when discussing the end of the winter term. “I personally didn’t find that easy and I know my peers and my classmates didn’t find it easy either.” Jackson says she hopes her faculty will be willing to provide accomodation and listen to feedback. “I think it’s really important to have genuine conversations and genuine communication,” says Jackson. “Even if there isn’t much to say ‘Hey, you know, we appreciate your patience and we understand’ ...just offering support.” Kang hopes that the online based fall semester won’t continue in the winter. “If we’re not able to be on campus after December, things may get a little bit hard.” says Kang.
Activism movements in Toronto to look out for By Rhea Singh Justice For Soli “I still remember that night in vivid detail,” said Yusuf Faqiri. “As I’m processing all of this, I see my mom and dad in pain and my sibling in pain.” Faqiri is the oldest of five siblings, one of which was Soleiman Faqiri, who on Dec. 15, 2016 was killed following an altercation with guards at Central East Correctional Centre (CECC) in Lindsay, Ont. Soleiman was diagnosed with schizophrenia after a car accident less than a year into his studies. After the accident, Soleiman continued his studies and had hopes of becoming an Imam. Justice For Soli is a movement that is not only seeking justice for Soleiman but also questions the treatment of people suffering from mental illness in correctional fa-
cilities, prisons, and at the hands of the police. Faqiri discussed how the movement has become larger than any of them expected. Now, they have the help of a research and social media team, with over 200 Canadians signing open letters for justice in Soleiman’s case. “The movement is a result of the [tragic loss] of my late brother, but the movement stands here today to be the voice for individuals that have died within the justice system,” said Faqiri. “Mental illness is a Canadian issue. Mental illness cuts through multiple cleavages; whether it’s socioeconomic, ethnic, it cuts.” Climate Justice Toronto Climate Justice Toronto (CJTO) is a collective led by members seeking to address the climate crisis and major issues that face marginalized
communities in the GTA. What started off as a small group of individuals that met in March 2019 has grown into an organization with over 19,500 followers on Instagram. Most recently, CJTO organized a Black and Indigenous community care solidarity fund for Black and Indigenous organizations working for “the same revolution.” When discussing the Wet’suwet’en blockades in early 2020, Dani Michie, a member of CJTO said that it was both interesting and humbling to see the connections created between organizations and Indigenous leaders. “I think just the scale of it, coordinating actions with people all over the country, it was so cool and powerful to see us all focused on one task. It gave me this really clear image of … how much power we have.”
Toronto Prisoners’ Rights Project Toronto Prisoners’ Rights Project (TPRP) is a mutual aid collective that pushes action towards the liberation of prisoners and their rights, and the abolition of prisons and policing. The Eyeopener spoke to Rajean Hoilett, a member of the project, on the importance of the movement
and why TPRP is committed to addressing the injustices presented in the carceral system. “When the pandemic hit, we were well positioned …to launch a call to decarcerate prisons and jails across Ontario and across the country,” said Hoilett. Read more online at theeyeopener.com
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Friendship at first like Online friendships weren’t a problem before COVID and they won’t be one now either
t was early summer when Mae Raquiz realized she had nothing to distract her from her loneliness—no job, no typical summer hangouts and no more preparations for university to keep her busy. Sitting at her desk, with Minecraft running on her computer but no friends available to play with her, the incoming financial mathematics student exited her server, closed the tab and took a quick break from the game to log onto Ryerson’s subreddit for the first time. Questions from incoming students about course intentions, professor reviews and protocol for online lectures flooded the screen along with answers from regular contributors to the 17,000 person group. Raquiz had heard from her friend at another school that if you wanted quick answers to administrative questions, as well as a way to join a university community online, joining a university Reddit or Facebook group was your best bet. So she made a quick post about enrolling in classes, tacking onto the end: “Financial math first year here, anybody want to start an online friendship so we could meet up in person? Feel free to DM me!”
four people from Ryerson’s subreddit who she keeps in close contact with—her newest friends. Though she doesn’t know when or if she’ll get to meet her new friends during the upcoming school year, Raquiz says she’s grateful to already know people before starting at Ryerson. “It feels more comforting than going into an unfamiliar place with unfamiliar faces. I feel like I have people around me to figure out university together.” With less people on campus, this key aspect of university life will be turned on its head, especially for first-year students who haven’t had the opportunity to establish strong relationships in person. Some may feel like real connection isn’t possible without meeting a friend on campus. However, the 2016 novel How the World Changed Social Media discusses how people tend to view online friendships as something separate from “real” life, even though this is not always the case. Instead, the study treats social media as a method of communication, “much the same way that everyone treats the landline telephone.” In fact, the book states that “the entire range of offline relationships, from family through school and work to social relations in the wider neighbourhood” may also be found online. “We had this connection of Another study at the Chinese University of Hong Kong acknowledged that while offline friendships tend to have a deeper connection at first, the quality of the friendship imwe don’t know what the hell proved over time for both offline and online relationships. we’re doing.” Additionally, the initial differences between the two diminished over time, and the online friendship eventually caught up to the offline one. Before she could even turn back to her game, she got a reLara Aknin, a distinguished associate psychology sponse, then another. Though the first person Raquiz spoke professor at Simon Fraser University, says that to ended up being a dry texter, she quickly found herself when forming friendships online is the only opspeaking to 20 or more people at a time. tion, it’s better to stay connected than to stay For Raquiz, these exchanges with fellow first-years started isolated. For students who feel that online with bonding over a general sense of disorientation about connections might not be as valuable, Aknin university and slowly progressed into day-to-day conversa- offers some advice. “I certainly don’t think tion. “We had this connection of confusion about Ryerson, it’s futile or worthless—I we don’t know what the hell we’re doing.” actually think the need While Raquiz originally joined the subreddit to ask ques- might be even tions, she found herself surrounded by people with similar greater.” interests with whom she could chat about anime, manga and The World their favourite Twitch streamers. Now, Raquiz says she has Happiness Report, conducted by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network, uses data to determine the top predictors of happiness around the world, and having someone to turn to in times of need is typically the top, or among the top predictors. “I realize that’s not a perfect proxy for having student friendships on campus, but I think it underscores the importance of human contact and close human relationships for our wellbeing,” Aknin explains. Forming connections online can also prove helpful in making the transition to university, maintaining mental health and being successful in classes. According to a 2008 study on the transition to postsecondary education, the majority of students who leave university or college before finishing their program do so in their first year. The research indicates that this is mostly because of a difficulty adjusting to the new environment. The article suggests that two factors may be key in helping students better adjust: a sense of university belonging and the quality of their friendships. Making friendships online at Ryerson has always been possible, even before COVID-19. Students have always been able to connect through a series of Facebook groups geared towards students’ graduation years, specific programs or cultural backgrounds. From there, the group chats that spring from these groups offer opportunities for more candid discussion. Students can also connect, as Raquiz did, through Ryerson’s subreddit forum and even through Instagram DM. The only difference now is that this is the one of the only
ways to become a part of the student community.
n the summer of 2019, before starting her first year in biomedical sciences, Caroline Cachero joined the Faculty of Science 2023 group on Facebook. From there, she was added to a group chat full of her peers who she spoke to nearly every day for the entire month of August. But later, when it came time for the faculty of science orientation, she found herself sitting alone. Despite all the time spent helping each other out with science questions, talking about their
hometowns and even sharing prom pictures, Cachero recalls being nervous that day without the comfort of her online friends. When her nerves didn’t allow her to focus on the presentation anymore, Cachero sent a message to the group chat, hoping for a response. Immediately, she got a message back. She turned around to wave at the person, who ended up sitting right behind her. Relieved, she shifted her focus back to the orientation, promising herself that she would say something after. When the presentation finished, she went up to him and introduced herself to his group of friends—they would soon become her friends, too. Throughout the week, she would meet her friends Vener, Steven, Ali, Ujwal and Jason. This changed Cachero’s outlook on university. “After meeting some of the people from the group chat and talking with new people during the orientation, my nerves went away. I was just very excited after that to start the school year and finally be a university student.” In Cachero’s case, she’s still friends with most of the people from that group, but that’s not how it always works—not all friendships carry on throughout university. Cachero first met Charlize Alcaraz during frosh week after bonding in a group chat for Filipino students at Ryerson. Alcaraz was the only person so far that Cachero had messaged outside the group chat.
7 Sitting in an apartment-style suite in Pitman Hall, Cachero and Alcaraz bonded over a shared heritage and a new beginning for both of them while munching on Skyflakes, a Filipino cracker brand. For the rest of orientation week, the two, along with Alcaraz’s roommate, went to events together and continued to hang out in Alcaraz’s apartment. Although Cachero and Alcaraz don’t speak very much anymore, Cachero says that she’s still grateful for the friendship they formed right off the bat. Being in different programs, it was difficult for the fast friends to keep in touch, and they drifted apart over the course of the year as Cachero’s friendship with people from her faculty grew stronger. Research shows that spaces like the group chat for Filipino students where Cachero and Alcaraz first met are a solid way to make friends. A study by the National Centre for Biotechnology Information showed that those with similar demographic traits, including things like culture and beliefs, are more likely to form a friendship. But beyond the likelihood of these connections, for racial minorities, being able to connect with someone from the same cultural community can be affirming to their identity. In a 2001 study in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence, researchers found that interaction with samerace peers was associated with a stronger sense of ethnic identity. In another study that looked at Black college students from mostly white high schools, samerace friendships were
“an important component in these students’ successes and in their resolution of racial identity issues.” Aknin says that though similar interests and backgrounds are one of the first things we look for when forming friendships, something she thinks is often overlooked is the importance of frequent contact. “The more you see someone on average, the more you tend to like them,” Aknin explains. “It’s not just true for people, it seems to be true for even visual stimuli like paintings—the more you see it, the more you tend to like it.” So while there are many platforms to make online friends, it’s important to remember that virtual connections still require maintenance to stay close. The same way that you and a friend from class might catch up outside a lecture hall once a week, keeping in regular contact with online friends is crucial for building the relationship. Social media can help us do this, according to John Helliwell, an economist from the University of British Columbia. “Social media is finally coming into its own as social media. Their power to make adolescents anxious, to fuel envy, to misallocate fame and to distort elections has already been demonstrated. They’re now being used for better purposes, to build and maintain social closeness in the absence of physical closeness,” he writes in a think piece for the Vancouver Sun. Fast forward to her second year, Cachero and her friend group from her faculty still study together, go to restaurants and speak regularly. Their friendship is even persisting outside of school
and through the pandemic—they’re communicating through Discord, video calls and playing online games with each other. Experts recommend using online gaming as a way to keep in contact. In fact, online gaming reached a record number of players during the pandemic, according to an article in the International Journal of Surgery detailing the impacts of COVID-19 on different social factors and industries. Aknin notes that anything involving a meaningful exchange of content is helpful in staying connected. Students in the United States took socializing virtually into their own hands by creating community spaces on Minecraft. Students from Berklee College of Music, Boston University and Emerson College created Minecraft servers for their colleges. Now, virtual versions of Berklee and Boston U campuses can be found in Minecraft’s creative mode, where students even hosted virtual graduations. Aknin suggests that, given the fact that friendships form based on shared interests, post-secondary institutions should focus on giving students a space to connect where they can express their personalities. “When we’re talking about how to form friendships, I think we need to provide a platform or a means for doing so.” Though it doesn’t revolve around gaming, at Ryerson, the Ryerson School of Journalism created a “Virtual Venn” based off of a community room in the Rogers Communication Centre frequented by journalism students. In the virtual space, students can drop in using a Google Meet link and socialize with whoever else happens to be logged on at the time. When it comes down to it, some of Cachero’s favourite memories with her friends have to do with commiserating about the everyday annoyances of university. She recalls ranting with her friends on the way back to Pitman Hall on a crisp fall night after a particularly difficult midterm exam. While talking over one another, she realized just how valuable it is to be going through a difficult time with other people. “We were all in the same boat and going through the same struggles together. It made me really reflect and realize that having such a good support system made going through stressful times a little easier, knowing that I wasn’t alone.” Aknin says the circumstances of the pandemic, and the confusion which surrounds it, could also give students something to connect over—even if the mutual feeling is frustration or uncertainty. “The mindset that ‘we’re all in this together’ gives people an interesting shared platform or narrative from which to build these relationships.” Another thing that draws us together, says Aknin, is the idea that we are all participating in this lockdown for the greater good. She says that this idea can help us feel more connected to others because there is an understanding that we are all taking care of each other and are experiencing the same struggles.
hile lots of people are turning to online networks as a way to build friendships, it’s important to remember that not everyone has good intentions online. This is something that Raquiz can speak to personally after an encounter with someone on Ryerson’s subreddit forum. She recalls a conversation that quickly went past the limits of her comfort zone. Over the course of 30 minutes, the person went from asking generic questions about her major and her year to questions about her personal life and location. Interactions such as this one can be anything from annoying to frightening. Raquiz has since blocked this user and has been more cautious when speaking to others, but she says that the experience made her think twice about who she may be connecting with. Now, Raquiz attempts to verify other users by checking out their Reddit and getting another social media account—preferably one which includes photos. Norton LifeLock, a cybersecurity company, published 15 tips to help people stay safe online. The main piece of advice: never share too much personal information. As Raquiz noted, people with ill intentions can use things like your location, date or place of birth to harm you. The article also suggests being cautious on large social networking sites like Facebook since these large sites attract a ton of users with different intentions. Instead, they suggest joining more niche groups within these sites. Try joining something similar to the Ryer-
son Accepted Facebook groups or subreddit communities, and verify everyone who speaks to you to the best of your ability. If worse comes to worst, as Raquiz’s situation did, the block button is your best friend. You don’t owe anything to people trying to chat with you online, and if someone makes you uncomfortable, use the tools available to you to get out of that situation.
or Raquiz, meeting friends looked a little different than what Cachero described. It definitely didn’t involve walking up to someone after orientation and hoping to hit it off. Instead, it was posting a question on Reddit, seeing someone’s response and looking at other Reddit “communities” they’re subscribed to to see if they shared any interests. Then, she can decide to send a message to them about anything from her favourite streamers to animating on Adobe After Effects, with hopes to eventually talk about life in general. Raquiz’s and Cachero’s experiences with forming university friendships were different, but both managed to form connections regardless.
“The mindset that ‘we’re people an interesting shared platform or narthese relationships.” No one knows quite what the school year will look like. With our newly online campus and events cancelled or held virtually, the university experience during COVID-19 will be different. But, with many ways to connect online and countless great people to reach out to, it doesn’t have to be something you take on alone. As people clear room in their Google Drive for new projects and pull out their planners, incoming students can log onto Facebook, Reddit and Instagram to get a feel for what it’ll be like to socialize this year. Maybe you send a quick introduction about yourself and proof of enrollment to one of the many student-run Ryerson Class of 2024 groups on Instagram, where you can see photos and bios of students in your program. Maybe you, armed with your best selfies and a quick writeup, post in one of two Ryerson Class of 2024 Facebook groups, hoping for some responses. Or maybe, you do as Raquiz did and type up a simple post in the r/Ryerson forum and wait to see where things go from there.
Coming up with your student budget: Pandemic Creating a personal budget can be daunting even if you have a steady income, but the effects of COVID-19 haven’t made financial planning any easier for students. As certain businesses remain closed, and federal financial aid such as the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) and the Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB) come to an end and change eligibility requirements, many students have lost their primary source of income and are unsure of how to pay for their expenses. According to Coleen Clark, a retired Ryerson associate professor of personal finance, it’s time to look at our spending and see where it’s beneficial to cut back.
recording everything they spend. She said that it’s important for people to sit back and write out every expense down to the last dime. Then, they can make a decision on what expenses are most important to them. Although many students will be saving a great amount of money from not commuting as much this semester, it’s important to plan out how you can effectively make the best use of the money you’re saving. To help make the process of financial planning just a little easier, here are a few tips to consider: Track your spending It’s one thing to create a budget but another to clearly see how much you’re spending. Seeing how much you’re spending on paper can be helpful to see where you can cut back on. On a spreadsheet or a notebook, write out your fixed expenses (recurring bills, subscriptions, rent), meaningful savings (money for tuition, a car, etc.), and short-term savings (money you’re saving for a spike in expenses, like those headphones you need to replace). Everything leftover from the above costs is your spending money! Make an effort to treat yourself once in a while but try to maintain a balance. Reducing the frequency of unnecessary expenses can be all the more rewarding when the time comes to treat yourself with a cup of coffee, takeout or a new sweater.
While students are at home for the semester, they have more opportunities to save on smaller items of disposable income, Clark said. “You don’t have to have quite so many coffees in a day. Although it’s nice to get together with friends over a coffee, that kind of spending [could] add up to a lot.” Aside from the essential expenses like rent, transportation, tuition and Start by saving small amounts student loans, Clark recommends Whether you’re working during the students reflect on their expenses by pandemic or still on the job hunt,
ILLUSTRATION: JES MASON it’s a common habit for people to set aside large amounts of money in their savings account. But rather than transferring a large sum of money once or twice a month, try setting aside small amounts every week. You’d be surprised at how fast five dollars a week can add up. If you’re working, a good trick is to save a percentage of your paycheque. Try starting with a smaller percentage and seeing how well that fits into your budget. Seek financial assistance geared towards student needs Although this semester will be held online, Ryerson has confirmed they will not be reducing tuition fees. Pauses on the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) repayments and interest are also set to re-
sume at the end of September. As CESB expires at the end of this month, the Government of Canada has proposed to change the eligibility requirements for the Canada Student Loan Program (CSLP) for 2020-2021. As stated on the Government of Canada’s website, the program will “allow more students to qualify and be eligible for greater amounts including doubling the non-repayable Canada Student Grants for full and part-time students, as well as for students with disabilities and students with dependents, in the coming academic year.” It is important to note that international students are not eligible for CESB or CSLP, however Ryerson Student Life offers them an emergency bursary as a source of
financial assistance. Have discussions about your finances Finances are usually one of the forbidden dinner table subjects, and probably won’t come up on Zoom either, but who’s to say you can’t reflect on your finances with others in a positive way? According to Clark, discussing your finances with the people you trust is a great way to get both new and unique ideas to save your money. In addition, it can help you hold yourself more accountable with your spending habits as well as provide some guidance on bigger financial discussions, such as your OSAP repayments. “People don’t like to talk about [finances], but they shouldn’t be afraid to,” she said.
5 wellness apps for the online semester As September creeps around the corner, one thought is at the top of all students’ minds: how will I handle the first ever online semester? Quarantining and social distancing have proven to be mentally arduous situations for many students so far. Whether you’re a seasoned Ryerson student or a first-year who has yet to experience university, taking care of your mental health is an important part of your academic journey. Although apps aren’t the perfect remedy for mental health struggles, they can help ease some of the tension brought on by high-stress situations. Here are five apps you can turn to when you’re feeling overwhelmed. Happify Who said taking care of your mental health always has to be a serious task? Happify is a free app that’s as fun as it sounds. Users start with a questionnaire that takes into account aspects including age,
health issues and goals for mental well-being so that the content is catered to the user’s specific needs. They’re then given various activities like gratitude journaling and arcade-like games that help build on well-being and positive affirmations. This is a great way to bring some fun into your day.
guided meditations available, but it also has a unique timer designed to ease you into a self-led meditation. The app has 55,000 free meditations, along with hundreds of courses from mediation experts and spiritual leaders. A 2011 Harvard Medical School study reported that meditation can actually increase density of the Insight Timer brain’s gray matter leading to betInsight Timer is an app that’s ter memory, information retention, great for beginner level meditators. emotion regulation and connection Not only does it have hundreds of with the external world. PHOTO: JACKIE LAM
Calm The Calm app is designed specifically to improve your “mental fitness.” Upon downloading, users have access to a variety of free meditations geared to help you fall asleep or simply calm your mind. When you make sure to sleep well, your stress levels are naturally lower during the day. Although the free version has a limited number of meditations available, there is still something for everyone. This app is a great way to slow down and destress, especially at night when anxious thoughts often enter the mind after a long day of classes and assignments. BetterHelp Therapy can be a transformative tool for improving your mental health but is often expensive and difficult to organize. BetterHelp is a therapy app that matches you with a licensed therapist based on your individual needs. If you feel like the therapist you receive
is not a good match for you, you can easily apply for a change. The app is cheaper than many in person and online therapy options, ranging from $40 to $70 a week (billed each month). Users can call or message their therapist at any time or can cancel membership without providing a reason. Since many therapy offices remain closed during the pandemic, BetterHelp is an online option for prioritizing your mental health from the comfort of your own home. CBT Thought Diary The way you talk and think about yourself is a major determinant of your mood throughout the day so it’s important that we train our minds to think constructively. CBT Thought Diary is a free journaling app designed to retrain your mind using cognitive behavioural therapy to affect your moods and behaviour in a positive way. It allows you to track your repetitive, negative thoughts and then asks you to challenge and reframe them.
Rams’ rookies prepare for new beginnings at Ryerson By Justin Walters The COVID-19 pandemic has caused uncertainty in almost every aspect of university life. For first-year athletes, the pandemic has presented new challenges they had never envisioned facing. Ontario University Athletics (OUA) cancelled all fall semester sports on June 8. While sports like hockey, basketball and volleyball have the possibility of starting up in the new year, fall-only sports like soccer will likely not see the field this school year under any circumstances. It’s not yet known when or even if OUA sports will be up and running again anytime soon. That uncertainty didn’t slow down the recruiting for the Ryerson Rams.
“How can you not love downtown Toronto?” Jacob Carlos, one of the Rams men’s soccer team’s newest additions, said he didn’t worry too much about the pandemic when making his decision to come to Ryerson. Carlos said he loved the school and the opportunities he would have playing here, and wouldn’t let the pandemic get in his way of becom-
ing a Ram. “Ryerson has some great facilities,” he said. “I like Filip [Prostran], the coach, he’s great. And how can you not love downtown Toronto?” Of course, an athlete’s decision on a school doesn’t solely depend on the athletic component. Other factors such as location and education often play a role in their decision making process. “[Ryerson is] a great school for me to learn at. I want to have a career connected to sports in some way and Ryerson’s sport media program opens the door for me to do that,” said Rams women’s basketball recruit Kaillie Hall. “In terms of basketball the team has such a great culture and is so young and talented.” Hall is transferring to Ryerson from Bowling Green State University, a National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division One school in Bowling Green, Ohio. Hall said she’s relieved to be playing in Canada, even if she doesn’t see the court this year. “The two countries have handled [the pandemic] differently in terms of protocols,” said the Hamilton, Ont. native. “It would be tough to see my family if I was playing in the States. I feel comfortable moving to Toronto in September.” Kevin Gursoy is one of the
Jacob Carlos, from Mississauga, Ont., officially signed with the Rams men’s soccer team on April 9.
newcomers to look out for on the Ryerson men’s hockey team. Gursoy spent the last three seasons playing out east in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. When he received his offer, it was already too late to be able to visit campus. However, a virtual tour was enough to convince him to commit to Ryerson. “After I saw the campus and all the facilities, it kind of made it a no-brainer,” he said. Gursoy mentioned that since then, the administration has made an effort to communicate regularly with the athletes. “They keep in touch with us on a weekly basis, letting us know about any updates on training,
skates or when we might see us get back to playing games.” Aside from a lack of game time, another obstacle for OUA athletes is finding the motivation to work out from home.
“After I saw the campus and all the facilities, it kind of made it a no-brainer” Hall said she was lucky enough to have a fantastic support system from her parents, who really helped her with keeping active during quarantine. “My mom and I would do a lift to-
How to stay active during a pandemic ultimate goal but I’ve learned to love the routine, the people and the time I spend there more than the result.” “You won’t do what you don’t love, no matter the potential reward, and working out from home just wasn’t something I loved.” Tatomir bought resistance bands and started to run and bike again, but it wasn’t the same as the gym. His advice to incoming students is straightforward: start slow and simple, and build from there. He recommends going once or twice a week and continuing that way until finding a routine that works for you. Despite coming off an injury, Rams women’s volleyball player Lauren Wong has found ways to stay active during the pandemic. PHOTO: JOSEPH SHENOUDA
By Donald Higney For many students, staying active is an important part of leading a balanced life. But going to the gym may be harder for Ryerson students with the limited reopening of the Mattamy Athletic Centre (MAC). The MAC reopened on Aug. 10 after closing in March because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It now operates on a reservation basis, with students booking open 90-minute
time slots to workout. Upon arriving, they go through symptom screening and have to abide by physical distancing guidelines. For Eduard Tatomir, a fitness centre and facilities supervisor at both the MAC and the Ryerson Athletic Centre (RAC), his fitness routine immediately changed with the closures. “Going to the gym is more about the journey rather than the destination,” said Tatomir. “Sure, looking and feeling better is the
“You won’t do what you don’t love, no matter the potential reward” Michelle Parlevliet, a specialist in recreation facilities and equipment and former Rams track and field athlete, took up biking and running again during the pandemic. Parlevliet said finding activities outside of the confines of a gym helped her reconnect with the activities she used to do regularly. “You’re spending time on your-
PHOTO: JOE MASTROMATTEO
gether every night. If I wanted to go on a run, my dad would follow me on his bike. If I wanted to go outside and shoot around, he would drop everything and come shoot with me,” said Hall. “They know it’s been hard lately, and it’s been great to have them there with me.” The athletes’ hope is that at some point in the near future, OUA sports will make a return and fans will be able to cheer on the Blue and Gold. In the meantime, Carlos had a message for his fellow Rams. “Stay safe, keep checking up on the latest news with the Rams and please come support us when it is safe to do so. Without the fans we are nothing.”
Rams athletes, coaches and facility employees give the best tips and tricks for an active and healthy fall
self without focusing on bettering yourself the whole time,” she said. All of the RAC’s facilities, including the pool and the track, continue to remain closed, as well as Kerr Hall’s gym. For Ryerson’s student athletes, the transition has also been challenging. Before the pandemic, Rams women’s hockey player Mariah Hinds focused on training that benefited her on the ice such as weight lifting. Since the closure of rinks, she’s found ways to adapt. “I think COVID has opened me up to a world of self improvement, and through that I found ways where I actually enjoy working out,” Hinds said. “I have become a new fitness person of cardio and body weight agility whereas before I could not see past the weights.” Lauren Wong of the women’s volleyball team was recovering from an injury when the pandemic started. The quieter time at home helped her come back to full health to start training again. Through it all, Wong was able to develop a routine at home that helped her succeed. Lately she’s been doing a workout program similar to ones that she would get during the season. “It is tough not having my
team there to push me and watch my form,” said Wong. “But I have learned to have more selfdiscipline and to be aware of my movements when working out.”
“COVID has opened me up to a world of self improvement” Cross country coach Albert Dell’Apa said he was lucky his athletes could run by themselves while still being able to connect with teammates and coaches through Zoom and social media. Over the past 25 years of coaching, he’s always stuck with two main pieces of advice: patience and consistency. “No matter what the activity is that you are using to meet your fitness goals, it takes time to see improvements in your fitness level and many fail as they try to do too much at once,” he said. “The body and mind adapt more successfully when you are consistent. Don’t try to work out seven days in week one then once in week two and expect to see improvement. Set reasonable expectations for yourself that are attainable and stick to them!”
Profs The COVID-19 pandemic has made many of society’s existing problems worse: economic and housing crises, failing health care systems and most recently, the technical difficulties facing professors at Ryerson. The Eyeopener interviewed professors and students alike about their past experiences with technical difficulties and their concerns with moving to an online format this fall. First-year chemistry student Tim Ferclass said that, in a lecture last year, his biochemistry professor Roger S. Router had trouble starting a PowerPoint slideshow. Ferclass said the lecture started 25 minutes late as Router had to call in the tech team—just to find out all he had to do was hook up the HDMI cable. “I used the extra time to read my daily horoscope and it said something bad was going to happen this year,” said Ferclass. He also mentioned that he and his friends are worried about how professors will adjust to teaching online classes if they can’t even figure out how to plug in one simple cable. Barry Dinbooks, a third-year philosophy student, said he’s really worried about getting his degree on time because of online classes. “My English professor, Will Gates, used
Journalism professor Joe Briteness said that after classes went online in the winter semester, he had a hard time with his computer during Zoom lectures. “One day, my screen stopped working, I tried everything to fix it,” said Briteness. “I later realized that my brightness settings were just on low.”
ILLUSTRATION: PERNIA JAMSHE a permanent marker on the whiteboard multiple times during the semester,” said Dinbooks. “You’d think an English professor would take the time to read what the marker says, but not Mr. Gates.”
when he can’t even use a whiteboard correctly. Unlike some folks, at least Gates is honest about his inability to use modern technology. “I’m not sure why I was hired back this year,” said Gates. “I can’t teach classes online, I still use a Nokia 3310.” Shirley Gettingby, a second-year business student, told The Eye she’s concerned about online classes going smoothly because her economics professor Connor O’ltdelete still Dinbooks said he is unsure how uses Microsoft Office 2004. Gates will be able to use a computer “Last semester it took him 15 min-
utes to figure out how to export a Word doc as a PDF,” said Gettingby. “I love his lectures because I get so much time to do Buzzfeed quizzes.” O’ltdelete seemed genuinely distressed about teaching online in the upcoming semester. “I’m not sure how to get Zoom working and I still don’t understand Google Drive,” said O’ltdelete. “My students are always complaining about me not posting their grades on D2L. I’m too afraid to tell them I don’t know how.”
First-year journalism student Noah Tendence was there to witness the blunder. “That was pretty hilarious. It gave me enough time to roll myself a joint,” said Tendence. “I stopped attending his online lectures ever since, I’ve just been too turnt up to turn up to class. I’m not really sure what to expect in the fall semester.” Not everyone can be as relaxed as Tendence. The rest of us, students and professors alike, are unsure what this semester has in store for us. All we can hope for is that our professors join us in the 21st century. Remember to turn on your D2L notifications, on the off chance that your professors know how to use it.
worst An incoming first-year student couldn’t be more excited to start their Ryerson journey at the worst possible time. Professional Communications major Sal C. Mooz had no idea when they applied to Ryerson University that they would be starting school in the middle of a global pandemic. Although it seems like the school year will be ruined for most, Mooz is chomping at the bit to start. “I’ve been waiting all summer, sitting around on my bed staring at my laptop, to start the school year where I can sit around on my bed staring at my laptop,” said Mooz.
When asked why they are so excited about the upcoming school year, Mooz listed all the fun activities available during orientation week. Some online activities available during O-Week 2020 include: passive-aggressive email writing, realistic VR of getting lost trying to find classes and a video game tournament featuring the running T-rex
ILLUSTRATION: JES MASON game you play when your internet is out. “I’ve been practicing,” said Mooz over a Zoom interview. Mooz also superglued their Snapchat username to their head in preparation for frosh. They said they thought it was a good way to make friends. “I know it might be a bit harder to make friends online, but I’m fully ready to give out all my social media handles like I’m an influencer,” said Mooz. “Even if my Snapchat username is still ‘LOLrandoOMG’ from Grade 6.” During the Zoom call, Mooz also showed off their newly purchased
LED lights strung up all around their room. Studies have shown that the sales of LED lights have risen 500 per cent since it was announced that most universities would be going online only for September. Hugh Slissjob, a market analyst who specializes in the LED light industry, said the reason for the sales increase is likely that students want to embrace the nightlife while staying socially distant. “The LED market is lit right now,” said Slissjob. “See what I did there?” There has also been a rise in sales of other products that help replicate
Toronto’s nightlife, including cardboard cutouts of sardines to mimic an overcrowded atmosphere, candles that smell like sweat and tacky leopard print chairs.
Some of Mooz’s friends and family have expressed concern over their eagerness for the school year. Their
father, Sal C. Mooz Sr., said “talk about a waste of money. I wanted to pay for Sal to go to school, not be taught by some teacher named Dee Touelle.” Mooz Sr. also said that Mooz has been refreshing said D2L page every hour or so, impatiently waiting for online classes to begin. Mooz’s friends have also been worried about their well-being as they become more and more excited about school. “We missed prom, graduation and the senior trip,” said Mooz’s friend Riley Consernd. “Yet Mooz is still talking about school non-stop, saying it’ll be the best year ever. I’m starting to think they live under a rock.” Other friends of Mooz agree with Consernd, many of them assuming Mooz is only pretending to be happy about the year. Mooz’s friend, Watt Daheck said, “I think Mooz is really in denial. I’ve never heard someone say how great a year is gonna be every five minutes before.” When Mooz heard the allegations, they said they were shocked. “Are you kidding me? I’ve never been more excited about anything in my whole life,” they said. “I can’t wait for my Wi-Fi to glitch, my eyes to hurt from staring at my screen and to drink alone in my room for all the frosh events! Plus it’s an excuse to avoid my parents. Mostly an excuse to avoid my parents.”
NUMBER 3 WILL SHOCK YOU
Top 10 lesser-known Rye student services available online By Cole Brocksom
9. Ryerson University Online Social Communities
With Ryerson University beginning its first full semester of online distance education due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, students might not be aware of the services still available to them. To help students navigate this transition into the fall semester, The Eyeopener has compiled a list of student services that you might not have known are still up and running online.
Ryerson has always encouraged student interaction online by supporting a variety of Facebook groups, such as the yearly class cohort groups of which there are about five per year.
Rent-A-Devil is a student-run organization that allows students to hire one of their advocates to attend lectures with them and “play devil’s advocate,” so the student doesn’t have to. Rent-A-Devil advocates are specially trained to be obtuse, miss the point the lecturer is trying to make and plainly restate other students’ comments by prefacing with “jumping off of that,” without adding any original ideas of their own. In the past, advocates would accompany students to in-person lectures. In an online-learning environment, advocates will now be added to class lists with fake names like Jackson, Derek or Brittany in order to access Zoom lectures and argue with professors on video calls.
4. SLC Online
For those students who miss the feeling of studying on campus, the Sheldon & Tracy Levy Student Learning Centre (SLC) has a new solution to recreate its study environment in a digital space. While students will be unable to visit the seventh floor of the SLC for silent study, the SLC will be hosting Floor Seven Video Call events. Students are encouraged to keep their microphones on but not make any noise. They are also asked to avoid 2. Online Learning Fashion eye contact, in order to capture the incredibly tense atmosphere that Consultants The Ryerson School of Fashion’s was offered on floor seven. Office of University TechnologyFashion Integration Tips (OUT- 5. Hub Café On the Go FIT) is a service that provides stuRyerson Eats has elected to move dents with solutions for their Zoom their Hub Café service onto Doormeeting attire needs. With the Dash, a food delivery app. Students switch to online learning, OUT- will be able to get their favourite FIT has seen increased demand for Hub Café meals delivered, includtheir service: offering consultation ing stale pizza, mystery soup and for the top half of students’ outfits rotating daily specials that won’t be during video calls. revealed until they arrive.
6. Kerr Hall Guide
“OUTFIT has really helped me a lot,” said Mark Etting, a second-year marketing management student. “I always felt out of place in first-year showing up to mock-interviews in sweatpants. Now that the fashion peeps have helped me figure out how to pick a shirt and tie combo for my Google hangouts, it doesn’t matter what pants I’m wearing.”
3. Virtual Lake Devo
For students who are unable to make it to campus but still want to experience Lake Devo, the staff at the Victoria Building will now be sending out weekly emails asking for darts. The emails will be sent at odd intervals and include photos and videos of skaters fumbling their tricks.
Many Ryerson students have their own story of getting lost while trying to find a class in Kerr Hall. That’s why the Service Hub teamed up with a group of Ryerson computer science students to develop an app that helps you navigate Kerr Hall and get to class on time. “We had some setbacks—which definitely weren’t related to us getting lost—in the geo-mapping phase,” said Dee Bugging, head of development for the Kerr Hall Guide app and fourth-year Ryerson computer science student. Bugging said the setbacks delayed the app’s release date until long after Ryerson was shut down. “Luckily we were able to rework the functionality of the app in time for the new semester—it now shows you where your classes would have been if we weren’t in the middle of a global health crisis,” said Bugging.
As the university transitions most of its operations online, the Office of the Vice-Provost, Students released a statement regarding these groups. “The university will ensure these PHOTO: ACHARY ROMAN groups are supported to the fullest extent so they can be used exclusive7. Ryerson Zoom Backgrounds health clinic and the pile of bricks ly by Eyeopener writers looking for Some students may want to simu- and fencing in front of the defaced sources,” the statement read. late Ryerson’s campus environment statue of Egerton Ryerson. to help them ease into online classes. 10. RU Therapy Dogs For this reason, members of the Fac- 8. Campus Life Advisors Due to COVID-19 safety conulty of Communication and Design As part of the Tri-Mentoring cerns, Ryerson’s therapy dogs will have stepped up to help by creating Program, Ryerson offers students be unable to attend in-person sesZoom backgrounds out of photos one-on-one mentoring sessions with sions to calm and comfort students taken on Ryerson’s campus. Campus Life Advisors. Now that in the fall semester. However, the Students can download high qual- campus life has largely been moved service has moved online: RU Therity background images of Ryerson’s online, the university has reduced apy Dogs will be hosting Zoom calls most scenic spots, including the this service to just one guy sending where students can sign-on and bottom of Jorgenson Hall, the Kerr students “advice animal” memes from spend time barking at the screen Hall West basement across from the 2014 he thinks best fit their situation. with their fluffy friends.
Rye Highland Treasure Map Negative PRESTO balances, video games promising new horizons and a global pandemic. Can you brave these obstacles to get to the treasured piece of paper with your name on it? Follow this map get there!
ILLUSTRATION: LAILA AMER