The Eyeopener: Vol 57, Issue 13

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Volume 57 - Issue 13 April 10, 2024 @theeyeopener Since 1967

The Eyeopener’s recap of the 2023-24 TMU school year

Toronto Metropolitan University’s (TMU) 2023-24 school year was flled with a whirlwind of events. The Eyeopener reported on a lot of them, including building renaming and acquisitions, new legislation and the Toronto Metropolitan Students’ Union (TMSU) elections. Here is a chronological recap of the events based on when we published them.

Aug. 22, 2023

- TMU acquires new buildings

Over the summer of 2023, TMU disclosed the acquisition of two new buildings located at 277 Victoria St. and 38 Dundas St. E. Later in February. The university announced that the Lincoln Alexander School of Law would be moved to 277 Victoria St.

The decision drew concern because the building currently houses a safe injections site that would need to be relocated.

Undergraduate students at TMU were unsure of the necessity of the move for the law school but were hopeful for additional resources for students in an accessible location, as previously reported by The Eye

Oct. 18, 2023 - Ontario introduces new minimum wage

In October 2023, the Government of Ontario increased the province’s minimum wage by 6.8 per cent.

TMU students felt the increase might marginally assist their fnancial wellbeing, as reported by The Eye

Nov. 4, 2023 - TMU sued for allegedly fostering a hostile environment for some Jewish students on campus

Diamond and Diamond law frm initiated a class action lawsuit against TMU and the TMSU for allegedly fostering an antisemitic environment on campus.

As previously reported by The Eye, the law frm is asking the school to pay a total of $15 million in damages.

The statement of claim, which was sent to The Eye by Diamond and Diamond managing partner Sandra Zisckind, accused TMU and its students’ union of breaching their duty of care by allegedly fostering an unsafe environment “rife with anti-Semitic and Anti-Israel sentiments targeting Jewish students.”

Dec. 16, 2023 - TMU allegedly ofers to help pay to rename Dundas Station after the school

Toronto City Council voted to move forward with the renaming of the TTC’s Dundas Station.TMU reportedly ofered to help cover the costs if it was renamed after the school.

As previously reported by The Eye, the early assessment of the project estimated over a million dollars in expenses.

The city also announced on Dec. 14, 2023 that Yonge-Dundas Square would be renamed Sankofa Square, after a Ghanaian concept, a press release read.


8 - International students at TMU facing new restrictions

After Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Marc Miller announced a 35 per cent cut on the number of international students studying in Ontario earlier this year, TMU students expressed concern, as previously reported by The Eye

Further restrictions on Post-Graduate Work Permits and funding requirements for international students studying at public colleges were implemented.

Sept. 13, 2023 - Bill C-18 is introduced

Bill C-18, or the Online News Act, was tabled by the Canadian government at the House of Commons on June 21, 2023.

It looked to “enhance fairness in the Canadian digital news market” and sought compensation to news agencies from platforms with global revenues over $1 billion per year and more than 20 million average monthly users from the country.

The Act came into efect on Dec. 19 of last year, before which Meta— which owns social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram—rolled out restrictions to block Canadians from seeing news organizations’ pages.

This new piece of legislation changed the way many TMU and country-wide publications advertise their content, as previously reported by The Eye

Oct. 18, 2023 - Rogers and Bell provide customers with 5G service on the TTC subway

Rogers Communications Inc. and Bell Canada service providers partnered with the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) to give customers 5G network access on the subway at select stations.

The partnership allows people to make calls, texts and use cellular data while in the stations and in some tunnels. According to the TTC’s website, stations on Line 1 in downtown Toronto and 13 stations between Keele and Castle Frank stations on Line 2 now have service.

TMU students said the ability to communicate with the outside world provided an increased sense of safety while riding the subway, as previously reported by The Eye

Oct. 24, 2023 - Students organize and attend pro-Palestine rallies in Toronto

On Oct. 20, 2023, students at TMU held a rally on campus in support of Palestine—one of many throughout the year.

As previously reported by The Eye, the demonstration began in front of the Sheldon and Tracy Levy Student Learning Centre (SLC) and marched to the front of Queen’s Park to connect with a gathering organized by the Palestinian Youth Movement (PYM).

A member of the PYM estimated that approximately 1,000 attendees appeared in front of the Ontario Legislative Building to demand an arms embargo on Israel, an end to the siege on Gaza and an opportunity to deliver humanitarian aid to Gaza.

Nov. 24, 2023 - Nikole Dan takes TMSU presidency in fall byelection

The Empire Team candidate Nikole Dan was elected president of the Toronto Metropolitan Students’ Union (TMSU), as previously reported by The Eye Dan took the presidency by one leading vote over presidential candidate Nathan Sugunalan.

The voting report showed only 1,906 of the 39,510 eligible voters participated in the byelection, a 4.8 per cent turnout.

Feb. 3 - Vigil for journalists killed in the Middle East held at TMU

A vigil for journalists killed in Palestine, Lebanon and Israel was held at TMU’s campus on Feb. 1.

Over 150 individuals gathered at Bond and Gould Streets, where fowers were laid and an 83-second long moment of silence was held, as previously reported by The Eye

The names of the 83 journalists whose lives had been documented lost from Oct. 7, 2023 to the time of publication were also written on a poster board.

March 1 - Ontario’s new One Fare Program is implemented

Premier Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservative government announced on Feb. 5 that the province would see a new One Fare Program across the TTC, Go Transit and a variety of other transportation services.

The program came into efect on Feb. 26 and is ongoing, leaving many commuter students at TMU pleased, as previously reported by The Eye

Other stories: TMSU announces Gallivan privacy breach, Former TMSU employee alleges workplace misconduct, TMSU 2024 election results released. Read more at


Peace out homies, you’ve been good to me

A bright beam of sunlight breaks through the stufy air in my o ce. Dust particles dance in the glow and a subtle warmth blankets my shoulders as I sit quietly at my desk in front of the window. “Spring is fnally here,” I think to myself, still bewildered by the rapid passing of the last eight months.

The silence in the room feels almost euphoric to me now. We made it—I made it. A silence that was otherwise my only guest as I sat nervously in this seat waiting for an email or in the lonely nights when I fnally had a moment to eat after a chaotic day.

Echoes of laughter, banter and screaming over each other still linger in my ears but the chaos has subsided and it’s time for us to take a bow.

These four walls sheltered us from the long winter, but even panels of bricks and wood couldn’t keep all the cold out.

Here at The Eyeopener , we faced our challenges. As we announced our move to a bi-weekly print schedule last year, excited to start making our digital footprint more memorable, Meta’s reaction to Bill C-18 made it almost impossible to initiate our plans. Just days before our first production of Volume 57 in August, we encountered our first storm—the loss of our Instagram account.

We kept our heads and our hopes high as we moved forward into an unexpected semester—one flled with global unrest and uncertainty.

Last fall, the world went up in fames yet again. We witnessed governments play roulette with bombs and bullets over innocent civilians’ beds and the ripples reached as far as our campus.

We saw Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) students take action in their communities, seeking support and solidarity among their peers and institutions through a number of rallies, fundraisers and vigils.

I was left to grapple with what I should and shouldn’t do

On Oct. 20, 2023, TMU students took to campus to rally in support of Palestine in the aftermath of the Oct. 7 attack in the region—a climax of over 70 years worth of oppression at the hands of the State of Israel, according to Amnesty International. University is a time for young minds to take shape and for students to explore their beliefs and identities. As such, campuses become a playground for expression. This year we witnessed exactly that. But, these expressions haven’t

been revealed without consequence. Just weeks following the initial rallies in support of Palestine on campus, Diamond and Diamond law frm initiated a class action lawsuit against TMU and the Toronto Metropolitan Students’ Union for allegedly fostering an antisemitic environment on campus.

The world is ever changing and it’s the responsibility of media outlets to change with it. The Eye has been no exception. This year, we entered unfamiliar waters, balancing journalistic standards and personal ethics.

As an institution representing youth who are just coming of age, we see first-hand the trials and tribulations students face both within the university and among their own communities. While this closeness often works in our favour, allowing us to represent our sources as authentically as possible, it can make it difficult to balance prioritizing facts without harming anyone.

Being a young journalist encountering sensitive situations for the first time, I found there are few resources to turn to when making difficult decisions as a publication. Larger media institutions, who would otherwise act as guides and benchmarks for The Eye , don’t always reflect the same values we want to uphold as an organization. I was left to grapple with what I should and shouldn’t do, ultimately having to learn through trial and error how to achieve my ultimate goal: to cause more good than harm.

Last fall unveiled many lingering questions about the journalism industry as a whole that still need to be addressed.

As we were slowly finding our footing with our coverage, we became the subject of a different debate online.

During the campaigning period for the TMSU byelections in November 2023, some TMU commu-

nity members took to social media to express their concerns about some candidates. Others broadcasted their frustration with The Eye, falsely claiming that we have been partial in our reporting.

We didn’t and still don’t take these claims lightly. Verifying information and presenting it ethically is our top priority, regardless of the conversation.

Ethical journalism refers to coverage that is impartial, verifed, fair and true—without fear or favour. Ethical journalism cannot be rushed or forced—this became even more evident to us last fall.

I never would’ve thought my journey at the university would end here

As the winter semester rolled around just a few short months later, students at TMU had yet another cause for concern. This time, after the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship announced a 35 per cent cut to the number of international students studying in Ontario.

The university currently holds approximately 4,000 international students hailing from 140 countries, according to TMU’s International Student Support website.

Despite this uncertainty, the school’s international students have still persevered, taking advantage of their diverse campus and creating spaces for others who share their circumstances to come together. I’m proud to have been able to showcase their efforts.

At the heart of all these instances this year has been student ambition. Ambitions to make change, to take on big projects and to accomplish something bigger than themselves.

Being the editor-in-chief of a campus newspaper has given me a front-row seat to all their eforts.

I’ve had opportunities to sit down and talk to students face-to-face, with their smiles spreading from ear to ear as they told me about their accomplishments.

I was able to witness our sources rush to our news stands to pick up a copy of the paper they were mentioned in, their eyes lighting up the second they found their name on a page. Each interaction reminding me of the reason I was so eager to join this industry: getting to tell people’s stories.

Looking back, though it’s sometimes hard to see through the chaos and the frustration, I see a group of people behind it all just learning how to find their way while seeking to make a mark on their community.

We made it— I made it . And I never would have thought my journey at the university would end here.

Six years, two degrees and one hell of an experience to add to my resume later, I’m walking away from campus knowing I gave this place my all.

As the end of my journey at TMU slowly approaches, the experiences I’ve had over the years play in my head like a kaleidoscope of memories, most of which I can’t quite depict, but one stands out.

In my frst year of undergrad, my journalism instructor told us to write one word that described our time in the program on a sheet of paper. I wrote “comfort zone,” and while they were two words, they encompassed how much we were forced to expand our comfort zones—boy, did I not know what was in store for me.

Now, what feels like eternities later, I’m sitting here and reflecting on the journey that is behind me. I ask myself the same question. “What’s one word you would use to describe your experience as editor-in-chief of Volume 57 ” “Comfort zone.” Clearly, I still haven’t learned all the rules.


Negin “And Scene” Khodayari


Gabriela “CHIN” Silva Ponte

Dexter “Gamer” LeRuez Anastasia “FOI” Blosser


Brithi “Mosaic” Sehra

Jerry “Dictionary” Zhang

Sammy “Peter Parker” Kogan


Madeline “Dough Retired” Liao

Shaki “BDE” Sutharsan


Kinza “Ombre” Zafar

Arts and Culture

Caelan “Master” Monkman

Business and Technology

Jake “Karma” MacAndrew


Bana “Wildest Dreams” Yirgalem


Ilyas “Arrive Alive” Hussein

Daniella “Super Slay” Lopez

Fun and Satire

Joshua “Photosynthesized” Chang


Konnor “Cover Model” Killoran

Vanessa “Eye Veteran’” Kauk

General Manager

Liane “We Made It ” McLarty

Acting Design Director

Sammy “Spiderman” Kogan


Anthony “sunset walks” Lippa-Hardy

Ava “Yes Chef” Zelyony

Khushy “Hats Of” Vashisht

Alex “Womp womp” Wauthy

Parker “Procrastin-ate” Theis

Hannah “Kerr Hall of Fame” Mercanti

Jay “B.I.N.G.O.” Ashdown

Sarah “ChatGP-Tea” Grishpul

Fredrick “Post-it” Reyes

Yasmeen “Debut Single” Shawish

Divine “not ghosting” Amayo

Mitchell “ SteelStrong” Fox

Keiran “En Garde ” Gorsky

Michelle “Cloudy” Menezes

Enza “Don’t Look Up” Borson

Jeremiah “No pics plz” Ruiz

Ricardo “MY CORNEAS” Felix

Arwa “Digicam” Hussain

Sofa “Sunny” Clements

Sena “Gould St Stunting” Law

Danielle “Madame Web” Reid

Adyan Owusu-Toussaint

Gavin “Special Advisor” Axelrod

Erin “Duty” Valois

Julia “Basically Masthead” Lawrence

Solar “E” Clipse

Frank “I” E

Sherwin “Google Translate” Karimpoor

Nika “Kris Jenner” Dariani


Battle of the Bands triumphantly returns at TD Music Hall

The March 22 event saw six bands competing head to head, with Placeholders taking home

Following a four-year-long break due to the pandemic, Toronto Metropolitan University’s (TMU) Battle of the Bands made its triumphant return on March 22. Showcasing a wide variety of talent from TMU, the competition was held at TD Music Hall—located within the iconic Massey Hall— which for some bands was the biggest venue they’ve ever played.

“It is gonna be the biggest show we’ve played so far,” said Colin Higney from third-place fnishing band Taplin, ahead of their performance.

The night kicked of with a bang from the pop-rock outft Mystique, and the night didn’t slow down from there. The next band to perform was So Delicious, a jazz-infused group that featured silky smooth vocals from Julia Fung and a killer soprano saxophone solo from Walter Chan.

“It really is more than just a competition”

From there, Taplin wowed the audience while showcasing electrifying guitar solos. Aden Worton harnessed a more alternative sound that had the audience dancing. DAPHNE gave a performance that harnessed the vibes of driving down

the highway, blasting music with your windows down.

Finally, the night ended with the hardcore/grunge band Placeholders, who had the crowd chanting for an encore following their three-song set.

Placeholders—consisting of band members Ethan Petch, Evan Johnston, Sebastian Waits and Noah Jack—went on to win the entire competition. This winning title means the group will get the opportunity to record some music with a professional audio engineer in the newly renovated recording studios located above Massey Hall.

Additionally, every group that competed in the event received a professional video recording of their entire set. Regardless of whether or not they won, all groups said they were very pleased to simply have the chance to perform with fellow TMU musicians and receive a professional recording for their records and memories.

“It really is more than just a competition, and I’m really looking forward to sharing the stage with [the other bands],” said DAPHNE. Not only was each performance astounding in its own way, but the crowd did not disappoint either. Whether they were responding “Yes Chef!” whenever So Delicious frontwoman Julia Fung asked them to, or shouting out for DAPHNE whenever she spoke to the audience,

the crown

everyone in the venue was fully invested in the performances.

Following their win, Placeholders took to the stage to appease the crowd’s ceaseless chants for “one more song,” wowing the audience with their cover of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit.”

The competition was judged by Toronto songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Chris Blades, as well as Mi-

chelle Treacy—winner of CTV’s The Launch, and Max Cotter, a production staf member of the RTA media program. While the judges deliberated on who to crown the competition winner, the audience was happily entertained by the TMU musicians Carina and Amy Kisser, who both brought a whole other level of energy to the night. While it remains to be seen what

the future holds for each of the six TMU bands, the show-stopping performances by each group and the lively reception by the audience made one thing abundantly clear: Battle of the Bands is back and here to stay.

Hundreds of students unite in the Quad for rare solar eclipse

Even with overcast skies, TMU students were excited to take part in the eclipse viewing experience

Despite cloudy weather obscuring much of the solar eclipse, hundreds of Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) students crammed into the Kerr Hall Quad on Monday afternoon in an attempt to catch a glimpse of the rare celestial event.

A formal watch party in the quad was organized by Sci change,

TMU’s science literary o ce. With tables set up throughout the quad, the group supplied students with information about the eclipse and astronomy, as well as the eye shields required to safely view the solar event.

“We were expecting a lot of people, so we actually started planning well into January,” said Kid Naary Branco, a fourth-year biology student and the lead of community partners for Sci -

change. “During our second semester, we started putting together the posters, we started putting together the workshops with our community partners [and] we actually started talking about our solar system beforehand around the beginning of March.”

In anticipation of the eclipse, Sci change acquired 1,500 pairs of eclipse glasses to hand out to students. Although they had anticipated

a turnout of somewhere between 600-700 students, the group ran out of glasses by 3 p.m.

“I think it’s really nice that we all just got to be here all at once at the same time”

“We are really happy that it turned out very well,” said Branco. “As we can see there are a lot of people here, and we’re glad that they get to experience this.”

Cloudy skies made it di cult for students to witness the full visual splendour of the eclipse’s 99 per cent totality that could be seen in Toronto. Still, for most students, the event was more about doing something as part of a larger campus community.

“It’s a big turnout. It’s bigger than any other thing that I’ve seen on campus lately,” said Ruben MohabeerOrtiz, a frst-year media production student. “Even though it’s kind of cloudy and I can’t really see the sun or anything, it’s kind of nice to see everybody around here—it feels like orientation again.”

First-year creative industries stu-

dent, Faisal Eweje, agreed.

“I think it’s really nice that we all just got to be here all at once at the same time,” said Eweje. “I don’t think you see that many people in the quad in general, except when it’s like a super hot day.”

The next time a total solar eclipse will be visible from Canada is slated to be in 2044, and even then it will only be visible in the more northwestern parts of the country. For Mohabeer-Ortiz, the rarity of the event and the communal nature that comes with it is part of what made the eclipse so special.

“It’s kind of nice to have something that everybody can participate in at once and all talk about”

“We don’t have a lot of universal things that we do anymore. We don’t all watch the same TV shows or play the same video games or have that kind of stuf,” said Mohabeer-Ortiz. “It’s nice to have something that everybody can participate in at once and all talk about because it’s a universal trend.”

Check out more photos from Battle of the Bands at and go to our YouTube to watch interviews with each band. BRITHI SEHRA/THE EYEOPENER

Te Eyeopener’s year in visuals

This year at The Eyeopener, we increased our digital presence and captured a variety of captivating photos and videos.

As the semester comes to an end, we look back on some of the content we’ve gathered throughout the year. Here are some (but defnitely not all) of our favourite photos and video thumbnails from Volume 57.

To see all of the eye-catching visuals and videos from this year, visit

Subscribe to our YouTube channel:

Photos and thumbnails by Sammy Kogan, Jerry Zhang, Brithi Sehra, Konnor Killoran and Vanessa Kauk



For Mc Joyin Rey Palagan, going to fashion school was a fantasy. The same kind of fantasy as the fashion shows he would put on as a child living in a rural southern island in the Philippines.

There, fashion was not seen as anything beyond a means of survival and necessity. The clothing back home was never seen beyond its initial purpose.

But Palagan protested this idea. He found his fashion playground within nature. The product? Bracelets made from twigs and pebbles collected in the forests and skirts made from gathered coconut leaves.

“It was the reality of a rural gay kid’s fantasy,” Palagan says. Palagan immigrated to Canada when he was 13 years old. Five years later, he found a new playground—the fashion program at Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU). The once-fantasy became Palagan’s new reality in 2015, when he first enrolled in fashion design at the university. But realities often came with its checks. Palagan realized what had initially enticed him to fashion—the glitz and glamour—were only a fraction of what it meant to be a student of fashion. Alongside the other 80 students in his class, this four-year journey would be a true testament of true and hard work.

“It was a pivot point for me,” he says. “I realized if I really want to become a fashion designer, then I should be able to really embrace the reality of it. The back end, the hustle and bustle, the no-sleeping, the forever being curious and forever learning.”

As a queer child in an immigrant family, Palagan recalls his first few years in the fashion program being a time of dissonance as familial tensions peaked.

“I grew up in a heavily Christian family and my grandfather is a pastor. So me going into a fashion program was defnitely a pivotal point for not just me but for my family,” Palagan says. “And I wouldn’t say that it was smooth sailing.”

During Palagan’s time at TMU, he witnessed many shifts within himself and the program. Between curriculum changes and his own self-discoveries as a designer, one constant that remained was the support he received at the university.

An invitation was extended by one of Palagan’s professors for a one-on-one check-in.

“This sounds so weird but they could see that I wasn’t really on my A-game,” Palagan says. “Wholeheartedly, they were very, very understanding.”

From there, Palagan blossomed. He eagerly opened himself to any opportunity, participating in every fashion competition offered at school. The work was never easy— it meant hours of tedious labour and countless sleepless nights, but Palagan always gave it his all and beyond.

“I was just enjoying everything.”

Palagan graduated in 2019 and was awarded Designer of the Year, travelling to London to represent Canada for Graduate Fashion Week. Today, Palagan has established himself as a designer and a force to be reckoned with in the Toronto fashion scene, having curated four collections since his graduation under his brand, Joyin Rey.

Still, he never fails to recognize the very integral contributor to his success — an encouraging environment.

“There is that potential in every single person. And it’s really up to the people around you to really support it.”

While the creative landscape at TMU is ever-evolving, some TMU students and faculty credit TMU as a driving

force in self expression within university’s fashion scene.

At the heart of the TMU fashion community are students taking on the role of creators and curators, bridging together a supportive network that embraces diversity and non-conventions. TMU fashion is garnering never-before-seen momentum and exposure.

On the closing day of the 2023 Fall/Winter season at Fashion Art Toronto, collections from 13 bachelor of design undergraduate students, three master of arts fashion candidates and two TMU alumni were showcased on the runway. The collaboration between the two institutions was led by Toronto designer and TMU lecturer Mic Carter, aiming to emphasize the work of racialized queer and trans students.

In a 2023 interview with Glossi Mag, Carter said he’s “deeply inspired by the designers and thinkers that are coming out of [TMU].”

Carter has been a longtime advocate for gender nonconformists in the fashion community, creating genderless clothing for non-binary people and allies through his brand L’Uomo Strano.

Palagan was one of the two TMU alumni showcasing at the collaborated runway. The opportunity came about in a chance encounter between him and Carter at a queer ballroom event.

“Itwastherealityofa ruralgaykid’sfantasy”

“They were one of my professors back in fourth year. And they opened up this opportunity because I told them I really want to do a new collection,” Palagan says. “I was so lucky that it just happened at the right time and at the right place...I never say no to opportunity.”

Palagan’s collection was named Dichotomy . Exploring themes of gender identity and sexuality, the five looks from Joyin Rey’s collection were representative of Palagan’s own internal dialogues and dilemmas. Beyond all else, it was telling a story crafted by him.

“I don’t design just because I have to design. It’s always personal to me. My brand is always about storytelling. So I always say if there’s no story to tell, then there’s no collection to showcase,” says Palagan.

TMU being unofficially crowned the “most fashionable university” in Toronto by some students is not without its reasons. As it was for Palagan, the fashion landscape at TMU is a playing ground for many to explore their complex identities and ways of self-expression.

Looking up and down Gould Street and around Kerr Hall will reveal evidence of the unwavering acceptance for all— embodied by the eccentric outfits and an attitude that could care less about societal judgment.

Palagan says the presence of a fashion student can be sensed by “the clacking, even under heavy winter.” He says he would be sewing in “five inch heels boots” regardless of the weather. “I didn’t care and I mean, it’s innate for a fashion student.”

For 18-year-old Prada Faraji, being in the fashion sphere is, at times, an isolating experience. Before reaching adulthood, Faraji had already immersed themself in the fashion industry, establishing their brand, House of Etoile, during secondary school. The same brand debuted at Fashion Art Toronto in 2021 and in following years.

As an already established designer, the decision for Faraji to enroll in fashion school was one rooted in their desire for community.

“I always really wanted that university experience. And it was just like a nice idea to be around like-minded people who also liked fashion,” Faraji says. “A lot of people that I grew up with weren’t really interested in fashion. So it was nice to be in a group of people that were my age and also into the same interests as me.”

A quick Google search will point to TMU School of Fashion being the top-ranked fashion program nationwide. Some students and faculty say its status can be attributed to the program’s meticulous curriculum, its industry connections and to many, its defiance to traditions.

For professor May Friedman, that sentiment is shared.

“TMU is a really interesting place to learn, teach and grow. As a university that is newer and less stuck in ivy-clad traditions, I think there’s room to explore potentially radical pathways toward scholarship and pedagogy that allow us to meet a range of ways of being in the world,” Friedman says.

Friedman has been a professor at TMU since 2011, first working in the School of Social Work. A decade later, she joined the school’s fashion program.

As an educator with an emphasis on inclusion and diversifying the status quo, Friedman expresses optimism at seeing other faculty members across the institution doing the same exciting work.

“I see an increase in both the people and the practices across the institution, a valuing of creative knowledge and an openness to doing things in a different way,” she says. “I see that shift as a reason for hope and a motivation to keep doing the work to make things even better.”

Faraji was part of Friedman’s Fashion and Race course in their first semester at TMU. The content of the class revolved around aspects of oppression in dress and in the fashion industry. Inclusion of these mandatory courses as part of the fashion program is exemplary of TMU’s on-going efforts to change the narrative.

“The industry was brought upon as a very classist and oppressive field and it honestly continues to be. But I feel like the next generation of designers, with how the programs are, it will definitely change,” Faraji says.

As an extrovert, some of Faraji’s fondest moments as a first-year fashion student so far have been the mundane conversations and banter they have with fellow classmates.

“I love meeting new people.”

In an industry that relies on inter-connectivity, knitting yourself into the complex spider web of likeminded creatives proves to be integral for success.

For Faraji, being in a university environment has shone a new light on the importance of community and network.

“I feel like the school really focuses on the communicative and social aspect of fashion which is something I don’t really take into consideration often,” Faraji says.

“In a way, university kind of keeps me sane and makes me realize that I’m not the only 18-year-old fashion child.”

As House of Etoile’s Instagram bio proudly states, “different is not wrong.” The TMU fashion landscape is fundamentally built on individuality and self-expression.

The openness for students to outwardly express themselves through their outfits and choice of garments can be accredited to the sense of safety within the community.

“When you are surrounded by a group of people that also don’t necessarily care about social norms, you begin to not really care either. I feel like TMU is the right [space] for that,” Faraji says.

“ We love your outfit! Can I take a photo of you?”

For many fashion students and lovers at TMU, there has been an added sense of anticipation walking down Gould Street since the latter half of 2022. If luck dawns on you

and the stars align, you might be approached by Arjun Kalra or his friends on your way to class.

“It’s for TMU Archives.”

If those words ring like music to your ears, you are most likely familiar with the sensation that is @tmuarchives on Instagram. Since their first post back in November 2022, TMU Archives has been capturing the essence of the school’s fashion forward spirit by logging outfits found around campus on their account. Kalra is a second-year student in the performance acting program. Having wavered between the acting and fashion programs, Kalra ultimately chose the former but his love for fashion has always persisted.

“Ithinkthebiggest risksinfashionare beingtakenhere”

His involvement with TMU Archives began the same as most. “I really had an interest in it in frst year. And I wanted to be featured on that page with all the other cool people.”

After befriending the creators of TMU Archives, whose identities mostly remain undisclosed, Kalra began helping out in the operation—scouting out the best outfts on campus.

“We all have an interest in fashion, and it’s just something that we can discuss. And when we find someone who looks really cool or is wearing something striking, we all get excited about it.”

Dressing up for school might be an idea that is alien to some. But for many students in the fashion community at TMU, it’s a source to inspire and to be inspired by.

“Everyone has a right to get dressed in a way that feels good and authentic. Seeing fashion as something restricted is not the way forward and I’m excited to see our students be on the cutting edge of changing fashion into a site of activism rather than a source of oppression,” Friedman says.

Kalra’s own fashion journey is interlinked with his exploration of sexuality and queerness. He believes the school’s fashion community being built on the basis of acceptance warrants a safe playground for all.

“I think the biggest risks in fashion are being taken here, as well as the most openness to be able to express that creativity that people have. I think that the bravery and creativity to me was genuinely inspiring.”

TMU Archives has acted as a force field for the fashion landscape on campus. It transpired a new motivation— the possibility of having your efforts documented and acknowledged—then shared with a like-minded network of fashion participants.

“People have been excited to show out in their best ft, because they want to put themselves out there and be captured and highlighted, which I think is so beautiful,” Kalra says. “I really hope that continues as time goes forward, having a platform where students can not only fnd inspiration for fashion but also see the types of fashion they resonate with.”

During Palagan’s most recent work at Canada Goose,


he was astounded to fnd that more than half of the design team were graduates from TMU—a fnding that he says encapsulates the “caliber of the network and the connection” found at the school.

As Palagan moves away from the fashion corporate world, he is actively expanding his own brand. Palagan lives by a busy and occupied schedule as he prepares Joyin Rey to go into commerce.

In the process, he gains a new source of motivation from his encounters with fellow TMU fashion graduates.

“There is a new generation of young designers who are not looking for a design job but finding their own brand. Not just to create designs but to have their own voice, create their own empire, build their own world,” Palagan says.

“How brave are these kids?”


The end of beginnings: Graduating students choose themselves

As graduating students enter their degree’s final stretch, they look back fondly on the last four years

With the end of the school year just around the corner, students graduating from Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) refect on the last four years of their education and lives while experiencing a wide range of emotions.

Starting a new chapter of their lives in unprecedented times in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the graduating class of 2024 didn’t have the most conventional beginning to their post-secondary journey.

Although graduating students feel the expected nerves and anticipation that comes with the great milestone, they also value the experiences made along the way and look forward to the next.

Amanda Noor, a fourth-year creative industries student, said she felt she was still in high school despite being in her first year of university due to online learning.

“I graduated virtually and then all of a sudden, university is virtual. All that changed were the people on my screen,” Noor said. “It felt weird to be at home in this supposedly ‘best time of my life.’”

According to a 2023 report summary by Employment and Social Development Canada, a department of the Government of Canada, post-secondary students became increasingly frustrated with online learning during COVID-19. As a result, reports of anxiety and depression also grew among students.

Once pandemic restrictions were lifted across Canada and TMU began making plans to reopen campus, Noor and other students alike felt their spirits rising.

“There was a certain level of excitement that came with returning to in-person classes,” Noor said. “For the frst time, I felt like a university student.”

Now, the online days are just a mere memory and instead, students revel in the memories they got to make throughout their undergraduate programs.

“I also want to be able to do things just for me as a person”

Sheridan Riggillo, a fourthyear media production student, credited her program for helping her figure out what career path to take. Although she came into the program wanting to be a performer and actress, she has since found a passion for producing and writing for television.

“I had a totally different idea of what the industry was, I didn’t know about it really,” Riggillo said.

“Then through my time at TMU, I really got to engage with different faculty and industry members.”

For Nadya Kulkarni, a fifthyear law and business student, some memorable moments came through working in interesting roles at various companies.

As part of her program’s co-op requirements, Kulkarni worked diferent positions for the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade and the Royal Bank of Canada over multiple semesters. She said the experience provided her with clarity with the types of roles she’d like to pursue in the future.

“I’m a very hands-on learner and that gave me the opportunity to actually work in a real role and see what I would enjoy when I graduate,” Kulkarni said.

Apart from co-op, some programs require completing internships to graduate. Noor completed her internship at CBC Kids as part of the TV team. She said working there felt rewarding and was worth enrolling in the creative industries program.

“It confirmed my choice of making the right decision of going into creative industries,” she said.

“If I had done a business management degree, I probably wouldn’t have had that experience.”

Extracurriculars, like student groups, were also highlighted as being a fulfilling part of the university experience.

Kulkarni, the co-president of Women in Information Technology Management and the Students’ Law Network, said that being a part of these groups was “transformative.”

“They give you a lot of handson experience and it really shows what type of person you are in a collaborative setting,” she said. “It also shows you how to work with different types of people in more of a leadership role versus being in an associate or director position.”

Noor found herself in a similar situation by being a part of several student initiatives such as Her Campus Toronto MU, Met TV, The Society of the Creative School and more.

“I got the opportunity, through the degree, to really expand my boundaries as a student as opposed to just focusing on academics,” Noor said.

Although students refect on their valuable takeaways from their university experience, there are still certain aspects of the journey they wish they could’ve changed, whether that be getting involved in the campus community earlier or maximizing university resources.

Riggillo wished she didn’t enter her program as “strong-headed” as she did. She would’ve wanted to take

classes that simply spoke to her interests rather than taking those that would act solely as a “resume builder.”

“If I had just taken courses for the sake of taking them, I think that would have been a little bit of a more enjoyable experience,” she said. “That’s where it’s feeding the human in you too.”

“It felt weird to be at home in this supposedly ‘best time of my life’”

Despite being a part of student groups from her second year, Kulkarni wished she got involved right from the get-go. As she started university in 2019, she experienced her freshman year in-person before COVID-19 lockdown protocols were put in place the following year.

“When COVID-19 happened, there was so much pivot and these events and everything had to be online,” she said. “I don’t think it was as impactful having these online events versus the now inperson ones.”

Kulkarni had also hoped to take advantage of the Academic Support Centre at TMU. Her frst year was di cult as throughout high school, she was more inclined to subjects such as math and science over business, and the pivot to her current program came as a “big shock.”

“I really wished I had leveraged the academic support that TMU and my own faculty provides because I think I would have done a lot better in terms of academics for the first year,” she said.

Now, when looking ahead into the future, students have their

reservations about leaving the safety net as a student and entering the workforce.

The current job market poses as a stressor for Noor especially after hearing about layoffs at CBC late last year.

“I’m getting worried. Obviously the economy is not as strong as I would like it to be as a graduate,” she said.

As a result, she said she feels unmotivated to put in her best efforts to look for a job coming out of her program.

Similarly, Riggillo said the uncertainty of the media industry can be difficult to deal with.

“It’s not the best time for the [media] industry,” she said. “It’s a hard thing of sitting comfortably as a student to now actually try to be employable.”

However, in spite of the unease, graduating students are ultimately looking to prioritize themselves rather than immediately throwing themselves into job hunts. For Riggillo, Noor and Kulkarni, this means travelling abroad and taking a break.

Riggillo said due to the “hustle culture” surrounding today’s generation, it can be di cult to balance the need to progress in one’s career while also taking time for yourself.

“I want to be making moves for my career, take big steps for my career and advocate for myself to get the future opportunities I dreamed to have,” she said. “But I also want to be able to do things just for me as a person, not necessarily a worker.”

Kulkarni said her mentors throughout the years have continuously advised her not to go into work right after and instead, enjoy a few months away from it all.

“As much as I love student groups, they are also a lot of work…being a co-president for two groups is defnitely a lot of work and time committed,” she said. “I will now have so much time back and want to maximize it instead of jumping straight into a career where I’m spending 40 hours per week [working].”

Travelling after graduation isn’t an unheard concept, however there is a growing trend among new graduates to prioritize self-care.

A 2021 study from the Hong Kong Polytechnic University examined the “niche” of graduation travel. It concluded that a component behind the desire to go on such trips is personal development and consolidating one’s identity.

“The friendships you make, just savour those relationships and make the most of it”

As one graduting class is stepping away from their post secondary journeys, they leave a few words for those still at TMU.

Riggillo advised frst-year students to enter this next stage of their lives with an open mind and said “don’t be afraid to branch out of your little circle of your program.”

Noor, in particular, has experienced a full-circle moment as her younger sister is now a first-year early childhood studies student at TMU. She said her advice to her sister was to simply “have fun.”

“The friendships you make, just savour those relationships and make the most of it,” Noor said.

“Take every experience you can and try to have no regrets.”


Te Eye’s Declassifed Sports Editor Survival Guide

You may have noticed the ‘Recent Posts’ page on The Eyeopener’s website throughout the year is flled with mostly sports stories. From game recaps to profles to previews, we’ve been grinding all year to provide a captivating catalogue for our readers—even if it’s not the frst section they look for.

Occasionally, this meant late hours and long weekends on game days. Yet, if we’re being honest, we wouldn’t have had it any other way.

Some may think we’re just random strangers who lurk in the Mattamy Athletic Centre (MAC) looking to ambush athletes for autographs after the game. But no, we are the ones who actually get the work done around here.

And here’s how we do it:

A race to the Gardens

It’s always a journey to arrive on time, especially for those early 12 p.m. games. Usually, we make a plan the day before—simply a quick text or conversation confrming what time we’ll meet up. Often, it’s the only part of our day we have complete control over. Sometimes, we’ll meet at the o ce and do other work-related tasks before trekking down Church Street. Other times, it’s every person for themselves and the frst person to reach the MAC gets absolutely nothing. However, before arriving at our destination, we come prepared with either a

slurpy Tim Hortons Iced Capp or something juicy and tasty from Loblaws—you can probably guess who gets what in this equation. Unfortunately, the money we’ve spent at these places hasn’t resulted in a sponsorship.

After meeting in the lobby, we skip over to the elevators to dodge the OneCard hunters seeking proof that we’re students. You might think they would recognize us by now but you would be wrong.

Watch from our secret lair We usually post up at our hideout on the balcony above the court for

basketball and volleyball games like Batman watching over Gotham City—the city needs us. This gives us a clear view of the action but our happiness and workspace depend on whether the MAC’s comfy blue couches are available. If they aren’t, we play the cat-and-mouse game of waiting for someone to go to the bathroom before stealing their seats for ourselves. Sorry, not sorry.

When it’s time to drop the puck for hockey games, we typically fnd a seat in the stands where we can clearly hear the sounds of the in-game hosts chanting “T-M-U ” blaring over the rink’s much louder speakers compared to the court’s mu ed audio. As for soccer, we don’t go on the adventure all the way to Downsview Park—besides that one time.

Sitting in the scrums

Our job relies on speaking to people, especially athletes and coaches. For recaps, these are an essential part of the story. We’ll always request certain players to talk to but occasionally, you might see us quickly storming down corridors or staking out the change rooms to help our writer get a voice we really want for

the story. The soundbites are typically old-age clich s, “Get the puck in deep,” “It was back-and-forth,” blah blah blah. But, our contributors ask the hard hitters to get the softies out—they grow up so fast. It pays dividends at the end when we add the meat to a story’s skeleton.

Time to make the magic happen

We do nothing once the games and interviews are fnished. OK, not really.

After the arduous task of watching fve games in a day, or just the women’s hockey team, we fnally have an hour or so to ourselves. As our dedicated contributors work under a strict deadline, we spill the latest gossip. Sports editors No, we’re actually Gossip Girl herself.

Once our writer has fnished their frst draft, the real magic starts to happen. Now, depending on the time of day, you can fnd us with our laptops open, sitting on the comfy blue couches, ready to dive deep into the story. Editing is… actually, we shouldn’t have to explain that to you. At the MAC, distractions can take up our time. Sometimes, we fnish watching an intense game before diving into the nitty gritty. Other times, we’re getting ushered out of a dark, empty building once it’s too late. Bet you didn’t know that happens.

Yet, our favourite place to edit isn’t in the hustle-and-bustle environment of the MAC, but instead, our cozy little o ce in the same building as the Oakham Caf .

We sit at our dedicated sports desk and make our contributors feel at home. Snacks or tea, anyone Sometimes, these nights in the offce stretch into the wee hours of the morning but they are the best part of our week.

The gruelling behind-the-scenes

When the draft is at a place we’re happy with, we release our writer into the night and wish them a safe trip home. However, our job is only

halfway done. We turn on the Alexa to get the party bumping. After we fnish bopping our heads to “Murder on the Dancefoor,” “Unwritten” and “Zombie,” we look to get some photos from our lovely and amazing photographers. Sorting through hundreds of images is not easy but the story must be fnished.

Once we get those sick ficks downloaded onto our laptops that have essentially no storage left, we have all the pieces we need to make a great meal of a recap. We then resize, alt-text and tag them—which honestly has taken years of our lives.

Once we put it on the website, we let our online team—also known as the Powerpuf Girls, sometimes even the Teletubbies—know. We stay on alert in case anything happens. Usually, this is our time to call it for the night and attempt to arrive alive in an Uber following our mandatory press conference in the o ce lobby about our rigorous and intense day.

Rinse and repeat

You’d think we get the rest of the weekend of, but alas, we return the next day and do it all over again.


The last eight months have been a long rollercoaster for the sports team at The Eye. Yet, we have buckled in and enjoyed every second of the ride along with our dedicated contributors. This job couldn’t be done without their eforts.

To this paper, we bid you adieu, as you’ll never see our bylines here again. To the next sports editors, we hope you can spotlight the stories we might have missed and perhaps top of our year. To the future masthead, we can’t wait to watch from the sidelines and see more to come.

Some might say we now have fnished our story. But, when one good story ends, an even better one begins.

Farewell, ye olde Eyeopener


The basic economics of student musicians

rofessional usic students discuss the trials and tribulations of oneti ation in the usic industry

Since the rise of music streaming services such as Spotify and Apple music in the 2010s, artists can publish music online with a few clicks of a button. The Eyeopener asked professional music students at Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) about their experiences in the music industry and how they make money as young artists.

or s aller artists, it’s ery di cult to ake oney fro li e usic

From streaming platforms and tour tickets to merchandise sales, musical artists have many different avenues to create a profit. But how can students turn their art into a viable business while in school?

Tae Hauk, a second-year professional music student at TMU, says he followed in the footsteps of his father and chose to pursue an education in music. Hawk says although music is still a really big industry, it can be very precarious as fewer people purchase music anymore and for smaller artists, ticket sales just aren’t quite the same.

“If you look at the stats, people are saying that live music is as big as it’s ever been…but it’s because people today, they go to stadium concerts and pay $10,000 for a ticket,” Hawk says. “But for smaller artists, it’s very difficult to make money from live music.” Hauk states that, in his experi-

ence, he receives a very minuscule incentive from the number of plays a song has.

Charity Chan, a lecturer for concert and festival management at TMU, says most musical artists, when starting out, make their money from other streams of income that deal with their personal brand rather than ticket sales.

“Finding work and making a living as a musician was always about wearing a large number of hats,” Chan says. “If you wanted to make money from your music and from work, it required a lot of hustle because in most cases, you did not make money from your musical practice.”

She emphasizes that the only difference now is streaming services are another hat that musicians have to wear to make a living wage. Most streaming services have a very small pay-out so it is not an ideal main source of income, especially as a fresh artist who is just starting.

ou need to find that community of people who will help you find other o ortunities

According to Spotify, artists can begin monetizing their content when they receive 1,000 streams from a minimum number of unique listeners in a 12 month period on a song. Titles with one to 1,000 annual streams generate $0.03 per month on average.

“Royalty payments that artists

receive might vary according to differences in how their music is streamed or the agreements they have with labels or distributors,” says Spotify’s Track Monetization Eligibility guidelines.

Hawk believes there is a high number of streams an artist can achieve to make a livable wage, but that number in the six digits is not obtainable early in a career. Although, social media algorithms can boost content.

ou ha e to ha e a assion And then the rest kind of figures itself out

“Where I’m at now, I’m just not consistent enough in terms of a fan base. I’ve got really big on TikTok in September 2023 of of a song I didn’t even intend on releasing,” Hawk says. “[It’s] the right place, right time… which did translate into some form of revenue. But how long that’s going to last, I couldn’t really tell you. Is that going to be a consistent revenue source? I couldn’t really say.”

Chan says to maximize profit from streaming services is to build up an audience—find a niche and a virtual audience that will engage with an artist’s music.

“It’s about working with the algorithms that are used by these platforms to have people help discover more of your music...trying to fgure out how you can get your music so that it is adjacent to something else people are interested in within a particular community,”

TMU’s Top Earners

This year, 1,847 Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) employees were listed as making over $100,000 in 2023 on Ontario’s Public Sector Salary Disclosure list (also known as the Sunshine List), a 12.55 per cent increase from the 1,641 employees that made the list in 2022.

Of the TMU employees on the Sunshine List, 476 earned over $200,000. Thirteen employees earned over $300,000.

Each year since 1996, the provincial government releases a list of all public sector employees who have earned more than $100,000 in the previous year before tax and without benefits.

The list includes the employee’s name, employer, salary, position and tax benefits. Adjusted for inflation, $100,000 in 1996 would be equal to $180,249.72 in 2024.

Here are TMU’s top 10 biggest salary earners in 2024:

Chan says.

Sydney Yack, a third-year student in the same program who performs under the name DAPHNE, says although streaming is not a huge money maker, there are still diferent outlets for emerging artists to fnd support.

“You need to fnd that community of people who will help you fnd other opportunities. You have to put yourself out there…there’s a bunch of programs for women in music, producers in music,” Yack says.

She highlighted the TD Music Artist in Residence, RBCxMusic Initiatives and the Honey Jam non-proft multicultural artist development programme as a few Canadian examples.

Yack also says she plans her music around the amount of releases to keep content flowing.

“Once you have something released and you don’t have anything after it, it is really di cult to get back on that horse and release something new.”

For Yack, she knows the creative industries are not an easy career to pursue successfully but it is all about the work you put it.

A word of advice she keeps hearing about the music industry: “If you’re not obsessed with it, you will fail.”

Hawk says his main goal is not the monetary compensation from making music, but each artists unique experience.

“[Making music] is not really about money…you just have to want it, you have to have a desire, you have to have a passion. And then the rest kind of fgures itself out.”

Mohamed Lachemi, president — $444,475.04

Anver Saloojee, professor in the Department of Politics and Public Administration — $356,213.96

Daphne Taras, professor and former dean of the Ted Rogers School of Management — $347,806.33

Roberta Iannacito-Provenzano, provost and vice-president, academic — $346,550.65

Donna Young, dean of the Faculty of Law — $339,966.71

Thomas Duever, dean of the Faculty of Engineering & Architectural Science — $322,259.17

David Cramb, dean of the Faculty of Science —$308,894.95

Jennifer Simpson, professor in the Department of Professional Communication and special advisor to the president, equity, diversity, inclusion and decolonization (curriculum transformation) — $308,790.04

Wendy Cukier, professor in the Department of Entrepreneurship and Strategy at TRSM — $308,021.92

Pria Nippak, associate professor and interim director of Health Services Management at TRSM — $305,063.92


Advice Column: How do I stop making my suffering a competition?

Having personal problems? Not to worry, ask PufPufParker Your most reliable campus stoner girly can answer any and all questions about life, love and mental anguish

Hi PufPufParker, I keep feeling the unquenchable desire to overshare about how sucky my life is anytime someone complains to me about theirs! How do I stop driving people away with this habit?

Kaylee from Ottawa

As the semester comes to an end, I’m sure a lot of us have been sacrifcing slivers of our sanity for the betterment of our academic careers.

Whether that means calling in ‘sick’ to your job to cram in one last study session before exams or being the last person in the Sheldon & Tracy Levy Student Learning Centre every weeknight, the last couple weeks of the year bring out the worst in our personal habits.

But alas, I am not here to talk about our collective stress.

I come bearing a special message

for you and everyone else who loves to climb up on their highest-ofhorses to rant about how much stress they’re bearing.

To put it plainly, hey you, NO ONE CARES I don’t really think it’s a fex’ that you were up until 4 a.m. grinding out a lab report and then had to get up at 7 a.m. for class. We’re adults now…you NEED your eight hours. No wonder it took you until four in the morning to fnish your work, you were running on an empty tank

If this sounds familiar to you, go crawl under the covers and come out when you understand the meaning of a good night’s sleep. Maybe then you’ll be able to stay awake long enough during the day to get your work done in a timely fashion.

If you’re one of those weirdos with a cofee fxation, you’re not absolved from my rage either. If you can’t make it through a day on campus without spending $6 on an oat milk latte, I would like to inquire about openings at your workplace. How are you able to budget for that, especially in this economy? You can’t even pay less than $10 for milk and eggs these days.

Don’t come around these parts complaining about the bills you dropped at Balzac’s this month to afford your large caramel macchiatos. Cafeine is a drug, you know. Your addiction is hurting your ability to socialize normally without making self-deprecating remarks about how

much cofee you consume. I suggest buying a water bottle instead. Water is free, hydrating and maybe it’ll help regulate your bowels after all that cafeine consumption. Besides, with all the money you’ll save, maybe you can buy a new personality.

Listen, at the end of the day, we are all victims of procrastination. Girl, I procrastinated writing this response We’ve all dropped a cheeky comment about how late we are on an assignment because of whatever weekend rave or the fact that the Love Is Blind fnale came up and swept our attention away. I just know more than half of us have responded to a comment like that with “Oh, well I’m twice as late as you on three more assignments ”

I’m pretty sure if that’s the only thing you have to say when someone asks you how school is going, you should consider re-evaluating your academic standing. What are you paying tuition for? Mama, are you on probation? Do you do ANY work? I’m pretty sure the school has resources if you need a tutor or something. Also, no one will judge you for studying a bit. We are in school after all.

Finally, absolutely nothing sucks more than having to work and go to school. This lifestyle is a pretty popular option if you look at the downtown rent prices and see how many students choose to commute. I’d be

surprised to see anyone who lives a walking distance from campus and doesn’t work three jobs. So if I’m in my 10 a.m. class yawning every other minute, you don’t need to butt in about how late you got home from your shift last night. The economy sucks, there are basically no paid internships. I would be surprised if people aren’t working during every spare moment that they don’t have a class, internship or some sort of responsibility to worry about.

We all have moments where we feel the need to boast about how hard we have it. I’m sure no one is free of that sin. What I implore you to do is this: reconsider yapping the next time you feel the urge to mention that you stayed up three hours later than your friend or that you worked two more weekend shifts than someone else. I’m pretty sure if you keep that up, there will be no one around for you to one-up, if you catch my drift. All us students struggle, and there’s nothing wrong with a good vent. Just try to be more of a support system and less of a competitor when it comes to sharing your shortcomings.

Yours always,

The Backrooms of TMU: Files from a student who survived Kerr Hall

In 2020, my frst year at Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU), school was completely online.

Despite the unprecedented shift, I moved into a near-empty Pitman Hall, one of the campus residencies, and lived on campus for the year with a small number of other students.

Pretty much all in-person services at the university were closed. The impending doom radiating from the pandemic and the stress of being a frst-year journalism student had put quite the damper on any Frosh Week plans or welcome activities, so I languished in boredom and silence in my empty four-bedroom apartment. One thing did save me, though. The ability to wander through the few buildings that were open kept me from losing complete touch with reality. It helped to form a little bit of a connection with the community I was supposed to be becoming a part of in my frst year.

During my explorations one day, I noticed a big, imposing building— with a door cracked open. I slid in and began to walk, my mind racing with possibilities. Would there be a wall of windows like in the Rogers

Communication Centre (RCC) or something modern like the massive foyer of the Sheldon & Tracy Levy Student Learning Centre? So far, it resembled neither—there was just a staircase and faceless walls so beige they were oppressive.

I realized soon after entering that I had made a huge mistake. I had been walking for about 10 minutes in one direction and it seemed as if nothing around me had changed. It was almost as though I was walking on an invisible treadmill. I could tell I was moving further and further underground as the windows diminished and the ceilings got lower.

Of course, I’m talking about Kerr Hall. I don’t know about you, but I don’t think I’ve entered and exited out of the same doors of that haunted building. Sometimes, to this day, I get cold sweats on mornings I know I need to pass through the building.

The Kerr Hall complex is made up of four buildings—the North, South, East and West halls. The complex has quite a few dead ends which means, to get between buildings in the complex, you sometimes have to take the stairs and switch foors frst, which makes it very easy to get lost.

As I tentatively made my way

through the bleak halls, I noticed an immediate lack of “you are here” signs or anything that allowed for a sense of direction.

The aforementioned staircases were all indistinguishable from each other and everything slowly began to morph into what seemed like an ever-changing labyrinth rather than a harmless university building. Initially, I chalked it up to a bad sense of direction. But now, my opinion has changed.

I’m convinced that Kerr Hall is an extension of The Backrooms.

The Backrooms are an (allegedly) fctional location originating from a 2019 thread posted on 4chan, a popular imageboard website. Online, it’s commonly described as an extra dimensional, liminal space people can become trapped in that seems to go on forever.

I’m not the frst person to draw this connection. One user on the TorontoMetU subreddit made a post titled, “POV you’ve set just 1 foot in Kerr Hall,” with an iconic photo of the backrooms attached.

The top reply reads, “First time I went to Kerr Hall I got lost and couldn’t fnd my way out lol.” Validating? Yes. But, the consistency and fre-

quency of people getting lost in Kerr Hall make me think it is more than just a case of bad architecture, but something altogether more sinister. These days, I tend to stay away from the complex whenever possible. But duty calls, so I headed over on a dreary Thursday to snap a few pictures of the hall—which continued to look creepier every day.

After some expert iPhone photography, I patted myself on the back for a job-well-done and headed in the direction of the exit staircase.

But it was…gone? I looked around and the building’s usual signs and posters were gone. The red lockers lining the walls seemed to go on

for miles. The air took on a sudden, unspeakable chill. Had I, in my efort to expose Kerr Hall, accidentally become a part of it? I started to sweat under my coat and began to walk in panicked circles.

Eventually, another human—a gracious theatre student—found me shaking in my boots and pointed me in the correct direction towards the RCC bridge.

Still, to this day, I believe my theory still stands: The Backrooms are real. However, you don’t get there by phasing out of reality by chance, You get there by checking your schedule at the beginning of a semester and seeing you have a class in Kerr Hall.

Hi Kaylee from Ottawa,
u u arker o ers her best ad ice on ho to sto being an insu erable su erer

Spent more than $100 on campus cofee

Sat down to eat at the Oakham Café

Dropped a course

Gotten lost in Kerr Hall

Lied to your professor to get an extension

Had to replace your OneCard

Took more than four courses in one semester

Had your birthday on a school day

Missed a discussion post

Taken a nap on campus

Got approached for a street interview

Saw Frankie the Falcon in real life

Taken a trip to the Eaton Centre Studied in the SLC FREE

Skipped at least five classes

Submitted an assignment with minutes to spare

Attended a sports game at the MAC

Pulled a whole all-nighter

Own some kind of TMU merch

Had a class moved online for a day

Experienced a delay on the TTC

Been on campus after 10 p.m.

Participated in a campus event

Left a class halfway through

Te Eye’s end-ofyear bingo!

Hey Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU)’s time! As we say goodbye to another semester, take this time to reminisce about the good, the bad and some of the ugly moments you spent during the 2023-24 school year.

Whether you spent too much time in the Sheldon & Tracy Levy Student Learning Centre (SLC) or got stuck on a Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) train, the TMU student experience is like no other.

Share which classic TMU activites you checked of your bucket list by filling out this special bingo card!

Want a chance to win a $20 Metro gift card? Fill out this bingo card and send a photo with at least one full row, column or diagonal to @ theeyewideopen on Instagram to be added to the prize draw.

The draw will be closed on April 15, 2024 at 11:59 p.m. and winners will be chosen on April 17, 2024.

The winner will receive a confirmation email from This is the only email that will contact you.

BINGO!!! 12
Puzzle by Jay Ashdown Words by Joshua Chang
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