PHOTO / ILLUSTRATION: MASON / LAILA AMER PHOTO / ILLUSTRATION: JES JES MASON / LAILA AMER
Volume 55 - Issue 2 September 8, 2021 theeyeopener.com @theeyeopener Since 1967
Mixed reactions over Ryerson University renaming announcement By Heidi Lee On Aug. 26, Ryerson University announced it would rename the institution, as its current namesake “can no longer be disentangled from separate schools, segregation, the genocide of Indigenous Peoples and cultural erasure.” While the decision comes after years of calls from Indigenous community members, reactions to the announcement were polarizing. In November 2020, Ryerson introduced the Standing Strong (Mash Koh Wee Kah Pooh Win) Task Force to examine the history and colonial legacy of the school’s namesake. At the Aug. 26 Board of Governors meeting, the Board approved the Task Force’s 22 recommendations laid out in its final report, including renaming the university, reconsidering the school’s mascot and implementing an Indigenous medicines garden, among others. Waubgeshig Rice, a Ryerson journalism alumni who graduated in 2002, said he didn’t anticipate the decision to come so soon, but was happy to hear the announcement. “Hopefully, it’s a good opportunity to create a more inclusive, openminded and receptive community to Indigenous needs and Indigenous history,” said Rice, who is an Anishinaabe author originally from Wasauksing First Nation.
ILLUSTRATION: LAILA AMER
framework for “new manual labour schools” for Indigenous children. This resulted in the creation of two residential schools by the Colonial Office department. Although Ryerson laid the foundations for public schools in Ontario, he also recommended creating separate schools for students who were lower-class, deaf, blind and “coloured.” He was also opposed to girls attending grammar schools at the time. In 1983, Rice began his education at Ryerson Indian Day School, a former Indian Day School also named after Egerton Ryerson. The school was no longer intended for assimilation by the time Rice attended, but he was aware of Ryerson’s colonial legacy as a child. “He made some valuable contributions to society in other ways, but when you weigh what ultimately resulted from his plan for Indigenous children, those detriments far outweigh the benefits.” “I critique the Ryerson Rice carried that baggage with name because I care for him when he decided to attend Rythe community” erson University—one example of many compromises Rice said IndigThe report also detailed Egerton enous peoples have to make when Ryerson’s colonial legacy. Indian Af- considering their futures in Canada. fairs requested that he recommend a During his time at the university,
Ryerson University in 2002. Shortly after the announcement of the name change, the Ryerson People’s Party of Canada (RPPC) started a petition to “save Ryerson.” The petition, which has 558 signatures at time of publication, asks that a referendum be held “so all alumni and student voices can be heard.” The RPPC expressed concerns over the economic costs of renaming and the Task Force’s method of surveying community members opinions. “By signing our petition, you are confirming that you stand for the Ryerson University name, preserving Ryerson University’s educational legacy and defending the employability of your degree domestically and internationally,” the petition’s description reads. Clinton Mech, a fifth-year international economics and finance student, said he doesn’t see a point in changing the name as this “doesn’t fix what happened in the past.” “When I think of Ryerson University, most people don’t necessarily think of Egerton Ryerson. They just see it as a university name.” In May, a group of Indigenous students called on Ryerson community members to replace ‘Ryerson’ with an ‘X’ in their email signatures, CVs and other professional communications.
sity Graduate Students’ Union and the Continuing Education Students Association at X University (CESAX) removed ‘Ryerson’ from the organizations titles. CESAX vice-president equity and campaigns Steph Rychlo said the announcement is surprising, but “in a good way,” after years of advocacy by Indigenous communities at Ryerson. Rychlo said administration always finds bureaucratic ways to delay progress and stifle organizing efforts by Indigenous advocates on campus. CESAX published an open letter in August 2020 calling for the removal of the Egerton Ryerson statue, which was toppled and beheaded by protestors in June 2021. Rychlo said CESAX is happy for Indigenous community members, but the work is not done yet. “This doesn’t mean that our campus has fully committed itself to reconciliation, that our university administration has listened to all of the calls to action from the Truth and Reconciliation report.” Rychlo said they believe arguments regarding the cost for renaming are often used to silence Indigenous peoples demanding for changes. They said the school has rebranded in the past to bring in more revenue and student enrolment.
Rice said he had a good education and made lifelong friendships. “I don’t disavow the place and I don’t regret my experiences there,” said Rice. “I critique the Ryerson name and the minimal effort in the last two decades to change, because I care for the community, especially the Indigenous community.” He added that he believes the university is a viable institution for Indigenous peoples, even more so after the decision to change the name. In a Toronto Star column, Ryerson president Mohamed Lachemi wrote that examining Egerton Ryerson through a 21st century lens is challenging, but it is necessary for the school to reconcile “the past and position for the 21st century and beyond.” “The work of the task force was not just an examination of one university’s namesake, but also to gain an understanding of the legacy of co“When you weigh what ultimately resulted from lonial history and how the university Ryeron’s plan for Indigenous children, those can recognize its responsibility to redetriments far outweigh the benefits” spond to local, national and international movements seeking equity and justice for all citizens,” he stated. According to the students, this was “But if our university administraIn 1964, the institution changed its a response to the university’s slow tion has no problem dropping large name to Ryerson Polytechnical Insti- pace on renaming the school and re- amounts of money to do this, then tute and to Ryerson Polytechnic Uni- moving Egerton Ryerson’s statue. why is it an issue to meet commuversity in 1993. Finally, it was named To show solidarity, the X Univer- nities’ calls to action?”
Rye experts on welcoming and sponsoring Afghan refugees amidst crisis By Megan Camlasaran On the brink of a humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan leaving millions of people displaced, Canadians can help Afghan refugees resettle through sponsorship and foster an inclusive environment, according to experts of immigration and migration at Ryerson University. In August, the Taliban took control of Afghanistan after foreign military forces withdrew from Afghanistan, causing thousands of deaths and displacing millions of people. Canada has committed to resettle 20,000 Afghan refugees who are fleeing the country due to unfolding crisis, according to a statement released by the federal government on Aug. 13. The federal government announced two special immigration programs to resettle Afghan female leaders, human rights defenders, journalists and LGBTQ individuals who have contributed to Canada’s efforts abroad, it stated.
Lifeline Afghanistan is a nonpartisan organization that was recently launched in response to the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan. It is supported by the Ted Rogers School of Management’s Diversity Institute. The organization began working on employment, trauma-informed training and language skills training for refugees for months, but as the evacuation became a priority in August, they quickly switched their focus to humanitarian relief. According to Lifeline Afghanistan, there are approximately 3.5 million internally displaced Afghans and an additional 2.2 million refugees and asylum seekers. Wendy Cukier, director of Ryerson’s Diversity Institute and cofounder of Lifeline Afghanistan, said “coordination is challenging” at the moment because so many people want to help, which she said is welcomed and needed for settlement projects. Sponsorship and taking legal re-
sponsibility for refugee families requires a lot of groundwork, as they need help finding housing, employment, education, healthcare and navigating transportation, said Cukier.
“This can still be heartbreaking for them... having to start everything again from scratch here” When Cukier was previously involved with Lifeline Syria five years ago, she saw different settlement agencies, community organizations, municipal governments and regular citizens come together to help ensure families get taken care of when they arrive in Toronto. There have been thousands of volunteers for Lifeline Afghanistan, more than half of which are Canadian university students. Anna Triandafyllidou, Canada Excellence Research Chair in Migration and Integration at Ryerson, said she foresees Afghan refugees
would struggle to integrate into Canada as the stress of what’s happening in Afghanistan looms in the minds of Afghan-Canadians, especially those who still have close ties in the country. “This can still be heartbreaking for them, leaving their homes, their lives, their relatives and friends back in the country and having to start everything again from scratch here,” said Triandafyllidou. She said mental health support is necessary for both refugees coming to Canada and for Afghan-Canadians who are experiencing trauma or anxiety over their past and present connections to Afghanistan. It’s not just supplies and money that are important but also befriending and mentoring individuals who need the extra support in a new environment, she added. Sponsoring families can be helpful and a rewarding experience, said Mehru Ali, an early childhood studies professor at Ryerson who sponsored Syrian refugees in 2015.
Ali is now working with students to sponsor an Afghan family by helping raise funds, and finding them housing, transportation and education once they are safely in Canada. “It is the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done in my life. Friendships are developed and I’ve seen struggle and survival, that makes you think about your own privilege. It opens up your eyes to other people’s lives in a different way,” she said. Cukier said Lifeline Afghanistan is waiting for policies to change and sponsorship rules to be established for Afghan refugees. In the meantime, Cukier is trying to secure a truck to pick up supplies for those who have recently arrived at the airport. She is looking for volunteer and expert translators who can speak Farsi and Pashto, Iranian and Persian languages. “Students are key,” she said, adding that she understands that students are busy, but they can help “in little ways.”
Rye law prof stands with CAUT censure of U of T over hiring scandal Joshua Sealy-Harrington declined an opportunity to guest lecture at the prestigious institution, citing suppression of speech criticizing Israel By Sarah Tomlinson Ryerson law professor Joshua SealyHarrington turned down an invitation to guest lecture on critical race theory at the University of Toronto (U of T) following the Canadian Association of University Teachers’ (CAUT) censure over a hiring scandal involving Valentina Azarova. On Sept. 10, 2020, U of T rescinded its offer to Azarova for the position of director of its International Human Rights Program (IHRP). Azarova is a human-rights lawyer and scholar based in Germany who specializes in international law and foreign territorial control, and has researched Israel’s occupation of Palestine. The school had previously made a verbal commitment to Azarova the previous summer. Following the Toronto Star’s announcement of Azarova’s rescinded offer, rumours began circulating that the decision was influenced by Justice David E. Spiro, a judge in the Tax Court of Canada and a major donor to U of T’s law school. Spiro allegedly spoke on the phone to a high-level university administrator about Azarova’s work on the IsraelPalestine conflict. He allegedly suggested her appointment would damage the university’s reputation. Since then, Audrey Macklin, who chaired the search committee and was part of the selection panel for the director position, resigned from the board, as did all three members of the program’s faculty advisory as well as Vincent Wong, one of the program’s two research associates. In a statement released by U of T’s faculty of law, the university said negotiations were at an advanced stage, no formal job offer had been made or rescinded, and that external influence did not play a role in the decision-making. In March 2021, former Supreme Court of Canada Justice Thomas Albert Cromwell conducted an independent review into the controversy, the results of which echoed the faculty’s statement. According to Cromwell, the main issues concerned immigration and employment law. Azarova had requested to have her summers off, which the university alleged could inhibit her ability to attain a work permit. “My conclusion is that the inference of improper influence is not one that I would draw,” wrote Cromwell in the report. On April 23, 2021, the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) voted to censure the university due to the controversy, which it deemed “a violation of academic freedom.” Academics were asked to not accept appointments or speaking engagements at the institution. In August 2021, Sealy-Harrington
COURTESY OF POWER LAW
Ryerson law professor Joshua Sealy-Harrington.
received an invitation to guest lecture on critical race theory, an area he specializes in. On Aug. 23, 2021, he tweeted that he refused the offer and referenced the university “suppressing speech about one of the most oppressed racialized communities in the world.” In an interview with The Eye, SealyHarrington said he declined U of T’s invitation in solidarity with both the CAUT’s censure and the Palestinian struggle against Israeli apartheid. “What the censure is doing is trying to mobilize mass politics as an alternative means of accountability in the midst of an institution which is seemingly unwilling to respond to more conventional forms of accountability and redress,” he said. Sealy-Harrington added that Azarova’s specific work on the conflict between Israel and Palestine is a “crucial lens” to understand the context of the issue at the university. “There’s boatloads of literature exploring the suppression of voices critically analyzing the Israel-Palestine conflict,” he said. Discourse on Israel and Palestine has been an ongoing “site of political struggle” across academic institutions, Sealy-Harrington said. However, due to an emerging solidarity across various justice movements globally, universities are having more discussions about the atrocities in Palestine. “A lot of these different conversations are converging on one another and appreciating the ways in which these struggles are joined,” he said. According to Sealy-Harrington, Cromwell failed to acknowledge
Spiro’s impact on the decision-making process. “From my standpoint, it strains credulity to think that after a lengthy and rigorous selection process unanimously selecting Azarova, that Justice Spiro’s Friday call was not the origin of the decision over the Labour Day weekend,” he said. According to the timeline in Cromwell’s report, Justice Spiro expressed his concerns about Azarova’s hiring to an administrator on the Friday before Labour Day weekend.
“There’s boatloads of literature exploring the suppression of voices critically analyzing the IsraelPalestine conflict” He also said the reasons that the university provided for not hiring Azarova—such as timing and immigration—are “illogical.” “There’s no logic to abandoning a hiring process, which has already proceeded a significant amount, with the view to hiring someone else more quickly. And indeed they obviously haven’t hired anyone in the intervening time,” he said, adding that the university presumably navigates issues with immigration frequently as an international institution. Likewise, David Robinson, executive director of the CAUT, told The Eye that the conclusions in Cromwell’s report were “unsatisfactory” and actually “raised more questions
than it resolved.” “Cromwell’s mandate was actually quite limited, and quite unusual for an internal review in that he states at the very beginning that his mandate did not include judging who was telling the truth or dealing with conflicting claims. So when conflicting claims come up, he just moves on,” he said. Nevertheless, Robinson said the report did provide a “clear delineation of the timeline” with regards to Spiro’s call and the contacting of the Faculty of Law to convey the donor’s concern, which seemingly led to an “abrupt” end to Azarova’s hiring over the course of a long weekend. “All the chronology points to a certain conclusion, but Cromwell said [he] can’t make that conclusion,” Robinson said. “In the end, the report didn’t help the university, and most people who read it found it unsatisfying, in terms of not coming to any real conclusion about what the balance of probabilities were.” In support of the censure, Amnesty International, a non-governmental human rights group, suspended its relationship with the university on May 18, 2021, writing in a letter that it found the conclusions drawn in Cromwell’s report unsatisfactory. Several organizations have shown support for the censure, including CUPE 3906, the American Association of University Professors division at New York University and the American Studies Association. Numerous events have also been cancelled by speakers, including former governor general Michaëlle Jean, who postponed her lecture at
the university on systemic racism. Robinson said such instances are a “remarkable show of solidarity” both in Canada and internationally. “It comes with some sacrifice,” he said. “So I certainly appreciate the effort of people who want to respect the censure and want to stand up for principles of academic freedom, because all of these cancellations and all these public statements by academics hurt the reputation of the university and encourage them to do the right thing to resolve the matter.” Emily Albert, a second-year law student at U of T, and member of the university’s law union and its International Jewish Voices chapter, said Sealy-Harrington’s actions were inspiring for students. “It’s been a really good learning opportunity for students, following the lead of folks like Joshua SealyHarrington to think about what is integrity and accountability when engaging with academia within the legal profession,” she said. Nevertheless, as a student, she said it’s “disappointing” to not be able to learn from guest speakers or centre them at the university. “I cannot imagine a person who’s qualified not having the integrity to or set of principles to deny the position during censure. So hopefully that just increases pressure for the university,” she said.
“All of these cancellations...hurt the reputation of the university” Robinson said it’s likely the university will agree to hire Azarova in the next couple of weeks. This would involve not only rehiring Azarova, but rectifying the protections for academic freedom, particularly for people who do “this kind of clinical legal work, which does offend people in powerful positions,” he said. “Even in Cromwell’s own report, he recommended that they do that. If they do those two things, I think the censure will go away,” he said. In the faculty’s statement, they said they have adopted all of the recommendations in the Cromwell report, including improving its policies around confidentiality, and are “strongly committed to upholding the principles and practice of academic freedom.” According to Sealy-Harrington, another issue is the decrease in funding for post-secondary institutions, which he said can leave them more susceptible to donor influence. “The university has to establish policies and procedures to ensure that it’s run like an academic centre, not a business enterprise,” he said.
How to process negative feelings about Ryerson’s name change By Rochelle Raveendran
Editor-in-Chief Tyler “Waffle’d” Griffin
If you’re still feeling upset about Ryerson University changing its name, don’t worry! Change can be scary, and it’s perfectly natural to feel uncomfortable. Take this quiz to determine the best way for you to deal with all your emotions.
News Thea “#Bold #Change” Gribilas Heidi “Get A Job” Lee Sarah “Pyjama Prez” Tomlinson Photo Laila “Nose No More” Amer Harry ”photo1920” Clarke Jes “Quad Wine” Mason
What’s your favourite George Orwell quote? A. “...Every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered.” B. “He disliked nearly all women, and especially the young and pretty ones.” C. “Previously on Big Brother Canada: BB CAN hit warp speed, welcoming eight newcomers and seven second-chancers.” D. “Snowball was a more vivacious pig than Napoleon, quicker in speech and more inventive, but was not considered to have the same depth of character.”
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relevant for this quiz??? D. Yes. Chihuahuas: thoughts?
A. Overgrown rats. B. Undergrown cats. C. Cute, but they’re brats. Is Canada the new Soviet Union? D. I’d rather have a really, really Is the Truth and Reconcilia- chunky Berkshire pig. tion Act the new Конституции СССР? Out of all the members What was the last movie you of Stalin’s cabinet, who would watched? be Ryerson president Mohamed Lachemi’s BFF? Is Eggy our A. A three-hour documentary on Bob Mikhail Gorbachev? Dylan directed by Martin Scorsese. My friends tell me I’m insufferable! A. We are living in a communist B. Cinderella with Camilla Cabello. state. The shadow of the Iron Cur- Had all my favourite qualities: a love tain falls across my face as I sun- story, James Corden playing an anbathe in Oakville. And o’ I weep, thropomorphic animal and a hearthow I weep. felt, Amazon-produced storyline B. I feel like Eggy’s fur gives him a about supporting small business. stronger Leonid Brezhnev vibe. C. Joker. I relate to him because no C. Listen: I couldn’t care less about one thinks I’m funny and I also own history, politics or the history of a blood-red suit and mustard waistpoliticians. But I don’t see how that’s coat from Zara. No other reason.
D. Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted. this for a while and I’ll get back to you. D. I just feel sorry for the Queen. What is your biggest concern That’s all I have to say. about Ryerson renaming? How are you feeling, really? A. I have lost the world-wide prestige and admiration invoked when people A. Bored. hear I’m a Ryerson graduate. This B. Bored. scenario has never occured yet, but C. Bored. now it DEFINITELY won’t happen. D. Bored. B. There…There was a girl. Long ago, years now, but when I close my ANSWER KEY: eyes, it feels like yesterday. The first Mostly As: You’re suffering from time I kissed her, we were stand- a build-up of tension accumulated ing under the Ryerson sign nailed over the past several years. Chew onto Kerr Hall. Am I holding onto on a doggie dental toy for a cathartic the name when I’d rather be holding and relaxing activity. onto her? Perhaps. But she’s moved Mostly Bs: You just need little love in on. Yeah. She’s moved on. your heart. Reply to any emails you’ve C. All the money I spent on hoodies received from recently-widowed for the sick Ryerson logo. Now, I’m multi-millionaires or princes looking not gonna look cool anymore when for someone to help them manage I wear them! their fortune. Remember: opportuniD. I just feel bad for the people who ties for romance are everywhere. are sad the name’s changing—I’m an Mostly Cs: You are constantly anempath, you see. gry and it’s unclear why. Maybe go to therapy or something? When you’ve finished grocery Mostly Ds: You’re just looking for shopping, what do you do with community! We’ve all been there. your shopping cart? Why not do it in a more productive setting—join a beginner’s origami A. Ram it into the nearest Chevrolet club or help an elderly man with his that isn’t black or silver. shopping at Dollarama. B. Give it a slight push. Let it drift and roll, roll and drift across the parking Welcome back to (well we’re not sure yet lot, totally unmoored, while I watch. so we’ll stick with) X Uni. For now. A reC. I never use a shopping cart; I use minder that we are YOUR student newsmy hands, like a man. Also, I fre- paper. We want to hear about your heros quently open up and chug a can of and villians, the happy endings and the Coke in a store before paying for it. sob stories. Most especially we would like I’m pretty off-the-rails. to: do a help, a problem solve, do a good D. Push it all the way back to the samaritan for you or your friend who shopping cart station. is too shy. Is there something that is not right? Is there an unfairness? Do you see a Do you think Kristen Stewart call to justice, reverberating but not being will pull off playing Princess Di- responded to??? THAT IS WHERE WE ana in Pablo Larraín’s new film? COME IN! Send us your event, your pitch, your complaint or concern. We REALLY A. I believe the Royal Family is a fig- want to hear from you! ment of popular imagination due to the innate human desire to be con- The Eyeopener is Ryerson’s largest and trolled. This movie is an extension of only independent student newspaper. It is an international mass hallucination. owned and operated by Rye Eye PublishB. Absolutely. ing Inc., a non-profit corporation owned C. I know nothing about this movie and operated by the students of Ryerson. but I bet Harry and Meghan have You can reach us at theeyeopener.com, something to do with it. In fact, I’m on Twitter at @theeyeopener or on Inscertain they do. Let me ruminate on tagram at @the_eyeopener.
Online Dhriti “Cottagecore Colouring Sheet” Gupta Alexandra “At Ukrainian Dance Camp Don’t Text” Holyk Features Abeer “Certified Superior Scorpio” Khan Arts and Culture Elizabeth “Aggressive Tabling” Sargeant Business and Technology Charlize “Stoner Oprah” Alcaraz Communities Mariam “The Star’s Star” Nouser Sports Gavin “Superior Gavin” Axelrod Fun and Satire Rochelle “Red Scare” Raveendran Media Norah “Limpy” Kim Web Developer Farhan “My Taxes!” Sami General Manager Liane “Bugs LOVE Her” McLarty Advertising Manager Christopher “Workin’ Workin,’ Hardly Hardly” Roberts Design Director J.D. “Internet Entrepeneur” Mowat Contributors Krishika “Ask Me Anything About The Candidates” Jethani Megan “Quick Update!” Camlasaran Maria “My Boobs Are Down Here” Couto Anastasia “Buys Too Many Books” Blosser Jessica “Irish People Suffered And Ur Laughing” Mazze Jack “Sub2 Knockdown News” Wannan Darya “Quick On Feet” Soufian Mariyah “Sips Iced Latte” Salhia Kaitlyn “I’m On It” Stock Armen “Had To Take A Flexer” Zargarian Jack “Not A Fake Name” MacCool Sakina “Clown School Graduate” Chaudary Justina “Johnson Johnson” Kewal
Through My Eyes: Navigating the post-9/11 world as a hijab-wearing woman By Mariam Nouser As the 20th anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001 approaches, I can’t help but feel a throbbing pain in my heart. The effects of what happened on that day two decades ago have lasted for the majority of my life. I was six years old when the World Trade Center was attacked. You could say I was too young to fully grasp what happened but I can tell you, I felt it deeply. While I only vaguely remember the world pre-9/11, what I do know is that it was drastically different after it. I had just started Grade 1 at Thorncliffe Park Public School in East York. Despite being in public school, the vast majority of my classmates were Muslim. Our area had become a landing destination for South Asian Muslims when immigrating to Canada. School that day seemed normal, our teachers did not let us know about what happened in the U.S., which I’d like to think was for our own good. My daycare provider picked her daughter and me up from school in her shalwar kamees and hijab neatly pinned. She had a grave look on her
face. She didn’t know how to explain what had happened to her daughter and me. Since we didn’t know what happened, she had us turn on the TV and see for ourselves. Didi, as I called her, insisted that despite these people claiming to kill in the name of our sacred religion, they were not like us. I remember her saying, “Mariam, our religion is one of peace and never forget that.” After that, I didn’t think much of it and just hoped that this was the last time someone used my religion in an immoral way. Deep down, I realized that I delayed my decision to wear the hijab until I was 18 out of my fear of being judged for being Muslim. I wanted to wear it so badly, but I couldn’t handle any sort of bigotry. Instead, I hid behind my white-passing looks and went on with life like a ghost. As months went on, I remember teachers acting very vigilant during recess, keeping a close eye on what we were doing at all times. I didn’t know at the time but Islamophobic incidents had skyrocketed within a short period of time and our tiny yet mighty neighbourhood experienced a lot of it.
ILLUSTRATION: LAILA AMER
My dad, who is a visibly racialized Egyptian man, didn’t take the time to explain the implications of what happened in 2001. Looking back, it seems like a coping mechanism for him. Years after in 2007, he told me he was beaten by policemen on the side of a highway in B.C. in 2002 because he was mistaken to be a suspect in a murder case. My dad, who had titanium plates in his neck following a car accident in 1999, was left in pain and suffer-
ing with no justification to why they thought he was a suspect. He decided not to pursue legal action out of fear. That very moment made me realize that living life as a Muslim in the West is no easy feat. I started wearing the hijab in 2013 and almost immediately after I declared my Muslimness so visibly, I faced several Islamophobic incidents, including two physical attacks. I’ve noticed that every single time an attack happened by a Muslim, I
was verbally or physically assaulted shortly after. I’ll tell you this: I am tired of being blamed for something I didn’t do. I’ve noticed that Muslims are blamed more for the actions of extremists than any other religion— the catalyst being the 9/11 terrorist attacks. I just hope, one day, I can walk down the street, wearing my hijab with no care in the world and no fear in my heart.
Ryerson alum fills gaps for students with disabilities through BeyondAbilities By Darya Soufian A 2021 Ryerson disability studies graduate has launched a new organization in an effort to cater to the different needs of individuals with disabilities. BeyondAbilities provides a widerange of programs and services for all age groups, as well as for specific needs of different disabilities. Some of the programs include online English as a Second Language (ESL) classes, tutoring, resume building, support for mothers with disabilities and more. All of BeyondAbilities’ programming is provided virtually, not only due to the pandemic but also for accessibility and to protect immunocompromised people in the disabled community. The programs are run by experts with lived experiences and knowledge about disability studies. During the pandemic, BeyondAbilities founder Ghofran Alyass said she discovered that her community has faced isolation as a result of not being able to engage in activities with each other. “We can often be tempted to go outside and forget about the virus but that’s not a decision I want others in my community to make,” said Alyass. Alyass has a physical disability and is a wheelchair user, which has helped her understand the needs of others with disabilities. From her own experience and from what she heard from her peers in the program, students found it difficult to find someone who could support
Ghofran Alyass, founder of BeyondAbilities.
them in order to reach their goals. “Finding someone who has knowledge on the subject of disability is a challenge,” said Alyass. “We need someone who will take in the needs of someone with a disability and their diverse learning styles.” Up until Alyass’ graduation this year, her idea for BeyondAbilities loomed in her mind. However, it quickly began to unfold as she reflected on her experience in the disability studies program such as her lack of support as a student with a disability. The day after her convocation, she started building the website and moved forward with registering the business. “It was an idea that was tossing and turning in my head for years and I wanted to be able to commit
ILLUSTRATION: LAILA AMER
time to this,” she said. “Investing in people with disabilities takes a lot of time and energy.” The organization’s mission outlines how equity, diversity and inclusion play a part in its interactions with people with disabilities. “It is created based on the principles of equity, diversity and inclusion, which we work toward at BeyondAbilities on a daily basis to make a difference in the lives of people with disabilities,” said Alyass. “Our focus is on all these principles but especially on inclusion because we believe people with disabilities are people first and deserve to be included in all aspects of this society.” Although BeyondAbilities is not affiliated with Ryerson, Alyass still
continues to support the school community with specially-designed programs to help students with disabilities reach their full potential. “Ryerson did have tutoring and writing support that was offered virtually but there is so much more that can be done in terms of providing that service,” said Alyass. She said she booked numerous online writing support appointments through the Learning Support program at Ryerson, but they put strict time restraints on the appointments and didn’t make full use of the allotted time, often calling her or joining Zoom calls 15 minutes late. “The only explanation I would get is ‘that’s the way we work’. I didn’t get my full time or the support I
needed so I found that to be very stressful. I felt alone at times.” As Alyass pursues her masters in social justice education at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, she hopes people can see the “ability within the disability.” “I want to shift away from that narrative of struggle and sadness because there is so much that is enriching in being a person with disabilities. We have so much to contribute and so much to share. It’s just a matter of being given the opportunity,” she said. BeyondAbilities started a GoFundMe to support the access fund they’ve created to help students register for school programs they otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford. “To me, it’s beyond just numbers and it’s beyond telling me how much you need this. I want to know what kind of difference this program they’re registering for will make in their life.” Andrew Smith, co-president of Ryerson Best Buddies, an affiliate group that helps students with disabilities form friendships, said he hadn’t heard of an organization like BeyondAbilities until recently. Smith, who has White-Sutton syndrome, a form of autism, said he is interested in applying to the BeyondAbilities access fund to help him register for a program he likes. The criteria to apply, which can be found on BeyondAbilities’ website, requires applicants to have a limited income of less than $25,000 a year or receive social assistance to be able to apply for monetary support.
To vax, or not to vax While some students consider the vaccine a necessity for in-person learning, others say their vaccination status is none of Ryerson’s business Words by Rochelle Raveendran Visuals by Jes Mason
ustling papers, frantic pen scratching and anxious breathing formed the rhythm of a typical Ryerson midterm exam as Sofia Rodríguez-Garzon sat in a classroom in the George Vari Engineering building. It was March 2020, and their only malaise derived from a little test anxiety. The course was one of their favourites, a deep-dive into countercultural communications, but the professor was known to be a hard marker and they knew the midterm would not be easy. Rodríguez-Garzon, now a fourthyear professional communications student, finished up what would be their last in-person exam on campus and rode the 501 streetcar down Queen Street back to their Parkdale home, where they lived alone. They say they love the TTC; using public transit frequently was an exciting prospect for them when they moved to Toronto from Colombia as an international student in 2017. When they arrived home, Rodríguez-Garzon noticed they had a runny nose— something that barely fazed them considering the chilly spring weather. Over the next few days, however, their sniffles escalated into a painful nasal congestion. It was probably a sinus infection, they thought, but they definitely didn’t feel well enough to attend their lectures. They pulled out their laptop to email their photojournalism professor, excusing themself from class. Six days later, the Ford government announced a state of emergency in Ontario. By then, Rodríguez-Garzon had already lost their sense of taste and smell. “I was terrified because I was like, ‘I don’t know what’s happening. I fully have no idea,’” they recollect. “I didn’t know who to call.” Rodríguez-Garzon describes the following weeks as a “fever dream.” Alternating between their bed and their oatmeal-beige speckled sofa, the same questions ran through their
mind: Is this COVID-19? What are the symptoms of COVID-19? How do I know if it’s just a cold? In the midst of anxiety-driven Google searches, they found a self-assessment tool on the Government of Ontario’s website that confirmed their worst suspicions: they had contracted COVID-19. Reluctant to frighten their family living a continent away in Colombia, RodríguezGarzon kept their illness to themself, only telling one of their best friends. The following days were taxing and scary— they were so fatigued that walking around their apartment left them out of breath. At night, they’d wake up in a panic buried in the same cream-coloured sheets they use now, immediately rushing to check their breathing and temperature. An iteration of the same stressful routine continued for three weeks as they self-isolated. Today, over a year later, Rodríguez-Garzon lives with two roommates, one of whom is at high-risk for severe illness from COVID-19. Even though all three are fully vaccinated and carefully adhere to safety protocols, including doublemasking and sticking to a vaccinated social bubble, a heightened sense of
caution continues. Rodríguez-Garzon says, while they’re grateful to now be living with others, it can feel isolating to see people freely socializing with friends while they and their roommates remain cautious. “It’s summertime, so of course I want to be out. Of course I want to go on a road trip or have a picnic,” they say. But whenever they start to make such plans, several vital questions persist in their mind about who they can meet, where they can meet them and whether the location will be ventilated. This July, when Ryerson announced plans for a partial campus reopening in the fall 2021 term, Rodríguez-Garzon decided they wouldn’t return in-person, as they didn’t have any in-person classes and were unwilling to compromise their roommates’ and their own well-being. “I can’t check everyone’s vaccination status and of course I don’t know how people are behaving,” they say. “It’s out of my hands.” As Ontario post-secondary schools like Ryerson University reopen their doors this fall, vaccine hesitancy poses an ample obstacle to overcome in pursuit of normalcy for the new academic year. While some Ryerson students believe all individuals on campus must be vaccinated against COVID-19 to create a safe environment for students and staff alike, others remain indecisive on the vaccine and question the university’s authority to enforce an immunization mandate.
Ryerson’s COVID-19 vaccination policy, unveiled just two weeks before the start of the semester, requires all individuals coming to campus to be fully vaccinated or participate in rapid antigen testing. Under Ryerson’s COVID-19 vaccination policy, proof of vaccination or an exemption application must be submitted by Sept. 20 on the RyersonSafe app or desktop site. However, details about the uploading process are still forthcoming. Exemptions will be allowed for medical reasons or grounds covered by the Ontario Human Rights Code, including religious beliefs. Several post-secondary schools in Ontario have enacted similar campus COVID-19 vaccine requirements. Lower rates of young adults being vaccinated compared to the rest of the population strengthens the case for a mandate; only 62.6 per cent of people aged 18 to 29 in the province are fully vaccinated. As cases continue to climb, with the majority occuring amongst unvaccinated or partially vaccinated people, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Kieran Moore, says it’s anticipated young people will be hospitalized at higher rates in the fourth wave. Dr. Barry Pakes, director of the public health and preventive medicine residency program at the University of Toronto, says post-secondary schools could play a critically important role in promoting younger demographics to get vaccinated by creating a COVID-19 immunization
requirement. He says a “vaccine or virtual” option gives unvaccinated students an incentive to get vaccinated so they can return to in-person activities. “It’s always difficult to mandate things,” Pakes says. “But when you’re talking about something so safe and effective and really innocuous as the COVID vaccine, it’s hard to justify not making it as close to mandatory as possible.” Individuals who are vaccinated against COVID-19 are 50 times less likely to be admitted to an ICU than someone who isn’t vaccinated, according to a CBC report from August. Despite this significant degree of protection, vaccine hesitancy is not uncommon; an April 2021 study, conducted by the Journal of Medical Internet Research, found lack of knowledge about the vaccine and concerns about its safety both contribute to uncertainty toward getting the jab. Student dissent over COVID-19 vaccine mandates on Ontario campuses has already spurred legal action. Two students are preparing to sue Seneca College over its immunization requirement. But Jacob Shelley, an associate professor at Western University’s Faculty of Law and School of Health Studies and the director of the Health Ethics, Law and Policy Lab, says it’s unclear whether legal challenges made under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms will be successful. “The reality is there’s many risky activities on campuses and there’s many activities that are limited or curtailed,” Shelley says. “I think of smoking bans on campuses; they’re there to protect people from the deleterious effects of secondhand smoke.” A responsibility to protect others is exactly why Rodríguez-Garzon believes getting the COVID-19 vaccine cannot solely be framed as a personal choice. They say it’s better described as a personal choice with deeply public and social consequences. If one person were to get sick, they explain, it could spread throughout the Ryerson community, affecting students, staff and high-risk people in their respective social circles. “At a certain point it stops being about the personal and it starts being about the community…and the
AGREE TO DISAGREE safety of multiple people beyond the researched data on the Public Health comfort of a single individual,” says Ontario website, finding that mortalRodríguez-Garzon. ity from COVID-19 was lower for younger individuals and people withvery week, Jesse S.* gets in out underlying medical conditions. his blue Chevrolet Silverado Jesse was then reassured to resume and takes a ten-minute drive his visits to his grandmother in April, which became a weekly priority for him while Ontario was under lockdown and COVID-19 cases continued to climb in the first wave. “Especially [as] an 87-year-old woman being by yourself all the time, things do tend from his home in Toronto to visit to get lonely,” his 87-year-old grandmother. She he says. “Not lives alone in the same house she’s being able owned since the 1970s—well over the to see famentirety of Jesse’s life. It’s a regular ily would be feature in his childhood photos, her much worse yellow walls decorated with paintings than the acand artifacts from countries she’s tual threat the visited around the world. During his virus poses to visits, typically lasting a few hours, her.” they cook food together and catch up Today, on their week sitting on her porch or Jesse’s grandinside her home. In these moments of mother is fully togetherness, it’s not so much what v a c c i n a t e d Jesse and his grandmother do that against COmatters to him; it’s the time he spends VID-19, but Jesse is not; the visits with her that he cherishes the most. continue, however. When the COVID-19 pandemic Jesse stresses his vaccine hesitancy hit in full swing in March 2020, Jesse, in no way makes him an anti-vaxxer. now in his fourth-year studying mar- He says he’s received all his mandatory keting management, stopped visiting immunizations and has gotten the flu his grandmother as he and his family shot almost every year since he was a sought more information on the virus child. He also encouraged his grandand its impacts. mother to get the COVID-19 vacThis uncertainty, coupled with cine. Jesse’s initial concern was that his grandmother’s age, which places no vaccine had received full approval from the Food and Drug Administration. Although the Pfizer vaccine was approved in late August, he intends to wait a little longer to observe data from long-term trials on the vaccines before getting the shot. Currently, the Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines are all approved by Health Canada. In Toronto, six vaccines are mandatory for schoolaged children, covering diseases such as polio, measles and hepatitis her at high risk, made Jesse wary of B. Brenda McPhail, director of the in-person visits. Instead, he’d call his Privacy, Technology and Surveillance grandmother two or three times a program at the Canadian Civil Libweek and she would answer on her erties Association, explains the legal old-fashioned landline. However, authority for this mandate originates these calls soon proved insufficient— from Ontario provincial legislation his grandmother began to feel iso- passed in 1982, defining the diseases lated, lonely and in distress from the elementary and high school students sudden loss of contact with Jesse. must be vaccinated for and setting out Although a COVID-19 vaccine was exemptions under human rights laws. only a distant possibility at the time McPhail says no such legal authority and despite the significant potential currently exists “to ensure appropririsk to her health, she was persistent ate, consistent and rigorous safethat she continue to see her grand- guards” for post-secondary schools to son. As her requests continued, Jesse follow when imposing a COVID-19
vaccine mandate. Jesse thinks Ontario’s immunization requirements for school-aged children are unquestionably justified, but he says the severity of the illnesses covered by the provincial mandate is incomparable to the severity of COVID-19 for the “average” Ryerson student. “Take me, for example. I’m a very healthy individual. I exercise quite frequently. If I got polio, it’s almost guaranteed that I would die, but if I got COVID, there’s [a greater] chance that I’m going to survive.” Due to his health and age, at 20 years old, Jesse says he has little concern about getting COVID-19, despite the elevated risk to unvaccinated individuals and an increase in younger unvaccinated Canadians being hospitalized with severe complications from the virus. When Jesse has been sick in the past, it’s typically over in three days, he recalls. He also personally knows people his age of similar health whose COVID-19 symptoms didn’t exceed that of a typical flu. E Jesse believes a campus vaccine mandate would be inappropriate and sets a strange precedent. “I don’t think people’s medical history should be publicly asked by our institutions and school systems, especially universities,” he says. “If Ryerson started asking people ‘Can you provide a clean STD test?’ or you can’t enter campus, I think [that would be] a little bit strange.” McPhail says when collecting proof of vaccination, the privacy interest must be balanced with the necessity and proportionality of the public health goal in question. The process of this balancing should be transparent. She explains the way information is shared, including how vaccination proof is collected and stored, who has access to it and how long it is stored for, should have appropriate limits and safeguards. Dr. Pakes says both public health motivations in promoting vaccines and legal concerns about individual liberties are understandable. “It’s just a matter of where we are as a society and where we want to be and what small degree of privacy we’re willing to give up for a return to somewhere closer to normalcy,” he says. Jesse’s third year at Ryerson dwindled away within the four walls of his bedroom. It was daunting for him, sitting at his desk every day completing a full course load with unchanging scenery and limited interaction with others. “It’s quite depressing in a sense because you’re just sitting at home all the time,” he says. To combat this isolation, Jesse frequently visited his friends in backyards throughout the year, with the encouragement
7 of his parents. “They were like: ‘Okay, you’re a 20-year-old kid. You can’t just stop living your life because of a virus,’” he recalls. Jesse knows that statement is controversial, but he says for many young adults in the prime of their lives, 2020 was a lost year. His fall semester will also be entirely virtual, but he hasn’t decided whether he will submit an application for an exemption to Ryerson’s vaccine mandate, though he would enjoy meeting old friends on campus and using the Sheldon and Tracy Levy Student Learning Centre again. Jesse suggests Ryerson should have sought greater input on their COVID-19 policies, perhaps through a poll; he says there are many people like him who are not anti-vaxx but are waiting for more data on the COVID-19 vaccine before getting immunized. “I don’t try to push [that] you shouldn’t get the vaccine. I also don’t push [that] you should get the vaccine because I think it’s people’s personal choice,” he says. “Whatever they feel necessary to do to protect themselves, I support wholeheartedly.”
when it’s actually a huge privilege to take getting vaccinated against COVID as a given. In the wake of Ryerson’s vac-
cine mandate, Rodríguez-Garzon feels more confident in returning to the campus for which they moved countries to attend, with plans to go to an in-person lecture this semester, added to their schedule just last month. They see being vaccinated against COVID-19 as a necessary precaution to participate safely in student life. “If you want to drive, you need a driver’s license. If you want to go to campus during a global pandemic, you should be vaccinated against it so that you can prevent people from getting sick,” they say. As Rodríguez-Garzon feels reassured to return to campus, this may also spell a modified return to the experiences that once formed their pre-pandemic life at Ryerson. They miss their close friendships with students in their program, stealing each other’s food and chatting about music and life in their program lounge. They want to use in-person student support services like the International Student Centre and rent out valuable recording equipment for their coursework, both of which they couldn’t access this past academic year despite paying an inflated international tuition fee. Even just riding the streetcar or subway to Ryerson and around the city is an experience RodríguezGarzon misses and truly loves. “There’s a certain charm to the city that we don’t get to experience because of COVID,” they say. “Being able to go to campus [will] allow us to have a semblance of that again.” For Rodríguez-Garzon, vaccines are the simple key needed in order to put that semblance within their grasp.
t’s been over a year since Rodríguez-Garzon last saw their family. Despite regular FaceTime calls with their loved ones, their wistfulness for home hasn’t subdued. They reminisce about visiting their parents in Bogotá and Firavitoba, hugging them and petting their cat. Memories of homemade food are wrapped up in nostalgia and longing, particularly one grandmother’s ajiaco, a traditional soup and the other’s empanadas and tamales. Despite missing home, ever-changing COVID-19 travel policies and concerns about potentially exposing their family to the virus have kept them in Toronto. “It’s been difficult but I would like to think that I also stayed for something,” they say. Rodríguez-Garzon feels baffled by COVID-19 vaccine refusal amongst those without a medical exemption, especially considering half their family members in Colombia, including their grandparents, don’t have access to a vaccine yet. “Canada has allowed people to get *Last name has been changed to protect vaccines easily, readily and for free,” source’s privacy and security they say. “It’s ridiculous people here are just being stubborn and declining,
THE G SPOT
PCs might be the future for Ryerson student gamers By Jack Wannan Olivia Mule didn’t want to just go out and buy a PC. Like many who want to get into PC gaming, she wanted to build her own custom setup. So with the advice from some friends, a video tutorial and all parts delivered to her house, it was a success. Almost. After getting past some troubles downloading Microsoft, the PC sounded weird. With hardly anything running, it was huffing and puffing like it was being pushed to its limit. It took Mule, a masters of digital media candidate at Ryerson, a quick Google search to find out she had the wrong fan for her computer. “I found some obscure forum that’s like ‘You need a four-pin fan to control your fan speed,’” said Mule, who in retrospect considered the building experience a “victory.” Gamers are a passionate group. It’s been known for ages that they love to debate about which gaming platform is superior. It used to be Microsoft’s Xbox versus Sony’s PlayStation—two gaming consoles with iterations so comparable they’re hard to tell apart. Nintendo products would always tag along in the debate, their approach innovative and outsideof-the-box compared to its other two competitors. PC gaming has existed that entire time. Its impact hasn’t been part of the console wars for long, but its popularity has definitely skyrocketed during the pandemic. Ryerson’s “video game professor” Kristopher Alexander, who teaches video game production at the uni-
ILLUSTRATION: LAILA AMER
versity, said he feels that there’s never been an easier and more enjoyable time to play on PC. “I can watch this 13-minute video and learn how to build a PC,” said Alexander, sharing a video from YouTube channel “Zach’s Tech Turf.” He also shared the interactive website PCPartPicker, which allows people to build a computer that falls in line with their needs and budget.
“Streaming looked like a really cool way to connect with people who had the same interests” Interest in PC gaming increased recently along with the rise of livestreaming. The new genre of entertainment has been described as one “in the midst of a genuine revolution.” Live streaming platforms like Twitch have been growing massive-
ly. Streamlabs saw a combined 6.33 billion hours watched on its website in the second quarter of 2021, another all-time high after two previous quarters each set a new record. “[Streaming] looked like a really cool way to connect with people who had the same interests,” said Mule, who started streaming in March 2020 and has become a partner of the website since. In 2020, five of the top 10 most watched game categories on Twitch were exclusive PC titles, per statistics site SullyGnome. Others like Fortnite, Grand Theft Auto V and Minecraft are offered on console but are most often streamed on PC. Third-year business management student Erik Mazilu said he got into PC games Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and H1Z1 after watching Twitch streamers. Watching prolific streamers Summit1g and Dr DisRespect playing these games gives Mazilu the
itch to try them out himself. For some students, having a gaming PC might be a blessing and a curse—especially during the pandemic, where most schoolwork is done at home. Some students feel it is more convenient than anything to have a system that can handle gaming one second, and Desire2Learn assignments the next. “I can just work on something and then decide to play, and like barely move,” said Mazilu. Others might need that separation to be more productive. After all, when the freedom of thousands of games is just a few clicks away, why do that assignment now? Third-year new media student Francis Humarang said that he hasneeded that separation in the past. He uses a separate laptop for schoolwork to stay focused. “When using my desktop I found myself [getting] distracted too easily,” he said.
Many feel PC gaming is on the rise, but the reports of console gaming’s death may be greatly exaggerated. Gaming in general has seen a sharp increase since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, with consoles taking in a large share of that revenue. Nintendo’s Switch gaming device crushed previous sale records in its fifth year on the market, recording 2.8 million sales within a year (the company had moved 2.1 million copies in the previous year). Sony has continued to struggle with their PlayStation 5 rollout, as demand has overwhelmed their lack of supply since launching the product in November 2020.
“There’s never been an easier and more enjoyable time to play on PC” Many of the top video games remain console-exclusive or cater heavily towards console fanbases. This includes annually-released sports titles, the majority of Nintendo games and the popular first-person shooter franchise Call of Duty. Whether PC gaming will trump console gaming in the next 10 years is hard to conclude. But if there’s one thing for certain, it’s that none of the platforms are going anywhere. This isn’t some sign to sell everything you own and jump ship to PC gaming. For generations to come, the debate of which platform is the best will only continue—but it might just have another player to factor in.
Ryerson E-Sports Club: The local hub for Rye gamers By Charlize Alcaraz Online gaming has been the social lifeline for many during the pandemic. Without the ability to socialize in -person, instant messaging platforms such as Discord became the new hangout spot. Ryerson E-Sports Club is the place for new and current Ryerson community members to talk, share hobbies and make connections through the community’s common interest in gaming. Combining friendly gaming competitions and casual forums, the Discord server gives its over 1,000 members the opportunity to choose the channels they’d like to join. A channel is dedicated to a specific topic or activity within a server. In text channels, users can send typed messages, links and images. Voice channels are for the members who want to talk to other people in real time through voice or video calls.
With over 40 channels as of September 2021, the server—initially created as a gaming hub—turned into the university’s largest online social club. “Because Ryerson is a commuter school, we don’t have a lot of time to hang out after classes or interact with other students from different faculties,” said Brian Schubert, a second-year fashion student and event coordinator at the E-Sports club. “So having something like the E-Sports club brings the community together a lot.” Schubert joined the club around two years ago when a friend invited him to the club’s karaoke night, one of many “IRL” events the staff members used to host. Last year, the E-Sports club collaborated with Ryerson’s Anime and K-Pop clubs, the Association of Ryerson Roleplayers and Gamers as well as RU Cosplay for an exhibition at Oakham Lounge featuring
different games and raffle prizes. “When things open up, we’ll have a slew of karaoke nights, bar nights, social nights—opportunities for people to communicate [in-person] with each other,” said Judah Ellis, a thirdyear computer science student and president of the E-Sports club. Although its staff members are looking forward to hosting more IRL events, they are still catering to those who’re stuck at home. As the fall semester begins, the E-Sports club is hosting its online orientation this weekend with cash prizes and a giveaway for HyperX gaming headsets. New and current members should also look out for upcoming workshops and gaming competitions by joining the Discord server. According to Schubert, “you don’t have to play competitively in order to be part of the club...you can just be a part of [our] community.”
ILLUSTRATION: CHARLIZE ALCARAZ
BIZ & TECH
Hit me with your COVID-19 shot (for the third time) By Jessica Mazze While many may be fully or partially vaccinated, the Ontario government announced last week that high-risk individuals would be eligible to receive a third vaccine dose. According to Global News, Ontario is the first province in Canada to approve booster shots. In the wake of rising case numbers and the new Delta variant, researchers have found that a third dose could improve vaccine efficacy among immunocompromised people. Ryerson University will be requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination for students and staff looking to visit campus this semester, as previously reported by The Eye. “The number one priority at the moment is to get everybody up to date with the two shots,” said Dr. Timothy Sly, professor emeritus at Ryerson’s School of Occupational and long-term care residents and First Public Health. Nations elder-care lodge residents. Yet there are still so many questions, concerns and lots of anxiety “There’s nothing around vaccine efficacy. With so wrong with hesitating much misinformation online, it can be hard to determine what’s real and when it comes to what’s false. your health” A report on the Government of Canada website shows the vaccine Sly is an epidemiologist with a efficacy of mRNA and AstraZeneca background in public health, commu- vaccines among immunocompronicable and foodborne diseases. Ac- mised people. cording to him, the Ontario governWhile adverse symptoms felt ment’s main focus at the moment is to by immune suppressed and nonensure everyone is vaccinated in order compromised individuals were to prevent the spread of COVID-19. reportedly the same, studies have “If we vaccinate people, we’re shown there is a slight decrease in less likely to pass it off,” said Sly. immune responses. “Immunocompromised people, even According to the report, “Study if they weren’t vaccinated at all, participants showed diminished or they’re still going to benefit by hav- delayed immune responses to mRNA ing the vast majority of the popula- or AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines. tion properly vaccinated.” The type of immunosuppressive The government outlines that im- therapy or condition affected the immunocompromised individuals in- mune response to COVID-19 vacclude transplant recipients, cancer cines, leading to a lack of humoral and patients undergoing chemotherapy, cellular responses.”
ILLUSTRATION: LAILA AMER
The report also states that because there’s a small number of participants, there are limitations in interpreting the data. This doesn’t mean the vaccine is ineffective within these specific populations, as further research requires a better understanding of the data. “There’s nothing wrong with being thoughtful and hesitating [when] it comes to dealing with your health,” said Sly. He encourages individuals to regard their health and find sensible sources when it comes to vaccine research. “It would be in my interest to take mRNA vaccine rather than a viral vector vaccine. In other words, Pfizer or Moderna would be preferable instead of AstraZeneca.” As reported by CBC, Canada suspended the use of AstraZeneca for people under the age of 55 after an investigation found 25 cases of rare blood clots. As for what this means for Ryerson students, those who are immunocompromised may receive a third booster of an mRNA if they fit
the criteria. This could ensure better safety on-campus as Ryerson begins to test a hybrid approach to learning this fall semester. After a year and a half of lockdowns and virtual learning, students are excited to find some semblance of normal and return to campus for limited activities. “All my classes are online, but I’d love to participate in any events that are on campus,” said Guled Addin, a first-year business technology management student.
“The sooner we can get everything in order, the sooner we can all be back on campus” “I definitely think it’s a good idea to allow students who are a bit compromised to integrate better during the pandemic,” Addin said, when asked about booster shots.
Libin Addin, a first-year civil engineering student, said booster shots are beneficial for everyone planning to visit Ryerson. “The sooner we can get everything in order, the sooner we can all be back on campus, and everything can go back to an idea of normal,” she says. The two are commuting from Etobicoke, and are looking forward to starting their programs at Ryerson. While their classes are online, they hope that cases will be low enough so they can participate in campus life with safety protocols still in place. In the hope for a winter semester back on campus, Sly recommended that students follow all safety protocols when entering campus, even with vaccinations and potential booster shots. “We won’t see the numbers going up anywhere near as much as the third wave,” said Sly. “If we can put this thing down this fall, then we’ll be almost back to normal in January.”
EyeWork: As a fashion designer for an artist collective By Charlize Alcaraz
PHOTO: SERENA LI
It all started with a simple idea to create a black tote bag with extra pockets. As a third-year fashion student, Serena Li thought that she could experiment with the classic canvas tote bag to suit her personal style. “A lot of people are wearing white tote bags, but I was like, ‘What if I make it black and then add some pockets to it?’” said Li. “But then after I made the bag, I [wanted] to sell it.” Tote bags are not the only items being sold by Not Applicable (N/ A)—the brand Li started with her friends in the fashion program. As an artist collective, they sell posters, stickers, clothes and other garments.
Li is N/A’s fashion designer, photographer, founder and creative director. The brand name comes from her team’s varied skills in multiple art mediums; therefore, one specialization or product type is “not applicable.” N/A released its first collection in November 2020, consisting of one tote bag design with a couple of stickers and prints. “It was a really small collection just because it was the beginning of N/A,” said Li. “We were also experimenting with our image and the aesthetic we were going for.” Their second collection, released this August, was a lot bigger with two different tote bags, two vests and one
bucket hat, all in different colourways. Having to separate being a fashion student and a working designer has its own obstacles according to Li. With different margins for creativity, Li said both occupations challenge her as an artist. “When you’re doing a school project, you want to go all out on your creativity and create a garment that’s super beautiful but realistically, not wearable,” said Li. “With N/A, we have to design something that is wearable and sellable.” “It’s not really toning down your creativity, [you] just have to understand who you’re trying to sell the products to.”
ARTS & CULTURE
From Taiwan to Toronto: Devin Yuwono on finding success during a pandemic By Anastasia Blosser When third-year Ryerson film student Devin Yuwono received an invitation to participate in Twist Gallery’s Life Through a Lens exhibit, he ignored it. The Instagram message seemed too good to be anything other than spam. Eventually curiosity got the better of him and he responded. Soon, Yuwono was communicating with staff to set a time to bring in his work and by August, he had eight of his cityscapes hanging sideby-side on the walls of the Queen Street West gallery. “They said they wanted to give me the opportunity to showcase my art,” said Yuwono. “Having my work showcased in a gallery in a foreign country, it’s
overwhelming and cool.” Born in Taiwan and raised in Indonesia, the international student expected to pack up his frames when the exhibition wrapped up on Aug. 31. However, when Yuwono arrived, staff explained there was a suprise waiting for him. In the four weeks since the exhibit opened, he had sold half of his photos.
“Slowly making my name here, that’s what I want to do” “It might not be a big deal for others, but for me personally, coming from Indonesia and then being able to sell my [pieces]...my work is going to be at someone’s home,” he said.
Third-year Ryerson film student Devin Yuwono.
Surabaya, Indonesia is where Yuwono’s life changed. In 2018, he won first place at a short film competition with the directorial success of A Chocolate for My Sister, a five minute short that follows the relationship between two orphaned siblings, one of which has cancer. Yuwono suddenly saw film and photography as a viable career opportunity. In 2019, he enrolled in Ryerson’s film studies program. “I was looking at universities all across the world,” said Yuwono. “Ryerson stood out the most. It’s fresh, it’s right downtown, where all the crowds are. That’s what you want for your art and media.” According to Yuwono, Ryerson was everything he needed in a creative environment and the exposure he craved. Glancing at his portfolio, one thing is evident; the photographer has range. From editorial portraits to dreamlike scenery, sleek automobiles and cozy cuisine, there doesn’t seem to be any subject that eludes Yuwono’s shutter. As an international student displaced from his dorm, Yuwono feels the pressure of creating while paying rent. Between classwork, fulltime jobs and COVID-19 burnout, there isn’t much time left for artists to focus on expanding their skill set. Yuwono even went so far as to quit a job out of fear that it was killing his creativity and squandering his time in Canada. Left physically and mentally drained, it was an uphill battle to reignite the spark that drew him to film studies three years ago. At Ryerson, he is surrounded by friends who share artistic styles and help each other find opportunities. He says that the creative commu-
PHOTOS BY DEVIN YUWONO
nity is a core part of his education. “It’s important to have the right circle of friends and content creators surrounding you. They support you and when they do good stuff, you feel pushed to do the good stuff as well. It sparked me to try to find my own style again,” said Yuwono.
rapher to create promotional material for their project, A Night Out. The concept was simple: a group of photographers compiled a collection of fashion photographs into marketable photobooks and sent the proceeds to frontline workers. Tattooed across his forearm is a script quote on the preciousness of time, a reminder of what motivates him to work hard. “Ryerson stood out the “Everybody is given the same most. It’s fresh...that’s amount of time in their life,” Yuwono said. what you want for your “What we do during that time, it’s art and media” all up to us. Slowly making my name here, that’s what I want to do.” Back in the winter of 2020, YuA feature in a downtown gallery wono was recruited by a solo photog- marks the first step.
Readings that mattter: Five impactful books from Ryerson courses By Maria Couto For incoming first-years, the requirement to enrol in specific courses includes the commitment to follow through with all of the required readings—a commitment that can truly make or break a class. As a fourth-year english student, I’ve been required to read a hefty pile of books over the years. However, only a few have truly stuck with me, even after the course was over. These top five works are not only entertaining and important reads, but made the classes that assigned them seem inviting, inclusive and radical. Fierce Femmes and Notorious Liars: A Dangerous Trans Girl’s Confabulous Memoir by Kai Cheng Thom This fantastical and surrealist novel
chronicles the life of an unnamed trans woman and the other femmes she meets along the way. While many trans memoirs have been written about the nitty gritty details of transition, Thom subverts this notion through an unreliable narrator who only reveals as much (or as little) as she wants her readers to know. — Featured in ENG 941 (Gender and Sex in Literature and Culture)
— Featured in ENG 417 (Special Topics in American Literatures) Ragged Company by Richard Wagamese
This novel presents the lives and friendship of four people experiencing homelessness as they go from navigating life unhoused to living a life of luxury upon finding a winning lottery ticket and splitting the cash. This novel depicts the raw mistreatment and dehumanization Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison of the homeless community and gives insight into the events which The story follows an unnamed led up to their situations. lonialism and discrimination that Black narrator in the 1950s, mov- — Featured in ENG 701 (Canadian Lit- Caliban faces in the original story. ing from present to past to reveal eratures) In this version, justice is served and how and why he ends up underthe characters get the endings they ground. This novel depicts not Prospero’s Daughter by Elizabeth actually deserved. only the implicit racism the nar- Nunez — Featured in ENG 110 (Literatures rator faces, but unravels the sense Across Borders) of “invisibility” he experiences as As an adaptation of Shakespeare’s a Black man in a predominantly The Tempest, this novel assists in Sex and Disability edited by Robert white society. dismantling the experiences of co- McRuer and Anna Mollow
PHOTO: KHALED BADAWI
This book pieces together essays by disabled authors who share their experiences with systemic ableism, racism and homophobia. This is a devastating compilation of what’s taken from people when disabilities are associated with infantilism and undesirability. — Featured in DST 605 (Sexuality, Desire and Disability)
Rams men’s soccer program aiming for championship in return to pitch By Armen Zargarian The last time the Rams men's soccer team played a game was nearly 700 days ago on Oct. 27, 2019 in the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) quarter-final. On Sept. 25, the team will make its return to the pitch at the Varsity Centre for a matchup against the University of Toronto Varsity Blues. The Rams will play their first home game one week later at Downsview Park, also against the Varsity Blues. There'll be new faces in familiar places for the program and a season full of challenges, like managing a tough schedule. However, as head coach Filip Prostran says, “top teams don’t rebuild, they reload.” Back together OUA teams were permitted to practice throughout the summer, allowing the Rams to come together for eight weeks of training before the fall semester. Preseason training for the Rams is led by Prostran, who’s a recent graduate of the master of business administration program at Ryerson’s Ted Rogers School of Management. He’s preparing for his sixth season with the team. Change and unfamiliarity is inevitable this season. The oldest veteran on the roster, Andrew Barrett, also points to the lack of injury rehabilitation and fitness regiments that took place during last year. “All the guys that needed help, now they’re having to catch up,” said Barrett, who is unlikely to play at the beginning of the season due to a knee injury. Barrett expects the OUA and Ryerson to make the season feel as
PHOTO: CHRISTIAN BENDER
another class.” The addition of new players means the inevitable departure of key contributors for the Rams including veterans and former allstars such as Ali Ghazanfari, Andrew Dias, Nathaniel Tambakis and Alexander Meczarski. All four of those players played in the back-five (defenders or goalkeepers), which Prostran stressed is the backbone of the team.
“It’s almost an escape for staff and the players just to feel like how things used to be” normal as possible and Prostran emphasized some normalcy has already returned during training camp. “It’s almost an escape for staff and the players just to feel like how things used to be,” said Prostran.
“Top teams don’t rebuild, they reload” Although the season is just around the corner and the team is together again, third-year midfielder Christopher Castillo is well aware of the changes the Rams are dealing with. “It definitely feels different this time around, being in a new conference, having new opponents and a tighter schedule,” said Castillo. Schedule New opponents for the Rams this year will include the Algoma University Thunderbirds and the McMaster University Marauders. Unlike previous seasons the
Rams schedule is exclusively backto-backs against the same teams. Eight out of their 10 regular season matches are also separated by three days or less. Prostran pointed out that it’s a difficult feat to play the same team twice and potentially even three times, if they meet again in the playoffs. “The first time you can catch them by surprise. By the second and third time, teams know each other so well it’s really difficult to tinker and get that edge.” Beyond game planning for opponents, Prostran also believes it's important to have a deep roster due to injuries and fatigue. “With back-to-back games, to think you’re going to play the same 11 the next day, it just isn’t realistic.”
this year in goalkeepers Eduard Ambrus and Dante Ferraro, leftback and winger Justin Santos and defenders Thomas Maccarone and Alessandro Fargione.
“Do you stick with your system no matter what, or adapt to the players you have?”
Prostran is excited by what he’s seen from the new players. “In my interactions with them already they’re just great kids, hard workers [and] know what being part of a championship team is like,” he said. Due to the cancellation of last season, the roster has undergone an approximately 50 per cent turnover Recruits this season, according to Prostran. Depth will be a strong suit for the “It’s almost like a double class,” Rams and should help them combat said Prostran. “Last year we recruitthe challenging schedule. ed [and] didn’t have a season, those The team added five new recruits players stayed and then we recruited
Expectations A condensed schedule coupled with last year’s cancelled season will cause unique circumstances for players and the Rams coaching staff. “Some guys haven’t played 11v11 soccer in a whole year. First we have to be cognizant of the physical load,” said Prostran. The coaching staff is focusing on recreating game environments. Prostran said it’s crucial to get the athletes’ bodies and minds adjusted to game-speed. In addition, the high turnover rate makes for tactical adjustments. “This is always the philosophical part of coaching, do you stick with your system no matter what, or adapt to the players you have? There’s a bit of compromise on both ends,” said Prostran. The challenges will be there, but Prostran, Barrett and Castillo all agree that Ryerson men’s soccer is where it should be—competing for a national championship.
Rams home games to circle on your calendar By Jack MacCool
these programs. They’ve played matchups. This will be a pivotal to a draw in four of their last six game as the team approaches the After a grueling layoff, the Ontario games, with the sixth being decid- halfway mark of their season. University Athletics (OUA) confer- ed by penalty kicks. ence announced this summer that Women’s hockey: Jan. 21, 2022 vs plans were being put in place for Men’s hockey: Nov. 25, 2021 vs U York Lions all sports to return to play this sea- of T Varsity Blues York is a team who the Rams have son. Now that schedules have been In their last matchup, the Rams struggled against, dropping four released and practices are in full- snapped U of T’s 14-game winning of their last five against the Lions. swing, these are the Rams home streak in an overtime thriller. Re- However, the most recent game was games to look out for this season. turning defenceman Zachary Shan- an overtime victory on home ice. kar came through with two goals Ryerson has never beaten York in Men’s soccer: Oct. 2, 2021 vs U of to hoist Ryerson to an epic victory. consecutive meetings, but could do T Varsity Blues These two teams are dead even in so with a win on Jan. 21. The Rams have thrived against U of their last ten games, each grabbing T in recent matchups, going unbeat- five wins. This will be the team’s last Women’s volleyball: Jan. 28, en in eight straight games before home game before the winter break 2022 vs RMC Paladins losing to them 3-1 on Oct. 27, 2019. and earning a win could prove to be The women’s volleyball program This will be the first men’s soccer a huge boost of momentum. is currently riding a sixteen-game game Ryerson has hosted since the winning streak against the Royal pandemic began. Women’s basketball: Dec. 4, 2021 Military College Paladins, having vs Queen's Gaels only dropped one set in their last ten Women’s soccer: Oct. 10, 2021 vs- The all-time series between the matchups against them. They play Nipissing Lakers Gaels and the Rams stands at 19 to RMC on back-to-back days, which This one is sure to be a close con- 17 for Ryerson, with each school could boost their record heading test given the history between grabbing five wins in their last 10 into the playoffs.
ILLUSTRATION: LAILA AMER
Men’s basketball: Feb. 4, 2022 vs Carleton Ravens The Carleton Ravens are the best program in U SPORTS men’s basketball history, winning 15 of the last 18 national championships. The Rams are 5-30 all-time against the Ravens and have not beaten them since 2019. They dropped their last contest to Carleton 82-88, but the Rams always give the Ravens a run for their money.
Men’s volleyball: Feb. 19, 2022 vs U of T Varsity Blues Another big matchup against the crosstown rivals. The Rams are currently on a three-game losing streak against the Varsity Blues, however their record stands at 5-5 in their last ten against U of T. This will be the men’s volleyball team’s last game of the regular season. A win in this contest could give the team momentum for a playoff run.
SHOTS & STARS
Balzac’s creating a new COVID-19 vaccine-infused menu By Justina Kewal
ILLUSTRATION: LAILA AMER
With universities reopening and vaccine hesitancy still pervasive, Balzac’s Coffee Roasters announced a new COVID-19 vaccine-infused menu on Monday for its Ryerson campus location, created in partnership with Public Health Ontario (PHO). The initiative, titled For Making Refreshing and Natural Aroma (4MRNA), intends to boost vaccination rates among young adults and avoid yet another lockdown, according to a joint press release from Balzac’s and PHO. The menu incorporates “the lush taste of 100% Arabica bean coffee with deliciously fundamental COVID-19 antibodies,” said PHO spokesperson Phil Fryzer. One featured item is the Protein Packed Espresso (PPE.) A bitter coffee spiked with banana-flavoured protein powder, PPE was designed to help weightlifting students at the Mattamy Athletic Centre bulk up both their deltoids and their immune system, all in one drink. “Honestly, I couldn’t care less if the vaccines make me magnetic because after trying these espresso shots, I feel like Iron Man,” said secondyear english student Angela Fields, before crushing her glass espresso cup unflinchingly in her bare hands and throwing out her Bath & Body Works hand sanitizer.
“Everyone in my residence has been drinking this. It’s definitely been one of the better contagious outbreaks at Pitman Hall,” said third-year RTA student Johnson Johnson. “If immunity is what I need to not catch COVID-19, I’d say it’s worth the shot.”
“If immunity is what I need to not catch COVID-19, I’d say it’s worth the shot” Balzac also launched their most popular item yet, the Astra-Americana latte, infused with a generous amount of micronutrients and topped
with a thick layer of creamy foam. These groundbreaking coffeevaccine fusions were developed by Ontario laborataory scientists who converted the vaccines into an edible simple syrup. The syrup contains a special flavouring powder which acts as a master blueprint, instructing cells in the body to defeat COVID-19 viral particles. “Combining our revolutionary syrup with caffeine stimulates the memory T-cells that guard against COVID-19 at an equal, if not slightly higher rate than normal vaccines,” said lead lab researcher Dr. Raymond Wiseman. “Plus, I’m sure everyone will be happy to know the syrup contains absolutely zero microchips. You can even order it on
your personal tracking device—I mean, your smartphone.” Vaccine coffees may also be particularly benefical for student life. A study published in the Journal of Apocalyptic Medicine found steamed milk mixed with the mRNA combination in the Astra-Americana latte creates an extraordinary immune defense to eye soreness and fullbody fatigue caused by the past year of virtual learning. In a press conference on Monday, premier Doug Ford said the vaccine menu comes in especially handy as new modelling data shows Ontario could be staring down the barrel of fourth wave. “These drinks are our one solution because I, like many Ontarians, love marketing gim-
micks and don’t want to be subjected to the confusing messaging of lockdown, shutdown, and stay-athome-order all over again. ” Although 4MRNA reported administering 300 COVID-19 vaccine doses already, this hasn’t stopped anti-vaxxers from protesting in front of the Balzac’s on Gould Street. Tyrell Willis, a third year psychology student and president of campus anti-vax group Hugs over Masks said: “I’ve gotten COVID-19 many, many, many times, and I know for a fact I have more natural immunity than any of these bogus drinks could offer.”
“I’m just glad I won’t have to keep on our AC anymore” Despite some student discontent, Ryerson president Mohamed Lachemi released a statement on Tuesday praising the “high rates of infectious enthusiasm” for the 4MRNA initiative. “I’m just glad I won’t have to keep on our pricey AC anymore to try to blow away the Delta variant,” Lachemi added. This article is a satirical work of fiction. Please keep its falsity in mind before sharing with your Facebook friends, Facebook foes, favourite member of provincial parliament, etc.
Your horoscope for the new academic year By Sakina Chaudary As the fall semester is upon us, look to the stars to see what you can expect for this upcoming academic year. Aries You’ve been waiting to get started for a while and you’re ready to go! You know exactly what clubs you want to join; you’ve followed all their IG accounts, joined the Facebook groups and filled out countless Google Forms. But be prepared to go on a furious unfollowing and unsubscribing spree within two weeks.
ing about summer. You don’t go to school to learn; you go for the people, but let’s hope your GPA doesn’t reflect that this semester.What can you say, you’re the life of the party! Those soulless Zoom and Netflix parties are just not cutting it and you’re excited to finally hit up the dance floor in-person.
Cancer You’re feeling super overwhelmed about this year. You’ve avoided thinking about school for the past few weeks, instead mindlessly re-watching The Office for the eighth time, but now you must face it head on. Your Taurus tight-knit group of friends is ready to You’re super prepared, if not over- go. With your bullet journal in hand, prepared, to get back to work. Your don’t worry. You’ll be totally fine. backpack is stuffed with weirdly specific and useless school supplies Leo from Indigo you’ll never use. You You’re always a stand-out networkreally don’t need 10 Muji notebooks ing star and there’s no sign of it stopfor one semester. Is this the year you ping anytime soon. Your confidence finally develop a work-life balance? will take you far, but don’t get ahead Who knows. But make sure you pack of yourself. Remember that time some sunscreen for that almost inevi- you tried to fake a British accent for table burnout. a full semester but got caught two weeks in? You can do better than Gemini that. Try watching some YouTube You might as well be an extra in the videos beforehand and test out a opening scene of High School Musi- new accent for each course. A little cal 2 because you’re always dream- practice never hurts.
ILLUSTRATION: SKYLER ASH
Virgo It’s your only time to shine. Libra Over the summer, you ditched your toxic friends (and maybe a toxic ex too), and are ready for a fresh start. You perform best in peaceful, balanced settings so you’ve spent too much time scouring Yelp and Instagram to find the cutest cafe with exorbitantly expensive coffee. Will you actually get any work done? That’s unclear. Scorpio You need change this year. Why not learn the fundamentals of clowning in a Chang School of Continuing
Education course? This is very real.
dream grad school or starting a company, the only question that Sagittarius plagues your mind is: Are you good You spent the summer revamping enough? Have you earned it? Have your wardrobe and are ready to rule you? Think about it... the school in style. You wear what you want, not really caring about Aquarius current trends and are ready to You’re always ready for adventure flaunt your personal style. This year, and this year will be no different. however, you’d never be caught in You’ve probably just moved, got a Y2K fits, even though you’ve been new job, got a new identity or startobsessed with 10 Things I Hate About ed a new major. With your wild You since you were a preteen. schedule, maybe re-consider taking a meandering walk through campus Capricorn for the third time today. You’ve already updated this year’s brand new planner and filled it Pisces with all your deadlines from D2L. The semester started already? You Whether it’s getting into your just noticed.