The Eyeopener: Vol 57, Issue 6

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National Day of Action demands accessible education Students across Canada organized rallies to fight back against high tuition costs

By Lillie Coussee The National Day of Action rallies held across the country on Wednesday called for free and accessible education, more grants and education justice, said Mitra Yakubi, the chairperson for the Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario (CFSO). CFSO organized a National Day of Action on Nov. 8 to demand accessible education for all postsecondary students in Ontario. The demonstration in Toronto began at Grange Park before making its way to Queen’s Park, with students from universities across the Greater Toronto Area in attendance. Six other rallies were underway across the province and 13 demonstrations took place nationwide. According to its website, CFSO is the oldest and largest bilingual national students’ union and comprises over 60 university student unions across Canada. This union organizes and lobbies for various student-related issues including free and accessible education. “The first one is free and accessible education. Second one is grants, not loans…and the last one is education justice,” Yakubi said. She said more and more students are having to take loans because they’re not offered grants, which take a long time to pay back. Yakubi said international students are especially treated like “cash cows” and it’s important to consider all student experiences. “Our hope is to let our government officials know that students have been left behind for far too long. We

demand free and accessible education and we demand that students be prioritized,” she said. International undergraduate students paid over 200 per cent more than domestic students for their tuition in the 2022-23 academic school year. Ontario has the highest tuition fees for international students, according to Statistics Canada. The report also highlights that graduate students in Ontario have an average of 26.2 per cent higher tuition costs than the Canadian average. Sina Rahimi, an international student from Iran in the second-year of his PhD at Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU), said international students are here to study and learn but they are being forced to negotiate with the university about the costs of tuition. He said many international students have to work multiple jobs not only to pay for tuition but also to afford the cost of living in Toronto. Rahimi said there are not many scholarship opportunities for international students and the ones that are offered don’t cover the full cost of tuition, let alone other life expenses. The Eyeopener reached out to the school for comment but didn’t receive a response in time for publication. Rahimi added that international students have been in contact with TMU about the support needed, but the problem persists. “If [TMU] can provide international students with different sources of funding, different scholarships, loans or maybe emergency bursaries, that would be another solution to the problem,” Rahimi said.

Jacqui Gingras, a sociology professor at TMU, said the best way to support international students is to halt the school’s partnership with Navitas—a for-profit organization based out of Australia that helps increase opportunities and international enrolment for students, according to its website. As previously reported by The Eye, TMU signed a 10-year partnership agreement with Navitas in September 2020, launching the Toronto Metropolitan University International College—a program aiming to help international students transition to Canadian university life. “There are so many questions about the role of Navitas and how money is being used,” Gingras said. “International students are being exploited in the name of a for-profit corporation.” Not all universities in Canada use Navitas. Western University halted its partnership with the corporation in January 2021 for multiple reasons, including a lack of transparency provided by the private program and because they felt international students were being “used as sources of revenue,” as previously reported by The Eye. The Eye reached out to TMU for comment but did not receive a response in time for publication. International students feel most of the burden when it comes to tuition costs, but all students are struggling, Gingras said. She added that free education for all is “absolutely possible…it’s about priorities.” In an email to The Eye, TMU president Mohamed Lachemi said the university agreed with the important issues raised by the National Day


of Action. However, he said many universities are facing difficult fiscal realities as provincial funding has been on a decline for the past couple of years resulting in many challenges, including “frozen domestic tuition fees, fixed enrollment corridors and limited government funding.” “While there are no current plans to increase tuition, covering the cost of inflation or investing in various enhancements is certainly a challenge when revenues are frozen for several years in a row,” Lachemi said. Annie Yang, a part-time student at TMU and a student executive for Toronto Metropolitan Association of Part-time Students, was at Queen’s Park on Wednesday. She said having to pay for education is a huge burden on many students’ livelihoods and working two to three jobs is not ideal. “It’s a very intentional political

choice the government made to make post-secondary [education] not affordable and biased towards privileged populations,” she said. Yang studies mental health and addiction at The Chang School of Continuing Education and is pacing herself with her courses, not because she wants to but because she cannot afford to be a full-time student right now. “If we did have free and accessible education [then] I could take more courses,” she said. “Whether you’re part-time, full-time or international, everyone is affected to some degree by the high costs of tuition.” Yakubi and CFSO are prepared to advocate for all students for free and accessible education until things change, she said. “We are [not] going to…stop until they listen to us.”

TMU’s Remembrance Day Ceremony addresses current global conflicts By Anastasia Blosser and Gabriela Silva Ponte Toronto Metropolitan University’s (TMU) Remembrance Day ceremony held on Nov. 10 on the Kerr Hall Quad brought attention to the contemporary need for human rights protection. The ceremony took place by the quad’s flagpole, where the flag was at half-mast at 10:45 a.m. with approximately 30 individuals present. TMU president Mohamed Lachemi invited community members to gather and to “commemorate the end of [the First World War] and pay tribute to the sacrifices made by all those who served.” Remembrance Day has historically been a time to pay tribute to Canadian veterans who fought during times of conflict, according to a statement from the Prime Minister of Canada. Provost and vice-president, academic Roberta Iannacito-

Provenzano was visibly emotional as she shared her sentiments regarding the day and the current state of the world. “Today we are gathered to pay tribute to those who have fought for the rights and freedoms we enjoy here in Canada,” she said. Iannacito-Provenzano encouraged the attendees to pause and reflect on those affected by the two World Wars but also by current and ongoing conflicts around the globe. “Many of us today have been touched by war in our lives. Beyond our borders, millions are suffering the fall of conflicts, hostilities, intentions. Some with no access to food, safety or shelter,” Iannacito-Provenzano said. “The ongoing violence in the Middle East has been tragic and profoundly distressing.” Wreaths were then laid for TMU alumni, staff and administration, followed by a playing of “The Last Post.”

Jennifer Tunnicliffe, a history professor at TMU, also spoke on the relationship between war and the protection of human rights. Tunnicliffe said Remembrance Day is also a time to celebrate the work of those who strengthen human rights protections around the world. She said Canadians have historically used the term “civil liberties” to refer to a narrow set of rights that were not available to all Canadians. “At the time of the Second World War, Canada had virtually no laws to explicitly prohibit discrimination,” Tunnicliffe said in her speech. Tunnicliffe said that though the war effort was presented as a fight to protect human rights, up to 24,000 “enemy nationals” were interned on Canadian soil. She said these examples of discrimination led to the legislation that protected the rights and freedoms of Canadians. Read more at




Holocaust survivor shares his experience at TMU

JERRY ZHANG/THE EYEOPENER By Anastasia Blosser and Gabriela Silva Ponte Holocaust survivor, Sol Nayman shared his experience at Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) as part of Hillel TMU’s sixth annual Holocaust education week on Nov. 9. Over 100 attendees were present, according to an Instagram post made by the student group. Hillel TMU is a Jewish student group that “works to amplify Jewish campus life,” according to its website. The group organized and hosted Holocaust Education Week at the university from Nov. 6 to 9. Other events held throughout the week include the Untold Stories photo exhibit and the Never Again is Now antisemitism panel.

“We are one of the last generations to hear a survivor testimony [first-hand]” Hillel TMU president, Noam Kehimkar, said university communities have a responsibility to learn about the Holocaust to ensure the tragedy will never be repeated. “In times of tension, we can be the agents of change, advocates for peace and bearers,” she said at the event. “Together, we can build a world [where] the lessons of the Holocaust guide us toward a more compassionate world.” In an interview with The Eyeopener, Kehimkar said she hopes students learned from Nayman’s experience and will take it with them. “It’s the first survivor testimony we’ve done in a while and it really warmed my heart to see so many students, parents and faculty members come out,” she said. “We are one of the last generations to hear a survivor testimony [first-hand].” Toni De Mello, TMU’s vicepresident of equity and community inclusion, said listening to the

experiences of Holocaust survivors first hand is a privilege. “We can record their stories, and we can listen to them on screen, but there is something about hearing somebody’s story in person,” De Mello said. “While we can’t reverse what these folks have experienced, what we’ve tried to do is hear their story and see how we can support moving forward.” Six candles were lit in memory of Jewish people who perished, persecuted Romani people and other ethnic groups, 2SLGBTQIA+ communities, political victims, people with disabilities and children who were targeted by the Nazi regime. The organizers then asked for a moment of silence in memory of those who were killed or victimized by the Holocaust. After TMU community members opened the event, Nayman took to the stage to share his experience. Nayman said he escaped Poland with his family in 1939. They were initially sent to a labour camp in present day Russia before going to another one in Ukraine. Following the end of the Second World War, he and his family lived in a German displaced persons camp until they immigrated to Canada in 1948 as tailors and garment manufacturers. Nayman said his mission in life is to promote Holocaust education and genocide awareness to inspire others to oppose hatred and discrimination of any kind. “I realized that I’m one of a diminishing universe of people, one of a group of Holocaust survivors that is getting smaller and smaller, so I realized I better do something about it,” he said. “You are the last generation who will be in the presence of Holocaust survivors.” Alec Momenee-Duprie, vicepresident of first-year engagement at Hillel TMU, said he recognizes

that Holocaust education can be depressing but wants students to leave feeling motivated. “When we as Jews beg people to look at these atrocities, we aren’t trying to get pity, we aren’t trying to get any kind of privilege from being oppressed. What we’re trying to do is say, look at what happened,” he said. “What I hope people are invigorated to do is to stand up and in whatever way they can and stop being silent.”

Momenee-Duprie said that the lessons learned from the Holocaust can be applied to modern international relations. “As we look at the events that are currently going on, the victims of both sides and the perpetrators of both sides are all human,” he said. “The way that this kind of nuanced, decades long, complicated, messy global conflict will end is by each side understanding the humanity of the other and the right of the other to exist.” TMU president Mohamed Lachemi said that the events of Holocaust education week aligned with the school’s values. “The university has consistently shared that it is our expectation that TMU students, community members and their guests always conduct themselves and express their views in a manner that demonstrates respect, civility—and ideally empathy,” Lachemi told The Eye in an email. “This is in keeping with the university’s values, and in ways that are free from discrimination, racism or hatred.” Lachemi also said that the events followed standard protocol and security was present to ensure everything ran smoothly. “We must continue to be a place that is welcoming for students,

faculty and staff of all cultures and backgrounds; a place where those who may want to debate or disagree do so respectfully and with civility,” he said. The Holocaust took place during the Nazi era in Germany between 1933 and 1945. Throughout the Second World War, six million Jews and five million Soviet prisoners of war, Romanies, Jehovah’s Witnesses, queer, disabled persons and more were persecuted, according to the National WWII Museum.

“We must continue to be a place that is welcoming for all backgrounds” Nayman said that Holocaust education is not memorizing the statistics of casualties but rather understanding how a person can “incite violence” through their words. He brought attention to the stages of genocide that ends with extermination and denial. He warned the audience to “beware of the beginning” and to look for early warning signs such as the classification of and discrimination against marginalized groups. “There is only one thing worse than the Holocaust,” Nayman said. “That is a world that forgets it happened.” JERRY ZHANG/THE EYEOPENER




TMU Panel for Palestine holds space for conversation Editor-in-Chief Negin “Tyrone” Khodayari

By Dexter LeRuez A Panel for Palestine event held at Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) on Nov. 9 aimed to educate students and the general public who want to learn more about the current situation in the region, according to Dalia Chami, one of the event’s organizers and co-founder of the Middle Eastern Students’ Association (MESA). The event, which took place in a lecture hall at the Ted Rogers School of Management (TRSM), was described as “a journey through history, culture and the Palestinian struggle,” in a collaborative Instagram post from the organizers. The organizers include MESA, TMU’s Palestinian Culture Club (PCC), the Toronto Metropolitan Students’ Union (TMSU), Egyptian Students’ Association, Arab Students’ Association and the BIPOC Students’ Collective. “This event was not to [educate] people who are Arab or Palestinian or Muslim [who already know] what’s happening in Palestine,” said Chami, who is also a third-year RTA new media student at the university. “[The event] was to further educate the people who do not know what’s happening in Palestine but who are allies of the cause and genuinely wanted to learn.” Chami also said there was no cost for the event because she believes there should not be a cost to raising awareness. Throughout the night, various speakers from different organizations took the microphone to speak on topics such as Palestinian liberation, the experience of those living in the Gaza Strip and the role culture has in Palestinian resistance. One of the speakers was Mohammed William of the Palestinian Youth

News Gabriela “Platypus” Silva Ponte Dexter “HAWKSTAR MODE” LeRuez Anastasia “NicE eYeS” Blosser Photo Brithi “Check Out” Sehra Jerry “The Photo” Zhang Sammy “Gallery” Kogan Online Madeline “Austin” Liao Shaki “Y/N” Sutharsan JERRY ZHANG/THE EYEOPENER Movement (PYM) Toronto Chapter. The PYM is an organization that defines itself as “a transnational, independent, grassroots movement of young Palestinians dedicated to the liberation of our homeland and people,” according to its website. William hopes that attendees of the event feel empowered to speak up for justice. “I hope that Palestinian students feel that they can express their identities without fear of being targeted,” said William. “I hope that non-Palestinians feel comfortable and empowered to come out and speak up for justice and call for the end to this genocide and make their voices heard, especially in these troubling times.” For Palestinian students such as first-year accounting student Zakariya Al-Junaidi, the panel opened up opportunities to be around the community during tough times. “We are all going through a lot, seeing the photos from back home, our people being killed,” said AlJunaidi. “Being around our community , talking about our culture, reinforcing our identity and supporting one another was the main motivator.”

Concerns were raised about the safety of the event. William, in particular, explained that backlash was received leading up to the Panel for Palestine event. Chami explained the organizers had spoken with TMU security to ensure the safety of the event. Additionally, students and community members serving as safety marshals were stationed around the event to ensure the well-being of all attendees.

“I hope non-Palestinians feel...empowered to come out and speak up” After the event, attendees ate Palestinian foods such as knafeh from Scarborough-based pastry shop Kunafa’s. The store’s website describes knafeh as “a Middle Eastern cheese and dough pastry drizzled in a sweet, sugary-based syrup.” Additionally, a market was set up for attendees to buy jewelry and other goods with a Palestinian focus. Students like Al-Junaidi hope TMU will do more to support events such as the Panel for Palestine.

“It would help for more people to understand who we are as a people and understand what’s going on and spread awareness,” said Al-Junaidi. “I think that TMU should definitely be hosting more of these events.” Ibrahim Karnaz, a third-year aerospace engineering student, said he believes the school should be highlighting Palestinian events. “[TMU] offers a lot of programs that are known to help our cause. But I would love for TMU to put more of our [events] in the spotlight,” said Karnaz. “I would love for them to highlight our events because these events are made for other people, for non-Arab people to see.” According to Chami, 500 people signed up for and attended the panel. She said she couldn’t be prouder of how the event unfolded. “The audience was better than we could have ever expected,” said Chami. “They were supportive, [fully engaged]...and they cherished every moment.” Chami also said attendees were going through various emotions including anger, mourning, crying and hope for the future. “It was a beautiful crowd,” she said.

Features Kinza “Cover Story Slay” Zafar Arts and Culture Danielle “Super Meta” Reid Business and Technology Jake “LaFlamme” MacAndrew Communities Bana “Lips BBL-ing” Yirgalem Sports Ilyas “Cat Valentine” Hussein Daniella “Arthur” Lopez Fun and Satire Joshua “Pablo” Chang Media Konnor “Cookie Monster” Killoran Vanessa “Urban Chicken” Kauk Web Nishil “Come To” Kapadia Sam “Dinner” Chowdhury General Manager Liane “Next Up:” McLarty Design Director J.D. “The Print Issue!” Mowat The Interns!


Contributors Abigail “Brian Burke” Dove Rob “The Trenches” Vona Jonathan “JT” Reynoso Celina “Versatility” Chugani Jakob “Danish Dawg” Emil Kristensen Harsh “Tech Savvy” Kumar Alex “700” Wauthy Hannah “Cover Story” Mercanti Jes “Legend” Mason Dash “G.O.A.T.” Whyte Brigid “Majesty” Wren Adriana “Unspoken Deluxe” Fallico Krishika “Tech Sequel” Jethani Sherwin “Journ-return” Karimpoor Mariyah “Maaz-ter Contributor“ Salhia Atiya “On the Ball PT 2“ Malik Khushy “Not a 11/10 Clown“ Vashisht Jyrylle “Best New Artist” Penarroyo Lillie “Rally Reporter” Coussee Buzz “Feed” Quizzes



Grounders Music Festival: An ode to Toronto’s music scene

The Eyeopener’s behind-the-scenes coverage of the all-day indie festival MEDIALINKX STUDIO/DOMINICA By Jyrylle Penarroyo The Grounders’ stage was set up in front of glass windows, portraying a beautiful backdrop of the soon-to-be pink skies. The rest of the space was scattered with antique furniture and plants protruding from almost every corner. The incandescent lights cast a warm glow above the fixtures, creating a pleasant and snug atmosphere as the room slowly filled with anticipation from festival attendees. On Nov. 4, nine indie artists from the Greater Toronto Area performed at the Grounders Music Festival, held at OBJX Studio and founded by a group of Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) students. Before the festival started, the space buzzed with volunteers running around making last-minute preparations for the show and vendors setting up their stalls for awaiting customers. Volunteers greeted guests at the door with inviting smiles and a coupon for a complimentary drink at the bar. The festival was split into two portions. The daytime set opened up with Shoshana Glory, followed by Sofia Aëdon, Emma Beckett, Curt James and Nia Nadurata. The nighttime artists featured City Builders, The Beans, Jules Auckland and closed off with the punk rock band Heavenly Blue. The transition from daytime artists to nighttime artists naturally flowed together. The performances in the daytime were carefully selected, with the artists creating a calm, lighthearted atmosphere, almost as if they were gradually easing the attendees into the festival.

“We didn’t just want to do a concert. We wanted to make an experience” “I really enjoyed watching the sets when the sun was going down,” said Sierra Finkelshtain, the marketing lead for Grounders Music Festival and a fourth-year TMU media production student. “The windows in the background created an effect—that was really cool! It goes into the whole concept of making a daytime and a nighttime portion.” The nighttime performances were more upbeat, featuring a variety of genres from pop to electronic and punk rock. The contrast of atmosphere between the two portions showed the duality of the city and was curated in a way that reflected the music scene in Toronto, according to Finkelshtain. Daytime artists took turns doing sound checks with the festival crew to make sure everything was up to standard. The guests exchanged conversations with each other, talking about which artists they came to support—some of whom were friends or loved ones of the performers.

BRITHI SEHRA/THE EYEOPENER & COLE LONDON/GROUNDERS MUSIC FESTIVAL Krish Shah, a fourth-year business and technology management student at TMU, mentioned how “cool” the venue decor was and how spacious the area was, describing it to be the “perfect vibe” for the event. “Generally, I’m not a massive fan of the type of music that the artists were performing,” Shah said. “But the energy and talent of the performers shone through. I had a great time!” Sofia Aëdon, one of the daytime artists and a TMU alumna, spoke about her experience performing at the festival. “I was very excited about Grounders because I know a few of the girls coordinating the gig,” she said. “It’s just great to see local events like this…I love when [organizers] bring smaller musicians together.” The festival presented an opportunity for local musicians and music lovers to gather as a collective in celebration of Toronto’s arts scene. In a post-performance interview with The

Scan here to listen to music by Grounders Music Festival performers

Eyeopener, the members of Heavenly Blue many people came out to support and were not shared their appreciation for the festival and the expecting the turnout, especially during their crew members working behind-the-scenes. performance as it was later in the night. They were also amazed at the energy of the room, “Underground DIY punk shit” with the attendees getting up to dance and moshing alongside Olsen herself. Natasha Syberg-Olsen, the lead singer for Finkelshtain said the idea behind the festival Heavenly Blue and a second-year professional was to make an experience for the artists rather music student at TMU, said everyone at the than just a concert. The goal was to hone in on festival was “super friendly” and praised the the community aspect of the event, encouraging event’s overall atmosphere. artists and attendees to meet new people and “Everything felt very professional and discover the wide variety of music in one place. organized,” Olsen said. “It’s a good feeling, and I “We were getting comments like ‘Oh, maybe felt very valued here.” a festival is too much, just do a concert,’ but I Beatrice Richard, the band’s drummer, said think that the whole idea about Grounders that most of the shows they’ve played have been is that we didn’t just want to do a concert,” “underground DIY punk shit.” Finkelshtain said. “We wanted to make an “It’s nice to switch up the vibe sometime,” experience.” Richard said. “It feels like you’re a fancy person This night’s events allowed attendees to visit doing fancy things.” vendors and shop as the artists played their set The band members were surprised with how in the background. Behind-the-scenes, despite working and ESTRELLA LO/ REBELLE ZINE ensuring everything went smoothly, the Grounders crew had moments to sit back and enjoy the festival themselves. In addition to giving a platform to emerging artists, Grounders Music Festival was also founded by a collection of passionate TMU media production students. The women and non-binary-led team wanted to highlight representation, not only in the music industry but in the event planning industry as well. “We had to put this out there, not only to show representation with the artists we chose, but also show how the behind-the-scenes can be diverse as well,” said Finkelshtain.

T H E ELUSIVE SAFE SPACE Where do queer students seek safety in times of violence? Words by Hannah Mercanti Disclaimer: Though The Eyeopener usually steers away from interviewing journalism students, Jay Ashdown, a source in this story is a TMU journalism student who ofered valuable insight and perspective. This did not jeopardize the reporting or factual relevance of the piece.


s Felicia Jensen* attempts to join a gaming club at Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU), she doesn’t know what to expect. Nothing seems out of place to the fifth-year science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) student as she double-clicks the invite link and logs onto the Discord server. Though as she scrolls through the channels on the darkened sidebar, she notices something missing. She takes a deep breath and sends a message to the general chat. “Hey,” it reads. “Can we have a channel dedicated to queer students so we could talk to and meet each other?” Slowly, the replies pour in. “Why do you want to be separated from the community?” One reply reads. “Imagine if we made a channel for straight and cis people?” Eventually, a message from the moderator comes

Visuals by Jes Mason in: “We don’t want to create a space.” Another breath. Long story short, Jensen doesn’t end up sticking around the TMU gaming club and her shortlived membership becomes a thing of the past before her very eyes. Anti-2SLGBTQIA+ views have been stealthily increasing in Canada over the past few years. According to a 2021 Statistics Canada report, sexual orientation-related hate crimes shot up 64 per cent from 2020 to 2021. Many consider Canada a progressive place to live but residents were brought back to reality this past June when a former student walked onto the University of Waterloo campus and stabbed two students and a faculty member involved in a gender studies class. This increase in violence has been manifesting across Canada in many ways. Along with the fear of physical assault, queer students now also face anti-trans protests, most notably in the form of the infamous 1 Million March 4 Children, a Canada-wide protest group marching against 2SLGBTQIA+ inclusive education. On Sept. 20, Canadian streets slowly filled with protestors boasting transphobic messages. A

Facebook post made by 1 Million March 4 Children on Oct. 24 states that the group “is the people’s movement and it is shining bright.” Trans students were left essentially defenceless against the potential aggressors around their campuses. But on the same day, marchers were met with a crowd of more than 1,000 counter-protestors fighting for 2SLGBTQIA+ and trans rights, according to CTV. Groups like Students for Queer Liberation—a collective made up of 2SLGBTQIA+ students from Toronto universities including University of Toronto (U of T) and TMU—have been countering these movements in multiple ways. For the duration of the Sept. 20 march, member and peer supporter Nora Ahmadi Vosta Kalaei organized a walk-safe program with Students for Queer Liberation for students at U of T to ensure students were “getting where they need to go.” At TMU, students have historically had 2SLGBTQIA+ groups to join and find community in. An article from Toronto Met Magazine relays that queer faculty and students have been banding together to create these spaces since as early as 1977. Though such spaces continue to exist, so does the hate against the people who occupy them.


he decision to change his name in the school system wasn’t an easy one. In fact, he had been putting it off for some time now. But eventually, Jay Ashdown, a third-year journalism student, grew sick of the confusion from peers and professors surrounding his gender identity.

He knew what had to be done—it was time to log on to MyServiceHub and update his preferred name. As the tab pops open in a new window, Ashdown navigates the site’s homepage and clicks “profile,” then “confirm/update chosen name,” enters his new name and hits save. The process seems almost underwhelming compared to the response from faculty and students alike. Strolling into class, Ashdown grabs a seat and his professor does a double-take. “One professor saw my name she looked at me and was like, ‘You sure you want the name Jay?’ And I was like, ‘Yeah, I do. That’s my name,’” says Ashdown. The professor’s response of a bewildered smile made Ashdown realize what it meant—that he wasn’t understood, not really. Outside of the classroom, Ashdown’s discomfort continues. “Whenever I overhear students’ conversations [concerning 2SLGBTQIA+ issues] it’s always like, ‘Is that a he or she or it.’” Ashdown associates the rise of hate with the rise of rhetoric from conservative pundits like Jordan Peterson and Ben Shapiro, stating that he hears their arguments being repeated almost

verbatim by students on campus when presented with queerness. “I try to dress more conservatively on campus. Just a shirt and pants,” he says while wearing a plain crewneck sweater. While students are at the forefront of this issue, queeridentifying faculty, as well as faculty who teach queer studies, have been experiencing increased hostility from those on campus with anti-2SLGBTQ1A+ beliefs. Nestled somewhere within the twisting and turning corridors of Kerr Hall is sociology professor Michael Thorn. Within the ivycovered walls, Thorn can be found teaching about a variety of subjects, from pop-culture to gender identity and sexuality. Despite identifying as a gay man, he is white and in a position of power. Thorn acknowledges the fact that typically, he can assert himself in a classroom and prevent any serious disrespect from students. But in 2019, during Thorn’s very first year teaching Sex, Gender Identities, and Sexualities, he began noticing groups of male students entering his lectures for a laugh at the expense of his queerinformed lectures. In response, Thorn had to implement a rule

“ I ’ m s o m e o n e t h at makes space”


features in his class—close the door after you enter to prevent disruptions. He’s not ignorant to the fact that the presented solution to these instances—increased security— is one that likely won’t work for his students. Thorn knows from previous class discussions that many of his marginalized students “have not been entirely comfortable with the stronger security measures that have been brought in on campus.” TMU president Mohamed Lachemi tells The Eyeopener that part of the response from the university has been increasing the presence of security throughout campus. Lachemi explains that TMU security participates in equity, diversity and inclusion training before their first shift on campus. However, that doesn’t negate the fact that many students are uncomfortable with the security increase, which Lachemi acknowledges. The Eye has previously reported on the concerns many marginalized individuals have about increases in security on TMU’s campus. No Pride in Policing Coalition, a queer-led Toronto-based advocacy group, says in an Instagram post from June that they “continue to witness the Police attacks on Indigenous, 2-spirit, Black, racialized, Trans, and queer people in Toronto nationally and globally.” They anticipate a rise in attacks. TMU has developed a strategic outreach response team, which provides a walk-safe program, nonviolent de-escalation services and non-uniformed assistance when possible. “We also recognize that our community has a range of lived experiences and that sense of safety is deeply personal,” says Lachemi. Ahmadi Vosta Kalaei shares the belief that increased security isn’t

the most effective solution to the rise of anti-2SLGBTQIA+threats on campuses. Instead, individual students are left to create their own safe spaces and fill in the gaps left by their schools. “I wouldn’t say [homophobia and transphobia] affected safety, I would say it destroyed it,” says Ahmadi Vosta Kalaei. They say students have been requesting support at a “jarring” rate in the past few months. The problem extends past students on campuses. According to Thorn, the quiet rise of right-wing politics at the provincial level could also be fanning the flames of anti2SLGBTQIA+ rhetoric, alluding to the hike in support for rightwing candidate Pierre Poilievre. “There’s pressure from the conservative base for [Pierre Poilievre] to start addressing gender issues from a conservative populist perspective,” says Thorn. In the United States, bans on drag and gender presentation are becoming more common, worsening the threat of violence against queer communities. As support for Trudeau wanes and increases in Poilievre’s favour, Thorn fears we could end up in a similar position here in Canada and the violence could heighten even more. The Centre for Safer Sex & Sexual Violence Support (C3SVS) is another peer-run service available to queer and trans students offering inclusive sexual violence support. C3SVS coordinator Sam DeFranco explains the type of support queer students need changes all the time. “A lot of people that are coming by are afraid,” she says. “We also see people that are very angry.” Ashdown too has noticed a recent shift in how queer students are being

treated on campus. “I’m starting to get more worried about if I don’t pass, are people gonna attack me for that?”


couple hours outside of Toronto is Wilfred Laurier University (WLU), a Waterloo school known for its business and finance programs. After a year of study at WLU, Shadi B transferred to TMU. “There was no support, no community, no nothing,” says B, describing the WLU campus environment as “hell on earth.” In her first year at TMU, B joined a group chat for queer students looking to make friends. At the meetup, B couldn’t believe her eyes. Her old environment was so hesitant to welcome her queerness and here she is a year later, tears in her eyes as she hugs her new friends. B considers herself lucky—she’s an extrovert and has had years of experience making space for herself. “I’ve done a lot of work in codeswitching and adapting to different situations because of my trauma,” says B. “I think I’m someone that makes space. I’ve always been someone that makes space.” For B, staying safe on campus is all about surrounding yourself with like-minded individuals and staying out of the public eye as much as possible. Along with a private car, B almost exclusively uses closed spaces when on campus. “It’s very rare that I spend time in public spaces. When I go to the [Sheldon and Tracy Levy Student Learning Centre], I book out a room.” Though B finds comfort and safety in the “like-mindedness”

“If I don’t pass, are people gonna attack me for that?” of other creative students among her, she’s not unrealistic. She knows not every queer student is as extroverted and willing to make and take up space as she is. For these students, she recommends finding small, safe ways to express your queerness and incorporating that into your school life. The Toronto Metropolitan Students’ Union (TMSU) has two groups for students to access queer-specific services—The Queer Space and the Trans Collective in the Student Campus Centre (SCC). Newly appointed Trans Collective lead T** notes that the services were unavailable from the beginning of the semester until Oct. 30 and attributes this to vacancies within the equity services centre. Though both groups were late to start up, The Queer Space and the Trans Collective are currently planning a variety of events for TMU students, including a drag show at The Met Campus Pub. “We’re still doing outreach to see how best to support our students,” says T. Jensen’s experience on campus has been complex. On one hand,

she’s witnessed professors telling off students for laughing about pronouns, which she describes as “pretty cool.” On the other hand, with regards to students, she feels more “tolerated” than she does “accepted.” The lack of gender-neutral bathrooms and gym changing rooms add to Jensen’s discomfort on campus. When she goes to change clothes in the Recreation and Athletics Centre, the chatter dies down. “I just get stared at a lot. I could feel the weight of everyone’s eyes on me all the time just because of the way I dress or the way I present myself,” she says. The gym and bathrooms aren’t the only places she reports feeling especially unsafe on campus. For Jensen, being visibly queer in a STEM major has been an experience she describes as “scary and uncomfortable.” Jensen says in a major where women already tend to be subjected to sexism, queer female students have it even worse. For a space on campus to actually be safe for students like Jensen, she feels there needs to be rules: No harassment, no bullying, no racism, no homophobia and no transphobia. “But it should be enforced too, because some groups just… write it there because they need to check off some bullet points.” Despite the measures TMU has taken in an attempt to better protect queer students, it’s impossible for Jensen, among others, to predict how ‘safe’ their days will be. Will she be stared down? Likely. Will anything worse happen? It could. Striding down the hallway to class, sheer uncertainty hangs above her. When she makes it outside after her lecture, the feeling sticks. As her safety whistle jingles in her pocket, she picks up the pace past the security guards and considers adding more to her arsenal of gear. “Mace or bear spray…Even though it’s illegal,” says Jensen nonchalantly. She continues walking away from campus, and though the blue signs and glass buildings fade into the distance, the weight of having to keep herself safe remains. *The source’s name has been changed to protect their privacy and identity due to safety concerns. **The source prefers to be identiied only by their irst initial.



Through My Eyes: Unlearning how to be an overachiever

JERRY ZHANG/THE EYEOPENER By Mariyah Salhia My name is Mariyah and I’m a recovering overachiever. When I was in the sixth grade, I started to learn to play the piano. During my first 30 minute lesson, I played my way through about three- quarters of the sheet music in the introductory book. My teacher told me that usually her students would only get through one or two pages on their first lesson. When I think back to being in the second grade, I remember handing in my poetry homework a week in advance, I’d raise my hand to answer every question in my French class and I’d volunteer to have my assignments read to the class. I’ve never really thought I was particularly smart or a particularly diligent student or a piano maestro. But I always thought everything I tried to do was easy. As a kid, my parents spent hours trying to convince me that one day things wouldn’t be easy. That one day I wouldn’t be able to turn in assignments I’d done the night before or I wouldn’t be able to make the honour roll by studying for tests just hours before I was supposed to write them. And yes, I’d nod my head in agreement. “I know,” I’d say to my parents. “I understand.” And I thought I did understand. But it turns out I didn’t.

“It was the first time I really, really wanted to work hard, the first time I felt like I had something to lose” By the time the Grade 12 rolled around, all my friends were talking about university applications and I couldn’t really be bothered. For a few months, I thought I might take a gap year. University didn’t sound appealing and I couldn’t understand why. My friends were excited to get out

of high school and so was my twin sister. My parents gave me advice about what kinds of programs sounded like a good fit for me, my sister would show me brochures for the programs she and her friends were starting applications for. However, I wasn’t so excited. After a conversation with my guidance counselor, I was told that maybe post-secondary education wasn’t the best option for me. That one sentence was like a punch to the gut. My guidance counselor Mr. Parker, was confused at my upset. “I thought you’d be relieved,” he said. “You don’t really seem interested in going to university.” Until that moment, I felt like my indifference to school was completely internal. It was the first time that anyone other than my parents told me that I wouldn’t get into university if I didn’t care about getting accepted at all. I wouldn’t be able to get into any program, let alone the one I preferred. “Post-secondary isn’t for everyone, Mariyah,” he said. Why wasn’t it for me? It was for my friends and my sister. It was for my parents. Did my teachers think I was a bad student? Sure, my Grade 11 functions teacher might’ve told my parents she suspected I was dyslexic but everyone has a little bit of trouble with math, right? After that meeting, and frankly, the white hot shame of knowing that someone could see through my “I love school” facade, what became most important to me was making sure I got into university and proving Mr. Parker wrong. That was my first mistake. It was around this time I think my mom was starting to get a read on the fact that maybe I wasn’t really feeling so good about going to university right after graduating high school. Mainly because my plan for university was to hit copy and paste on my mom’s plan for

university: major in criminology, minor is sociology. Another mistake marking my second one. My mom was everything I wanted to be. She was successful, she had a job she really liked and she got to wear a nice outfit to work everyday. When I went into her office with her, her coworkers would tell me how amazing she was while I stared at her degrees hung up on the wall behind her desk with my feet dangling off the edge of her deep client chairs. My mom, in her all-knowingness, believed there were other ways for me to be like her without doing her degree program, which she already knew I’d hate.

“I thought I did understand but it turns out I didn’t” It took a lot of convincing to finally get to the point where I knew my parents wouldn’t think less of me for going to Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) instead of their alma mater, the University of Toronto (U of T). My sister was set on going to McMaster University. But when it was time to work on my journalism school application, everyone was on team Mariyah. My mom proofread my personal essay, my dad filmed me doing streeters at Yonge-Dundas Square and my sister would give me pep talks when I thought my chances of getting in were slim to none. I’d never wanted anything as badly as I wanted to be admitted to this program, this newfound desire had lit a fire in me. It was the first time I really, really wanted to work hard. The first time I felt like I had something to lose. But up until that point, I’d never faced any real rejection, and I had no reason to believe I was going to start now. If I succeeded when I

didn’t try, I could only imagine what would happen if I tried my hardest. I was pretty bummed out when I was rejected from the program. After emailing back and forth with an admissions officer, retaking my Grade 12 English class the summer after I graduated high school, writing a letter of reconsideration and FedEx-ing a copy of my updated transcript to the TMU admissions office, I was still waitlisted for about a month. That August, right before school was supposed to start, I got a phone call that I’d gotten in. I spent that point onwards extremely paranoid about underperforming, even when I was at my best. Staying on campus late to finish all my assignments, taking advantage of as many office hours meetings as possible. Still, after my first semester, I ended up on academic probation. Yeah, there was a lot going on for me—it was the first time I was living away from home, none of my friends were at the same school as me. Also, I was in my first ever relationship with a partner whose idea of a romantic date was playing video games with his roommates. It didn’t matter to me. For the second time since deciding I wanted to be in this program, I’d failed. When my second semester started, I was ready to be the picture of academic perseverance. Just a few weeks into the semester, COVID-19 shut down my in-person classes. In just a matter of days, I’d gone from being independent and finding my workflow to trying to figure out how to be a student in the confines of my computer screen, while my sister was watching her lecture a mere four feet away from me. I did everything I could. I made sure I worked at my desk and not in my bed. I scheduled calls with my professors when I needed extra support, I started pitching stories to

publications to try and get my name out into the industry. I pursued stories in class that were important to me. I’d worked as hard as I could and still at the end of my third year, my academic advisor told me I’d likely need to take a fifth year.

“An overachiever’s recovery is a painful one and I’m still figuring out how to do that” And there it was, my third failure. All the work I’d done to prove to myself that I wasn’t a failure had gone down the toilet in one swift flush by my academic advisor, who was as delicate as he possibly could’ve been. So here I am, in my fifth year of my undergraduate degree. It’s taken a long time for me to feel like being in my fifth year was alright. Unlike other people I knew, I wasn’t doing this by choice, I was doing this as a consequence. My mom had taken every opportunity to make sure I knew that taking an extra year was normal. Who cares how long it takes to finish this degree? Nobody was going to care if I took an extra year on undergrad and now I’d have the opportunity to bolster my GPA for master’s applications. Now, I’m trying to figure out how to navigate my new normal. Maybe I wasn’t meant to be the person who breezed through classes and sheets of piano music. Maybe it’s time for me to accept what I was meant to do is trip and fall to figure out how to get back up. An overachiever’s recovery is a painful one and I’m still figuring out how to do that. The journey to that is by adjusting to a new reality, one where I’m happy with what I achieve when I try my best and not wallow in self pity when I couldn’t over achieve.



New beginnings for women’s hockey: PWHL to play at MAC By Abigail Dove Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) will see a professional sports team at the Mattamy Athletic Centre (MAC). The Professional Women’s Hockey League (PWHL) announced the league will consist of six teams, including a team in Toronto. The PWHL is the first women’s hockey league with a collective bargaining agreement, which provides more certainty for the players involved. Per the agreement, the PWHL’s salary ranges from $35,000 to $80,000. Teams will carry a minimum of six contracts that pay $80,000 annually over three years. In comparison, the Premier Hockey Federation (PHF)—a former women’s hockey league—salary ranged from $13,500 to $80,000. Toronto’s team will play their home games out of the MAC, confirmed by TMU director of sports operations Nick Asquini in an email to The Eyeopener. The regular season is set to begin in January 2024, with teams representing Minnesota, New York, Boston, Ottawa, Montreal and Toronto.

“The PWHL is inspiring and gives me hope in how [women] are being perceived in sports”


Van Volsen has hopes that the news of PWHL playing at the MAC will bring more fan engagement to the TMU Bold women’s hockey team games. Kerrin Kerr, a first-year Bold women’s hockey forward echoes this sentiment, emphasizing the significance of having inspiring role models and the opportunities that the PWHL brings.

“To see professional sports being played within the [MAC] is just a special opportunity”

statement citing their dissatisfaction with the operation of both leagues as they weren’t able to make a livable salary from playing. As a result, the Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association (PWHPA)—a nonprofit organization—was formed in May 2019 to push for financial and health benefits in a sustainable women’s hockey league. With the top players boycotting the NWHL, the teams were left to sign new players who weren’t on prior rosters. After years of discussion surrounding women’s hockey, the PHF was bought out and dissolved in July 2023 to create the PWHL, involving the top players from North America who were in the PWHPA.

While the schedule is still uncertain, the effects of this news are making its impact on students, staff and athletes. TMU Bold women’s hockey head coach Lisa Haley has been a part of the program since the team became a full-fledged varsity program in “To know they’re going to be 2011. Haley said the MAC has around the rink [and] we’re hosted many exciting events, such as skating on the same ice the PHF All-Star Game earlier this surface, it’s pretty cool” year. But, seeing a PWHL hockey team play in the university’s rink is exciting. Now, top players such as Marie“For our players [on the women’s Philip Poulin, Hilary Knight, Sarah team], our men’s team, all the Nurse and many others will be athletes, to see professional sports involved in a professional league for being played within the [MAC] is just a special opportunity,” said Haley. Over the years, women’s hockey has had many professional leagues. However, there hasn’t been much success. In 2019, the Canadian Women’s Hockey (CWHL) collapsed and folded after only existing for five years. The league cited an unsustainable business model for the collapse as they were competing against the National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL)—later renamed the PHF. At the time, the growing concerns for the state of professional women’s hockey resulted in the “#OneLeague” movement across social media. However, following the dissolution of the CWHL, over 200 players— many of them being top players— from both leagues released a joint KONNOR KILLORAN/THE EYEOPENER

the first time in nearly five years. Jeff Marek, the host of The Jeff Marek Show and co-host of 32 Thoughts: The Podcast on Sportsnet, wants to positively impact the wider perception of women’s hockey. “I want people to look at me, see someone on television–who is a man—and see how he is talking about the women’s game exactly how he talks about the men’s game,” he said in an interview with The Eye. For first-year Bold forward Neely Van Volsen, this is an opportunity to look up to PWHL players. “To have these role models like Natalie Spooner and Emma Maltais. To know they’re going to be around the rink [and] we’re skating on the same ice surface, it’s pretty cool,” said Van Volsen. With Toronto’s PWHL team making the MAC its home, it provides an opportunity for students to watch professional sports at the facility and create connections with industry professionals. TMU has several connections to the league outside of the venue as well. Past staff members have found roles across the PWHL

organizations. Former women’s hockey assistant coach Haley Irwin will be an assistant coach with the Ottawa franchise, while former women’s hockey player Olivia Giardetti will serve as the team’s manager of services. Meanwhile, former Bold women’s hockey manager of operations Alana Goulden will now work as a hockey operations manager with Toronto’s team. Kori Cheverie, former men’s hockey assistant coach, will serve as the head coach for Montreal.

“I think it is really inspiring to young women and it unlocks a lot of opportunities” Taking a broader look, has served as an inspiration for the future of women’s hockey, impacting nonhockey players as well. “The PWHL is inspiring and gives me hope in how [women] are being perceived in sports and that [it] is changing for the better,” said firstyear sport media student Tessa Di Matteo.

“I think it’s really inspiring to young women and it unlocks a lot of opportunities. It’s really great how it is all turning out,” said Kerr. While the positive impact on the women’s hockey community is undeniable, there will be challenges that the PWHL will have to get over. Yet, as the league unfolds, there’s hope that it will foster greater engagement within the women’s hockey community. The PWHL represents a step forward in changing perceptions and providing hope for the future of female athletes in sports. “[To] just keep building [and] don’t get frustrated,” said Marek on what his message to the PWHL would be. “Don’t listen to the haters about all of it.”

TMU’s 2023 Homecoming was a major success, but will fans come back to games? Find out in our latest YouTube video Are TMU sports dying? by scanning the QR Code above.



Meet 3 tech startup entrepreneurs at the DMZ By Krishika Jethani Since 2010, the DMZ—launched as the Digital Media Zone—has facilitated the beginning of many innovative business ventures. As a leading startup incubator, they provide tech entrepreneurs with the necessary tools to build and launch successful companies, according to the DMZ website. Previous startups include the likes of temporary tattoo company Inkbox and jewelry shop Mejuri. Over the course of an 18-month equity-based program, the DMZ incubator assists startups to gain market strategy, customers and


Liza Akhvledziani


MoveMate Lucas Francioli


econommi Arvin Madhi


media exposure. Companies also receive help from employees by where they started and where they are now: accessing investors and industry experts. Each company receives a $10,000 entry grant. Companies with Black or women founders receive additional support, such as more skills development programs and extra funding. Companies also have the opportunity to meet one-on-one with experts from program leads as well as receive fundraising support and pitch coaching. Here are some startup tech company founders reflecting on


Liza Akhvledziani is the co-founder and chief executive officer of Chexy—a rental payments platform that allows users to earn rewards on rent. Tenants can create their account using Chexy’s website by adding their rent details and preferred credit or debit card information. Chexy will charge the card and e-transfer the rent money to their landlord every month. “We allow tenants to earn rewards, build credit and just easily pay their rent online,” Akhvledziani said in an interview with The Eyeopener. Akhvledziani built Chexy as a way to provide a more “rewarding experience” to paying rent and bringing that structure to the 21st century. She mentioned how for years she needed to pay rent using postdated cheques.

“I always wondered why you get to earn rewards on all the other expenses with credit cards that you do but can never get on your largest expense, which will take you a really long way whether you’re trying to earn travel points or cashback as well as from building credit,” she said. She added that international students pay around $1,000 to $2,000 a month in rent but it never helps them build their credit, which is why she started building Chexy. Chexy charges 1.75 per cent of the rent payment for Canadian credit card transactions and 2.5 per cent for nonCanadian credit cards. Landlords can gain online direct deposits, automated rental income reports for taxes and a clear visibility on rental cash flows, according to

Chexy’s website. Additionally, Chexy can help build your credit by enhancing factors such as your payment history, credit portfolio and credit history. Tenants can opt into the credit builder option through their account and Chexy will automatically report their rent payments to Equifax every month. Equifax is used to help customers estimate their credit scores. Based in Toronto, Chexy started about a year and a half ago. It’s had over 5,000 tenants and processed over $3 million per month in rent payments. “30 per cent of our users come from referrals from someone who’s already an active Chexy user so a lot of our growth has been kind of organic and word of mouth which is awesome to

see,” said Akhvledziani. The DMZ is helpful in a “multitude of ways,” she said. All entrepreneurs and startups are in a similar stage fighting towards the same goal. For example, Chexy used the DMZ legal services to put together their terms of service and privacy policy. “It saved us thousands of dollars, versus having to go out and pay for it and deal with a law firm who potentially doesn’t work with startups,” she said. One of the things Akhvledziani underestimated as a student was the importance of building credit. “The earlier you start on your credit building journey, like understanding personal finance and being financially savvy, the better you’re set up for life,” she said.

Lucas Francioli is a co-founder of MoveMate—a digital application connecting users with a mover that fits certain needs. The program matches users for moves of all different sizes, scheduled times and quotes. “We’re a software company, we don’t own any trucks. We try to help people who need to move and then we help [the] service providers,” said Francioli in an interview with The Eye. “So [our] ‘mates’, they’re doing the move and other companies that are looking for customers get connected.” According to Francioli, users can use the service for small moves such as a few pieces of big furniture or bigger

jobs like an apartment change. MoveMate’s website allows you to personalize your move by selecting the type of help you need. By inputting the exact addresses, users are able to see a price range for their move. Francioli explained the moving industry is typically “very fragmented.” “A lot of people out there are trying to offer moving services [but] there’s no standards and there’s very little communication between all the people that you’re going to be interacting with during your move,” he said. MoveMate started four and a half years ago where they only operated in

Montreal. Now, the program is available in seven cities across Canada, including Vancouver, Toronto and Ottawa. In the U.S., they operate in Chicago. Francioli’s current goal is to grow MoveMate’s users. He wants people to be aware of the company because it’s a “better solution” for what’s currently in the moving market. Francioli said the most challenging part of the process was gathering market research. Market research refers to gathering information about the product or service to easily analyze customer and competitor needs. Through this,

companies evaluate opportunities and threats in the market. “We try to adapt the product according to what the market tells you, as opposed to doing it the other way around,” Francioli explained. He described the DMZ as a place that helps grow your business and optimize your cash flow through help from experts in various fields, ensuring the growth of your company. Francioli created a discount code (TMU10) for Toronto Metropolitan University students to save 10 per cent on their moving costs. The code is available until May 2024.

Arvin Madhi is the chief operations officer of econommi—a company for user to lease cars and have investors buy shares in the contracts of the car by creating an account on their website. Econommi partners with car dealerships to help accelerate their sales in under 30 minutes, according to Madhi. Their chosen business model reduces overhead costs and boosts innovative approaches to vehicle financing. “We have our leasing side where we partner with different car dealerships to provide leasing options to them,” explained Madhi. “We don’t use interest, we use a market-based system so they have the opportunity to buy out their car at any point without penalties.”

After econommi leases a car, investors can buy shares in the contracts of that car. “Every month when the lessee of the car makes their monthly payments, it is then evenly split up between all the people who own the shares in that car,” said Madhi. Investors can build their wealth in a “secured and diversified” manner by following three simple steps, according to the company’s website. First, an individual leases a car through econommi. The company then splits the cost of the car into LeaseTokens—securities that represent shares in a lease contract. LeaseTokens grant the owner rights to monthly payments and are backed

by the value of the vehicle in the lease. Then, investors can put capital into the tokens which gain value as individuals pay their lease. “We take that lease and we have it on this really great investor experience where they can go in and purchase LeaseTokens. They can manage their earnings, they can fund their wallet,” he said. The Vancouver-based company originally started as a peer-to-peer car rental business in June 2019 but then shifted to leasing three years ago. Madhi said econommi has made over a million dollars in leases and has signed over 120 leases with clients. On Nov. 3, econommi hosted their third summit where they showed their

new economy platform which Madhi said was a “huge accomplishment.” Econommi’s investment platform is their flagship piece of software. It is an application where investors can manage their earnings and have their money grow. Madhi was excited to see the app live on other people’s phones. “That is cool, like I can see it on my own laptop, that’s fine, but to see it on other people’s devices, then using it, interacting with it, that’s the most rewarding thing.” The most challenging part for Madhi was the beginning because it was all “chaos.” The DMZ worked as a “network of experts” that were available to us as a tech startup.



Fall 2023 wrapped: The word search Kick that brain into gear before exams start! Congratulations! The end of the Fall 2023 semester is almost here! Why not end off our last regular print issue with a word search? Use the hints below to find some words and acronyms that reminisce about some of this semester’s highlights and stories. Fill in the blanks below to keep track of your answers!

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ Issue. 6. TMU’s now-archived dating app, developed by two TMU alumni, was called _ _ _ _ _ _. 7. The pesky critters found wandering around the Ted Rogers School of Management this semester are called _ _ _ _ _ _ _.

8. The acronym for the Screen 1. President Mohamed _ _ _ _ _ _ _. Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists is 2. The acronym for the annual film _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ (not hyphenated). festival hosted in Toronto is called _ _ _ _. 9. The name of TMU Bold’s beloved new mascot is _ _ _ _ _ _ _. 3. The individual who was apprehended for carrying a 10. The artist who obtained the weapon on Toronto Metropolitan most Grammy nominations for University (TMU) campus is 2024 is _ _ _. commonly referred to as the _ _ _ _ _ _. 11. Fill in the blank: The _ _ _ _ _ _ _ Athletic Centre. 4. TMU’s “favourite” underground transit system is called the _ _ _. BONUS WORD: The name of The Eye’s next special issue is called The _ 5. The Eyeopener’s first special issue _ _ _ _ _ Issue. publication of the year is called The Good luck on your exams!

I guess I’ll just go fuck myself then When a day just gets progressively worse By Adriana Fallico The air in the hallway of the George Vari Engineering and Computing Centre was hot and filled with dread. It was nearly 9 a.m. and so far I was having a pretty productive day. I slept through my alarm, forgot to put on deodorant and missed my train, all before 8 a.m.—which must be a new personal record. But it’s okay, I had just enough time before class to grab a large coffee and a bagel from Tim Hortons, which is always a recipe for good fortune. Usually these things would be enough to send me right back to my bed but something was in the air that was different. Maybe it was the coffee and bagel but the sun was shining and I felt very optimistic. I walked into the lecture hall and sat down, noticing it was oddly empty. I shrugged and assumed that everyone else was not having as good a morning as I was and would probably arrive late. I sat down with perfect posture, notes ready to go and a grin on my face.

“I guess I’ll just see myself out then” Five minutes passed. Then 10. Then 15. The room stayed empty and it soon became clear that no one else was showing up. Extremely confused, I opened up the class WhatsApp group chat to ask if anyone was coming to class. After typing up a frantic message, my jaw dropped after one of my fellow students responded. “Didn’t you get the professor’s

email? The lecture was canceled because our professor’s parking permit expired,” the message read. I nearly choked on my coffee. I looked up at the ceiling and sighed. What a way to start the day. How was I the only person who didn’t get the email? Although my plans to attend a lecture did not go accordingly, I felt determined to keep my good mood going. I packed up my things and walked over to the Sheldon and Tracy Levy Student Learning Centre (SLC) to get some work done.

“How was I the only person who didn’t get the email?” Basically, I had a group project due at midnight and I was working with people I hadn’t met before. When I sat down and checked our shared document, I was greeted by a blank screen. Naturally, I sent a message to our assignment group chat. Debating on how I wanted to word my message, I plainly—and not so subtly—asked when everyone was going to start working on this. Over a span of 10 minutes, everyone in the group had read my message but no one acknowledged it. One person even sent a message asking, “Has anyone seen the dance party going on at Yonge and Dundas?” My message was completely left out to dry. “Well that’s rude,” I muttered to myself. Eventually, after some double and triple texting, everyone liked my message and said that they’d get to it later in the day.

“OK, cool,” I thought to myself, assuming that everything would be alright—which is always my first mistake. I decided to wait to put that spare time to good use by doing some general research and creating notes to use in class because I’m such an incredible student. Look at me, being all productive and positive. Even if the day isn’t perfect, if I keep an upbeat attitude, I can put a positive spin on anything! Fast forward to lunchtime, I got a text from a friend asking me to meet up with her and some of her friends at the Eaton Centre. When I found them at a table in the food court, I didn’t realize I was walking into an intense debate: what came first, the chicken or the egg? I cautiously said hello but everyone was just too consumed in the topic. After several attempts at trying to get everyone’s attention, I decided to just pipe in. “Guys, have you ever considered that maybe dinosaurs are the reason why the eggs got here in the first place?” I said, feeling very smart about my stance. No one acknowledged me and the conversation went on, transitioning into the possibility that eggs may have just fallen out of the sky. Welp. “I guess I’ll just see myself out then,” I mumbled. I got up and left, feeling just a tiny bit bothered by what just happened. Feeling like I was losing the spark I had this morning, I found myself back in the SLC and decided to get some more work done—and pick up another much-deserved Tim Hortons coffee.


After a few more hours filled with tireless work for different courses, I went home and thought about my long and eventful day. To be honest, I learned a very valuable lesson today. When you have a positive attitude and refuse to let negative thoughts and experiences bring you down, you will actually feel much better about your day! With a satisfied smile, I got into bed around 11:45 p.m. and closed my eyes. But alas, my so-called joyful day wasn’t finished yet. As I was drifting off, it hit me. I realized that I completely forgot to add my group assignment to our shared document. I scrambled to pull out my laptop in bed, and when I opened it up, I got the worst surprise ever. Someone had done my part for me and left my name off the freaking assignment!

“Alright then, I guess I’ll just go fuck myself” I frantically pulled up our group chat and realized that I completely missed their messages this afternoon that said my research “wasn’t adding

anything productive to the overall assignment,” and that they’d have to take my name off the assignment if I didn’t answer. As much as I wanted to fix this, I knew there was no time to get it done, so I submitted my own portion of the assignment with tears in my eyes. Right as the confirmation email was delivered to me, I was hit with a question that felt like a sucker punch—was this an individual or a group mark? I silently prayed and crossed my fingers as I opened up the course syllabus, praying for the best-case scenario, only to see that it was a goddamn individual mark. I slowly closed my computer and put it on the floor. I stared blankly at the wall in the dark with literally zero thoughts in my head for a few minutes, contemplating everything all at once. Then, I lay back down and went to sleep in hopes of pretending like today never happened. But all I could think of before I drifted off to sleep was, “Alright then, I guess I’ll just go fuck myself.”



THE SEMESTER IN PHOTOS From the axe man on campus to late night hockey games, The Eyeopener’s photo team has documented the daily happenings at TMU. When news breaks, protests form or talent emerges, our photographers are on the scene. Here are some highlights from the fall 2023 semester. Photos by: Sammy Kogan, Jerry Zhang, Matthew Lin and Nathan Gerson

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