Produced by the Ryerson School of Journalism Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Volume 68, Number 11
@theryersonian / www.ryersonian.ca
Surge in spending hits SCC cash flow
Red, Red Win
Severe overspending has rendered Ryerson’s mecca of costsaving student services fiscally frail and tight on cash. Not only is the Student Campus Centre (SCC) dealing with a $63,154 operating deficit in this year’s budget, but it also started the 2013 fiscal year with less than $13,000 in operating cash — a gargantuan decrease from the $929,735 it had the previous year. The Ryersonian obtained audited statements from the Palin Foundation, the not-forprofit entity that runs the SCC, which indicate the building had $372,939 in cash at the start of 2013 fiscal year. But an accompanying report from SCC general manager Michael Verticchio called the figure “deceiving.” The Palin Foundation allocated $360,013 in restricted contributions from the available cash to recipients like the Ombudsperson’s Office, an independently run office in Oakham House. That leaves the foundation with $12,939 overall, a situation the report calls “unacceptable.”
“At the moment, I am unclear on how much cash we can expect to save by the end of the year considering we are six months into the fiscal year,” Verticchio wrote. The drop in cash from 2012 to 2013, the report states, is “caused by the (operating) deficit, a dramatic increase in accounts receivable, a dramatic decrease in accrued liabilities, and higher than expected spending on capital purchases.” Capital purchases are investments in long-term assets, such as infrastructure upgrades. While the audited statements contain information on fluctuations in accounts receivable — money an organization doesn’t yet hold but expects to receive from clients — and accrued liabilities, — an incurred expense that hasn’t been paid — specific details on which capital purchases and projects begged for more cash are unclear in the statements. The Ryersonian approached Janice Winton, a Ryerson representative on the SCC’s board of directors, for details on the boardapproved capital expenditures, but she directed requests for comment to the Ryerson Students’ Union’s (RSU) vice-president operations, Ifaz Iqbal. Please see SCC, page 3
to Ryerson because it helped him start constructive conversations with his colleagues. “If there was someone who was asking a lot of questions, I can
to start referring to them with a different pronoun, or updating employee records, tax forms and email addresses with their new name.
By Diana Hall and Mohamed Omar Ryersonian Staff
Michael Duncan / Ryersonian Staff
Former Toronto Centre MP Bob Rae celebrates with the Liberals’ newly elected Chrystia Freeland, who will take a seat in the House of Commons after winning the riding’s byelection Monday night. Freeland’s victory ensures the traditionally Liberal stronghold will remain in the Grits’ hands.
Transitioning services break ground, barriers online By Katrina Sieniuc Ryersonian Staff
Ryerson has always supported any faculty and staff members going through highly personal changes — it just didn’t advertise it online. On Nov. 14, the school’s human resources department launched a web page dedicated to helping any faculty and staff member undergoing a transition in the workplace, whether it’s a change in gender, name or physical appearance. HR did community consultations through the Positive Space and Queernet listservs, which are group-specific mailing lists, at Ryerson while building the website. “We wanted to put some content on the website to provide an introduction on what transitioning means to employees who have maybe never heard about it before … (and) to let employees who may be transitioning know in advance that the university supports them,” said Laurie Stewart,
manager of HR communications at Ryerson. The new web content is part of Ryerson’s effort to advance inclusion, equity and diversity in the workplace by increasing awareness around transgender, transsexual and transitioning issues. “To specifically post on your website that you will actively support your employee on this (transitioning) is a very progressive move by Ryerson,” said Stewart. Stewart said that while many universities in Ontario, including the University of Toronto, also assist transitioning employees, she hasn’t found any other schools that explicitly have transitioning content online. Putting the content up, according to Ryerson president Sheldon Levy, couldn’t have been done “without the experience of (transitioning employees’) wisdom. “I would say that you learn what is the right thing to do from the experience that others have,” Levy said.
Ben Peto, an administration director in the Faculty of Communication and Design, helped HR construct the website. He said the online content shows Ryerson’s commitment to inclusion on transgender issues. Peto announced his transition at work shortly after the web page went up. “It’s a pretty big deal to have an HR page dedicated to staff who may be considering transition,” he said. “They need to see right off the bat when they are applying and looking for a job that they feel included,” he said. “They don’t have to take a chance in asking and not knowing whether they will get a positive reception.” The “Transitioning at Ryerson,” web page includes a resource and information section, a checklist of services offered by Ryerson HR, and a list of frequently asked questions and answers (FAQ) on transgender and transsexual issues. For Peto, the FAQ page was useful when bringing his transition
“It has definitely cut down on the amount of explaining that I’ve personally had to do.” — Ben Peto now point them to the website,” he said. The FAQ contains recommendations for colleagues of transitioning, transgender or transsexual employees. The web page also links to services offered through organizations such as the 519 Church Street Community Centre, which provides support groups, legal clinics and housing aid for the lesbian, gay, bi, trans and queer community. The checklist informs transitioning employees of HR’s practical services, such as replacing their OneCard free of charge, drafting emails that ask colleagues
Peto said the checklist helped him navigate the school’s system during his transition. “It’s really complicated, the number of ways your name is linked to things in a university — places that your name pops up that you didn’t think of,” he said. The web page, Peto added, helped him focus on his job instead of worrying about answering an influx of personal questions. “It has definitely cut down on the amount of explaining that I’ve personally had to do,” he said. Ryerson HR will officially announce the new web content in its December newsletter.
2 • The Ryersonian
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Produced by the Ryerson School of Journalism
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A temporary study space on campus isn’t enough With exams approaching, and 600 students voting to keep it finding a quiet study space on around for upcoming semesters, the Ryerson University campus Ryerson’s Pop-Up Study Space is rarer than a large turnout at an has made a return to the Victoria RSU event. Building. Having a school located in This time, the quiet study downtown Toronto is a curse space will be available until Dec. when it comes to providing spa- 2 and will return during every cious study areas for students. examination period until the SLC Lack of space has been a con- is complete. stant struggle for Ryerson and Even though the temporary its student population. This is a study space is useful for the time common thread when it comes being, it isn’t enough. to the Ryerson University experiIf Ryerson administration is ence and is the most distressing unable to provide enough quiet part of being a student here. spaces for students to study leadWhen you are lucky enough ing up to their exams, it’s that to find a place to study during administration’s responsibility to the exam season, it is like finding make the necessary changes. your own study sanctuary. A makeshift area won’t cut it. At the library, (the one on Ryerson students are sufferVictoria Street, not the second ing because of the lack of study floor of the Imperial Pub), it is space across campus and there is nearly impossible to find a place no excuse for it. to study. Study rooms are booked We shouldn’t have to fight for days in advance, school comput- a place to study on campus. We ers are being used to finish final shouldn’t have to rally together assignments, and study cubicles and vote on something so simple are being occupied by students as a quiet place to study. who arrived at 8 a.m. and won’t A quiet study spot should be leave until late that night. as accessable as textbooks and For those less dedicated, late having enough seats in the classrisers and commuters, vacant room. study space is scarce. As a student, make sure you While the Student Learning utilize these study spaces and let Centre (SLC) is set to open on the university know that we need the corner of Yonge and Gould more things like this around camStreets in pus. Let’s the first hope they few months Ryerson students are listen and of 2015, extend R y e r s o n suffering because of the lack of t h e s e students s t u d y have at study space across campus and spaces to least three all buildm o r e there is no excuse for it. ings. If examinawe don’t tion perimake use ods to suffer through before they of the space, they will easily take can study in peace at a perma- them away without notice. nent campus facility. This is a perfect example of In the meantime, the school Ryerson doing something that has had to come up with some should have been done years ago, creative (and only temporary) not in 2013. ways to house students before But in the end, something is and during exams. better than nothing. After a successful trial run We will take what we can get. during last year’s study period,
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TTC: Why are we paying more for less?
By Victor Ferreira Ryersonian Staff
The Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) approved a five-cent fare hike on Nov. 20, the third increase since Karen Stintz was named TTC chair in 2010. With decreased service, riders waiting hours for buses and daily subway delays caused by signal loss, where is all the money going? Stintz and CEO Andy Byford were appointed in November 2011 after Mayor Rob Ford won the municipal election. Before the Stintz and Byford era atop the TTC, tokens could be bought for $2.50, and an adult metropass cost $121. Fares were increased twice in 2012 before the most recent case. In January, tokens will cost $2.70, while the price of a metropass will be raised to $133.75. Riders might be content with reaching deeper into their pockets if they were receiving something in return. Increased service? Additional subway routes? No, riders aren’t getting improve-
ment. Just more dreadful service from the third largest transit system on the continent. Services were slashed by 10 per cent in 2012 with 62 different routes plagued by slower transit times. Loading standards also reverted to 2004 numbers when 418 million riders were using the TTC. Ridership has increased to a projected record of 528 million in 2013. Service has slightly increased since, but in other words, we’re paying more for less. That’s saying something when some routes are atrocious. The 60 Steeles Avenue West is widely known as one of the worst buses in the city. At times, the pathetic service makes me believe the route isn’t monitored at headquarters. In the summer, a friend and I arrived at the line’s Kipling stop at 1:30 p.m. We were headed towards Steeles Avenue West and Dufferin Street for a 2 p.m. shift at work. Ten riders were already waiting when we arrived. At 2:30 p.m. my co-worker and I were still at Kipling with another 40 riders wondering what could have stopped service for an hour. There were no traffic accidents and no service incidents. It was as if the TTC had stopped for a lunch hour or two. But the mediocrity isn’t exclusive to buses. I rely on the subway to bring me from my home near Kipling station to the downtown core. I can speak about frequency, sig-
nal loss, and a slew of other issues that affect the subway system but the frequent closures are the most concerning. It’s pitiful. The Kipling Station platform has been closed over three separate weekends since late September for repair, forcing riders to take shuttle buses or alternate routes. If I’m paying a premium amount for a service, I want to be able to use it. But the blame can’t be placed solely on the shoulders of Stintz and Byford. The City of Toronto is responsible for giving what TTC officials says is the lowest subsidy in North America. The TTC has received a $411-million subsidy over the past two years. Toronto has agreed to increase that subsidy to $428 million which amounts to 79 cents per rider. With ridership hitting record highs every year, the TTC requires a larger budget to properly operate as a company. About 90 per cent of the annual budget is funded by ridership. Without greater support from the city, the TTC will continue to hike fares to stay afloat Stintz has said that a yearly 10-cent hike should be expected for the TTC to continue to operate at the current standards, and when those standards are already low to begin with, riders should prepare for the worst. Get ready to open your wallets and dress warmly this winter. You’ll be paying more and waiting just as long for public transit.
Mohamed Omar Victor Ferreira
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Wednesday, November 27, 2013
The Ryersonian • 3
Overspending leaves SCC in fiscal pickle SCC cont’d...
Julia Hanigsberg, vice-president of administration and finance at Ryerson, did the same. Iqbal, who is the Palin Foundation’s treasurer, did not respond to requests for comment, and neither did Verticchio. Although Melissa Palermo, president of the RSU who also sits on the SCC board, said the unexpected increase in capital spending was invested in “general maintenance and repair of the building,” she too would not provide specifics on which projects demanded the extra cash. Palermo said the SCC, which was built in 2005, had to take out a loan “to get through the summer months” — which the general manager’s report states has amounted to $200,000 to date. She added that the arrival of SCC funding from an annual student levy would free the Palin Foundation from having to borrow more cash. However, the report said the SCC still had to turn to overdraft financing to pay bills in September and October this year, and the possibility of not requiring “bridge financing” in summer 2014 is “highly unlikely.” Verticchio also wrote that the foundation has “overly optimistic assumptions about the level of surpluses, cash reserves and when we will be able to fully (fund) our obligations.” Despite the foundation’s financial shortcomings, Verticchio has
The Student Campus Centre is run by the Palin Foundation.
asked the board to consider allocating a total of $90,000 to fund projects such as replacing the elevator in the aging Oakham House and manufacturing and installing a rooftop ladder and safety railing. He also wants to purchase a new display screen system for the SCC, which would include the computers, two screens, software and training. The general manager also wants to hire a project manager and architect to oversee two bathroom renovations in Oakham House, noting that the facelift could cost more than $250,000. “Our bathrooms are currently in very poor shape and unappealing to (just) about anyone who uses them,” Verticchio wrote in his report. “Student centre staff
have noticed an effect on business as the bathrooms are the student centre’s largest complaint received from clients.” But even as the board considers throwing money into these proposed projects, the building still faces outstanding structural problems. Construction on one of the SCC’s conference spaces, the Margaret Laurence Room, has lasted for more than one year. Verticchio pointed to faulty payment schedules with contractors working on the room and unfinished projects as obstacles to managing capital expenses and repairs. “Contractors have been paid in full, but the project is not finished. Electricians and trades need to come back to address the deficien-
Campus pub sales get rammed By David Rockne Corrigan Ryersonian Staff
Ryerson’s student watering hole is going a bit dry, financially speaking. Overall sales at The Ram in the Rye are down 30.5 per cent compared to last year, according to a report tabled at a recent Student Campus Centre (SCC) board meeting. The Ram and the Oakham Café are the only two studentrun and student-funded restaurants on campus. They’re both run by Rick Knapp, the food and beverage manager of the Palin Foundation, the non-profit entity that operates the SCC. Several factors have contributed to the drop in sales, according to Knapp. “The cause of the decrease is hard to pinpoint, however it is likely due to increased competition, changes in programming and of course students on a tighter budget due to increase costs associated with going to school,” Knapp said in an email. Gabor Forgacs, an associate professor at the Ted Rogers school of hospitality and tourism management, said he sees his students are “constrained financially.” “A lot of (the students) have to support themselves,
partly or fully,” Forgacs said. “Everybody has a part-time job. They’re very careful with their money. It’s not like the old days, when students were carefree and had money to spend.” But the Ram is feeling the pinch, too. The pub and Oakham upped their prices this summer, a step that Knapp said was unavoidable. Price hikes on food and alcohol have affected sales in unpredictable ways, according to the report. The Student Loan Special, a breakfast special at Oakham, has seen a 38 per cent increase in sales, despite its price going up by 50 cents (to $4.49 from $3.99). Meanwhile, at the Ram, the price of a pint of Molson Canadian draught increased to $4.86 from $4.43, with sales dropping by 10 per cent. “After over four years with no price increases it was necessary to raise prices over the summer to keep up with rising costs,” Knapp said. He added that the Ram “remains the most cost effective place to enjoy food and beverage on campus and in the local neighbourhood.” One of the Ram’s closest competitors is Lou Dawg’s, a pub at Gerrard and Church Streets — run by Ryerson marketing professor Daryl D’Souza — that opened in 2011.
“Being a downtown pub, the Ram in the Rye has always had to deal with competition from our neighbours,” Knapp said. “Our strategy is to continue offering excellent food at reasonable prices and implementing programming that appeals to students.” Knapp said that in November the Ram has been “booked solid” in terms of student events, but decreased programming in September and October took a toll on booze sales, according to the SCC board meeting report. Alcohol sales went down by 16 per cent, or $22,277, for the period between Sept. 1, 2013 and Oct. 29, 2013. Bar rail sales, such as shots of gin, vodka or scotch, dropped by 33 per cent. Oakham Café seems to be in a much better financial position, according to the report, with food sales up by a “staggering” 30 per cent, or $34,891. Some food strategies have had mixed results. At Oakham, after the fettucini alfredo meal was replaced with mushroom ravioli, sales of the latter went down by 48 per cent. At the Ram, meanwhile, replacing the spaghetti meal with Sloppy Joes has been a success, with the latter’s sales up 58 per cent over the former.
Mohamed Omar / Ryersonian Staff
cies and the issue of payment is sure to come up,” he wrote. Structural repairs aren’t the only expenses weighing on the Palin Foundation’s wallet. The cost of wages and benefits increased to $2,005,433 by April 30, 2013, a $298,925 jump from the previous year’s spending. According to the report, “general and administrative” costs came in at $310,261, up from $261,405, and food and beverages cost the foundation $1,177,670 — $274,396 more than in the previous school year ending on April 30, 2012. Although Ryerson president Sheldon Levy said he hasn’t seen any recent reports on the state of the Palin Foundation’s finances, he has heard about the SCC’s financial woes. As Ryerson owns and leases
the SCC — and because the university contributes $400,000 annually to the building’s operational funding — Levy said the school can’t let the SCC fall into a state of disrepair. He added that he plans to follow up on The Ryersonian’s findings. “I think the university has to ensure that the student campus centre is operational, (that) it’s working for the students and that it is fiscally responsible,” Levy said. “What we would do (to intervene), I’m not sure.” If the crux of the overspending problem came from a lack of funds rather than mismanagement, Levy said the school would consider increasing its annual contribution to the foundation (which amounted to $392,850 at April 30, 2013). The Palin Foundation also raked in $1,928,150 from a $30 per semester student levy dedicated to the building’s operations and upkeep. Verticchio said in his report that the foundation will “attempt to reduce spending by at least $100,000.” At the next board meeting, management hopes to propose a new budget focusing on rebuilding cash balances rather than breaking even. The building’s management will also work to revamp the centre’s monthly financial statement reporting, which is “fairly simplified” and “lacks accurate information.”
Mohamed Omar / Ryersonian Staff
Victoria Street had yet another paint job, this time in an attempt to patch up the chipped parts that plagued the road. After almost two weeks of closures, the street still has visible imperfections.
4 â€˘ The Ryersonian
A HolidAy MessAge from President sheldon levy
Holidays are connected to tradition. Whether celebrating old ones honoured by time, or creating special ones that are new, we build community with the traditions we keep. Like the Heritage Toronto award we received for both preserving and renewing the Gardens, or the brilliant new Student Learning Centre rising on a venerable old street. Or, most of all, recognizing that every day at the university turns the pages of history and drives the leading edge. Our collective past, present and future define and redefine the traditions that give Ryerson its blue and gold spirit. You inspire our ideas, take the initiative, and bring old and new together with your perspective and energy. All the best in your assignments and exams â€“ and over the holidays, whatever your traditions, I wish you joy in the season and the very best in the new year.
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
The Ryersonian • 5
Prof opposes school’s ‘passion capitalist’ award By Peter Lozinski Ryersonian Staff
Ryerson considers itself a hub for innovation and entrepreneurship, but one professor worries the university might be going too far. On Nov. 18, sociology professor Alan Sears wrote a piece lamenting the rise of “passion capitalism” on Ryerson’s campus for Rabble.ca, an alternative, leftwing news site. “I am all in favour of passion on campus, and indeed, everywhere. But capitalism, not so much,” Sears wrote. “The assumption that our passions only have value if we can turn them into assets undercuts the idea of that our creative actions can be fulfilling in themselves.” Sears’ column referred to the Passion Capitalist award, a prize Ryerson won last year that goes to companies and organizations that “successfully establish a values-based culture and select and develop people aligned to that culture,” according to a Ryerson press release sent out in November 2012.
The award, based on a book by Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation president and CEO Paul Alofs, recognizes institutions that “build strong brands anchored by their culture, which guide their strategies, the people they hire and the way they operate.” Though Sears said he thinks the basic idea of passion capitalism — making money by doing something you care about — is a noble concept, he thinks the award is “not as innocent as that.” But Ryerson president Sheldon Levy argued the Passion Capitalist award has nothing to do with capitalism. “It wasn’t saying Ryerson is a capitalist, because we’re not. We’re a not-for-profit,” Levy said. “When you have a passion to make a difference, you’re an entrepreneur. Entrepreneur is too often associated with (being) a capitalist.” However, Sears argued that instead of “thinking about what it actually is to unleash student passions, we’re being forced into
a mode that really focuses on the existing economic system.” One of Ryerson’s entrepreneurial successes has been the Digital Media Zone (DMZ), a hub for incubating startups in need of financial support or mentoring. The DMZ has also been praised by the provincial and federal governments, which are pushing universities for more experiential learning opportunities. In response to that request, Ryerson proposed a strategic mandate agreement to the Ontario government that would see 10 per cent of its graduates “involved in the development of a company, product or service.” Though Sears sees the DMZ as a “really interesting innovation,” he says that instead of focusing on work that is “pretty closely linked to commercialization,” the school should focus on “a really valuable kind of work … that doesn’t lead so directly to moneymaking propositions. “There is a lot of things that people love that you can’t turn into something people make money from,” he says. “Those things are getting devalued as a
writing the bar exam to become full-fledged lawyers. Once out of law school, graduates gain professional work experience through articling programs. But not all law firms provide them. Positions are limited, competition is fierce and law school graduates without articling experience tend to fall into a career limbo of sorts. By creating the LPP program, those who could not find articling positions can still gain
the required training in order to write the bar exam. Yet not everyone in the legal profession agrees that this could be an appropriate alternative to articling. “The only thing that everybody agrees about is that the current model of articling is not sustainable and so, they hacked it down the middle,” said Faisal Bhabha, assistant professor at York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School. “I think it’s the kind of solution that might sound good on paper but I think in practice, it creates more problems than it’s worth.” Bhabha said he is worried that having two streams after law school will only create a stigma where there shouldn’t be. “I think firms and students alike will see articling as a superior route and the LPP as a kind of stop-gap,” he said. “I’m not critical of the way Ryerson developed its program. I think the LPP has everything articling has and more. I’m suggesting that Ryerson could be growing this program. If the LPP is the way to go, why not make it for everybody?” Ryerson’s LPP will run from September to May. For the first four months of the program, participants will be placed in groups to work in a virtual law firm, working through interactive, online simulations of mock trials and other situational case studies. Current legal practitioners will act as their mentors and online instructors, evaluating participants in how they work individually and as a group. The last four months of the LPP will be a paid work place-
Peter Lozinski / Ryersonian Staff
Ryerson sociology professor Alan Sears.
way of valuing trying to get into something that you can make money out of.” He said he wishes the university would focus on what he calls “passion democracy.” “Often students are seen as raw material to be transformed in the process of education rather than democratic participants in it,” Sears said, adding that he hopes the school will “listen to
students so they really can develop the kind of education they need to genuinely feel fulfilled. “I think it could be done with a way that … may focus a little less on what’s commercially viable.” This year’s winners of the Passion Capitalist award, which include Cineplex Entertainment, ATB Financial and the City of Surrey, were announced Tuesday. Ryerson was not selected.
Ryerson law practice program nets praise, skepticism
By Jean Ko Din Ryersonian Staff
Ryerson University is launching Canada’s first web-based law practice program (LPP) in September 2014. The Law Society of Upper Canada announced last Thursday that it has awarded the university with the opportunity to form the curriculum as an alternative to the traditional articling program, which law graduates must complete before
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Peter Lozinski / Ryersonian Staff
Chang School interim dean Marie Bountrogianni.
ment in legal practice areas such as legal clinics, in-house practices and specialized practices, that don’t usually provide articling programs for law graduates. “I believe (Ryerson was) picked because of the experience not only with our students but with external partners. We have that track record,” said Marie Bountrogianni, interim dean of the Chang School. “Throughout this process, we will be actively looking for placements. That’s the challenging part of this.” Lakehead University’s newly offered Integrated Practice Curriculum (IPC) has also been accredited by the law society. Its new faculty of law was launched in September of this year, and its program has
merged the required training within its three-year law degree (JD). “Our students, after graduating with a JD, would simply have to write the bar and they’re practising,” said Lee Stuesser, dean of Lakehead University’s Faculty of Law. “What we’re doing means that our students save time and money.” The law society is currently funding and evaluating Ryerson’s English LPP, as well as the University of Ottawa’s French LPP and Lakehead University’s IPC as three-year pilot projects. At the end of the pilots, the law society will decide if the proposed formats at the three schools will be worth future funding.
6 • The Ryersonian
By Maham Abedi / Ryersonian Staff Moving to a new country and starting a university education in a foreign language is hard enough. But imagine the trauma from getting a notice that you’re suspected of plagiarism. It’s an accusation that could lead you to fail your course or be expelled. “I’ve had a lot of CESAR members come into our office and some just immigrated to Canada and start taking classes at Chang School,” says Continuing Education Students’ Association of Ryerson (CESAR) president Shinae Kim. “Those students not only have not had an education in Canada, this is their first time taking a class.” She tells the story of one student who recently emigrated from China. “She wants to upgrade her education so that she can get a job, she’s just adjusting to a new country, and she got an academic misconduct,” she says. “Is it really fair to target the student with these penalties in their first semester of studying in Canada?” Ryerson student groups are arguing that the minimum penalty for academic misconducts should be lighter. As it stands, the minimum pen-
alty is a mark of zero on the assignment. Many Ryerson students, especially those from abroad, fear the consequences of plagiarism, despite not fully understanding what it entails. Changing the minimum penalty is one of the many possibilities being discussed by a senate committee launched this October to review Ryerson’s Student Code of Academic Conduct, also known as Policy 60. The review committee has a representative from each faculty and student group. The committee is to make recommendations about reforming the policy after several meetings and consultations with students and faculties. Kim, who is CESAR’s representative on the plagiarism review committee, says she supports a lighter penalty as many students she interacts with are unfamiliar with the concept of plagiarism. The code, which was approved in March 2009, defines academic misconduct as, among other things, plagiarism, cheating, submitting false information and misrepresentation of personal identity.
Arman Aghbali / Ryersonian Staff
It also sets disciplinary procedures, the most severe being expulsion. Other penalties include failing the entire course, suspension and a disciplinary notice on a student’s academic record. While Ryerson does keep official records of misconduct issues, they’re not publically available. Part of the review will be considering whether, like the University of Toronto and the University of Ottawa, Ryerson should make the numbers public. “Right now the penalties are very harsh,” said Rochelle Lawrence, the Ryerson Students’ Union’s vice-president of education. She’s the RSU representative on the committee, and believes the policy should consider unique student life issues. “It could be a student is under a lot of pressure. They don’t have enough time because they are working so hard in other different areas and they have to provide for themselves.” A second-year biomedical engineering student, who wishes to remain anonymous, says pressure to get work done on time, while maintaining a high GPA, led him to plagiarize in first year. He copied from another person’s assignment during a programming class.
“Yeah, it’s risky and it ing you just want to get ev that you can basically get,” dents rarely score above 6 courses. “It’s the lesser o put yourself in danger.”
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ember 27, 2013
The Ryersonian • 7
Peter Lozinski / Ryersonian Staff
isn’t the only option
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be treated equally
was charged alongside 30 e same plagiarized assignros on their assignments on their transcripts. He mon in his program for mall assignments, and he
“Not in big assignments, but little assignments that aren’t worth the time to put in when you have five other courses with midterms.... It’s kind of the norm.” While he does use other people’s information, he says he understands the need for a penalty. He wishes the university would also take other factors, like stress and workload, into consideration. “I’m in the engineering building all night. I literally sleep there,” he says. “If they could look at the reason behind it all, that would be more beneficial rather than just hitting you with a zero.” Meanwhile, U of T has a comparable system of suspicion and appeal, but the minimum penalty is an oral or written reprimand. In practice, this is often just a warning letter. The code allows students to redo assignments without losing marks, with the instructor’s permission. U of T ombudsperson, Joan Foley, says the procedure was created with fairness in mind. “Prior to having this procedure, the concern was that individual instructors in different departments might be applying very different penalties to students for basically the same offence. That’s not fair,” said Foley.
Arman Aghbali / Ryersonian Staff
Foley says the university offers workshops, and is developing a website on plagiarism in hopes that they better educate students. Co-chair of the Ryerson review committee, David Checkland, says the current penalty also has fairness in mind, in the sense that all students are treated equally. “One of the goals you want in any policy is the greatest possible degree of consistency, so that people should get more or less the same penalty for more or less the same offence,” said Checkland, a Ryerson philosophy professor. Many students agree with Checkland, that equality is the best policy. So long as students are honest, they won’t run into these issues in the first place. “You’re copying someone’s work and you should be penalized for it,” said Mohammed Quraishi, a third-year mechanical engineering student. “Everyone should be treated equally when it comes to plagiarism.” On Nov. 19, the committee chairs held a public consultation in which students and faculties voiced their major concerns with the current code.
Some suggestions that were brought up included having lesser penalties for first offences, having more educational remedies, shortening the process of dealing with misconduct charges and appeals and raising awareness among students about the policy as a preventive measure. According to Chris Evans, the other co-chair of the committee, many of these suggestions will be considered. But it is too early to say what their final report to senate will entail in June 2014. If the committee reaches a consensus this school year and senate approves, a new version of Policy 60 could be implemented as early as the next school year. Kim says she hopes the university will teach students about academic misconduct as a preemptive measure, adding that most students she knows don’t intend to plagiarize. “I think the professors and the university do need to know when people are paying $6,000 to $7,000 a year the last thing a student wants is an academic misconduct,” says Kim. “We’re just here to learn.”
Arman Aghbali / Ryersonian Staff
8 • The Ryersonian
ARTS & LIFE
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
RTA students’ film project makes wishes come true By David Rockne Corrigan Ryersonian Staff
They’re not even finished production, but a group of Ryerson students has already accomplished more than its members could have hoped for with their final-year film project. Emma, written by and starring Simon Paluck, is the story of a cancer patient named Emma who meets a young man (Paluck) and introduces him to
a community of teenagers living and coping with the illness. At a recent fundraiser for the film, the team was able to raise $6,000 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Canada. The team started working with the foundation because the film focuses on similar themes of cancer in youth. However, most of the film’s funding comes from personal investment of the team’s behalf and donated money from an Indiegogo campaign.
The film is one of the biggest assignments for Paluck and his colleagues, who are all in their fourth year of radio and television arts school of media at Ryerson. The film began as a seemingly straightforward project, but evolved into much more. “We wanted to make sure (that) our final practicum project (raised) awareness for childhood cancer,” said Paluck. “We really just wanted to do something with it. We didn’t just want to make our final project,
wash our hands and say, ‘that’s it.’” “Not that there’s anything wrong with that,” added director J. Mitchel Reed. “We had a unique opportunity to partner with this charitable foundation that helped us raise money to make the film as well. It was like a tandem thing. We wouldn’t have had the money to make this film without Make-AWish partnering with us.”
only part of the equation. Reed agrees with that sentiment. “I think the message underneath all of this stuff about people meeting and letting go, is that life is sad. But just because something is sad, doesn’t mean there can’t be happiness as well,” said Reed. But for now, the project is still a work in progress. The film is still in production, with less than a week of shooting left
‘‘There’s just a moment where everything comes together, and the shot was so good, and the performances were just right on. Perfect. Everything was perfect.’’ —
J. Mitchel Reed, left, directs Emma and one of its main actors, Simon Paluck, far right.
Courtesy Simon Paluck
In the film, Paluck plays Jayson, a student who is sent to write a story about the rumoured pregnancy of the captain of the school’s dance team, Emma. He learns that she has cancer, and the two form an unexpected friendship. For Paluck, the film is based on real-life circumstances. “One of my good friends — she does have cancer. I remember when I was first pulled into that world, it was not what I expected,” he said. Paluck says that while “chemo, hair loss, and death” are associated with cancer, that’s
J. Mitchel Reed
on the schedule. Reed, who had stayed up with his editor until 4 a.m. the night before he met with The Ryersonian, acknowledges there is still lots of work ahead. So far, he is thrilled by the results. “It was the last scene we were shooting in the hospital. And there’s just a moment where everything comes together, and the shot was so good, and the performances were just right on. Perfect. Everything was perfect,” says Reed. “Those moments are for me why you want to make movies.”
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Wednesday, November 27, 2013
ARTS & LIFE
The Ryersonian • 9
Ryerson Dances impresses and awes
By Sarah Warne Ryersonian Staff
Ryerson students have got some serious skills — dancing skills, that is. On Nov. 23, The Ryersonian attended Ryerson Dances 2013, a dance performance highlighting work by bachelor of fine arts (BFA) students in third and fourth year from the Ryerson Theatre School. Throughout their four years of study, students undergo intensive daily dance training in modern, ballet and jazz. After months of rehearsals, the training culminates in a striking but fluid mix of four separate performances showcased in Ryerson Dances. About 20 minutes long each, the dance numbers incorporated different ideas, themes, dancing styles and effects to create a flawless show. The performances were truly unique, making the show an absolute pleasure to watch. In terms of technical skills — form, composure and clean lines — the dancers excelled. In many of the acts, the dancers executed extreme discipline
and control. In the final jazz number, Brubeck, the dancers’ extensions were simply superb, and their motions were ever-so fluid. Emilio Colalillo, a fourthyear dance student, was one of the dancers who stood out in particular. In every performance he participated in, you could see the control he possessed over his body from the top of his head to the tip of his toes. He, along with others, embodied professionalism and knowledge of his craft. One of the beautiful concepts of Ryerson Dances was the ability of each dance to tell its own unique story. The meaning of each number could be interpreted in many different ways, making each one inspiring and mesmerizing to watch. The second performance, Arteriae Mantises, was utterly breathtaking and, although the story wasn’t explicit, audience members remained engaged. The number was otherworldly, eerie and gritty. In each performance, the esthetics were terrifically complementary to the piece. The second performance exceeded expectations considering the set was as minimalist as it gets. With
the stage dark and devoid of any props, the dancers were the centre of attention as they lurked on the dim stage to ever-so-sensual, yet peculiar, sound effects that mimicked the sound of sniffing, oddly enough. The third performance, 3TIQET, was also a visually stunning piece of work. The elaborate
The Ryersonian caught up with stars from Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues a few weeks ago and got the 411 on what it was like to get back into character after a decade-long vacation from the original. Anchorman is back on the silver screen with a sequel this December, nine years after its predecessor. Will Ferrell, Paul Rudd, Steve Carell and David Koechner all make a return, and were overjoyed to revisit the successful franchise. “It was such a blast doing the first one that I would jump at the chance to come back and beat a dead horse,” said Rudd. Both Carell and Rudd have kept busy since the first
Anchorman instalment. Carell has found success in The Office and The 40-Year-Old Virgin, while Rudd has starred in I Love You, Man and Our Idiot Brother. Nevertheless, they said getting back into character wasn’t a challenge. “At times, it didn’t seem difficult at all, like I feel we know these characters pretty well,” said Rudd. “But I would say throughout the shoot, there were many moments where I thought, oh God, am I doing this right?” When it came to playing Brick, Carell used the time off to his advantage. “The more lost I felt, the better that served me,” said Carell. “The more out of sorts I felt, in general, the better I think that played into Brick.”
If audiences walk away from the show with one thought, it should be a reminder of how talented and innovative Ryerson students are. Furthermore, the amount of hard work and training was highly evident, and for that, we say kudos to all of those involved in Ryerson Dances 2013.
Courtesy Kailee Mandel
One of the jazz numbers, called Brubeck, from the evening of dance.
Anchorman makes a return By Sydney Poulos Ryersonian Staff
set design, foggy haze and ominous music all created an ambiance that propelled the audience into a different world. The performances viewed in Ryerson Dances only further proved and validated why Ryerson’s dance program is known as one of the best in Canada.
The Anchorman men are known for their awkwardness with the ladies, but Steve Carell and Paul Rudd have plenty of wisdom to offer when it comes to picking up university girls. Rudd’s character, Brian Fantana, has a cologne cabinet he uses to “musk up” before attempting to ask out Veronica Cor ningstone (Christina Applegate) in the first film. The smell not only scares off Corningstone, but the whole Channel 4 News office. Naturally, Rudd recommends going au natural. “I would say to guys, college guys — drop the cologne. No one likes it. Use your own natural musk, which will bring the ladies in busloads.” Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues hits theatres Dec. 20.
Tech Talk: Phone Rumours ing out your TV. The launch for this redesigned iPhone is rumoured to be September 2014. As with all three of these phones, it’s all based on leaks and rumours, so take it all with a grain of salt. Samsung Galaxy S5
By Michael Duncan Ryersonian Staff
BlackBerry released its Porsche phone this week and while it may look pretty, it’s a depressing move from the once dominant company. Its products used to be the best because of the company’s commitment to innovative software and hardware; there was a time when no one could rival the quality. But what the Porsche model stands for is a last-ditch effort to sell phones. On a brighter note for tech this week, we take a look to the future at rumoured smartphones for 2014. iPhone 6
Courtesy Paramaunt Pictures
Paul Rudd, Steve Carell, David Koechner and Will Ferrell, left to right, in Anchorman 2.
The iPhone 5s has been out only a few months, but there are already rumours about the next model. First among them is that the 6 would feature a full five-inch screen. It would be the first five-inch screen for Apple’s smartphone lineup. This screen may also be a full HD 1080p retina display, so start planning now on toss-
If the rumours are true, the reveal for this phone is a little bit more than a month away, planned for early January. Samsung has also applied for a patent for eye scanning. They might be looking to skip the fingerprint scanning technology and go straight to your eye — just what Skynet wants! The phone might also feature a 16-megapixel camera — which seems ridiculous — and would also feature enhanced camera sensors to sharpen your selfies. Once again, these are all rumours, so it may end up just being a really large flip phone. HTC Even the name of the new HTC is shrouded in rumour, but for right now, some are calling it the HTC M8. Like the S6, this phone is also rumoured to be released early in the new year. The smartphone battles never seem to stop! The M8 may feature aluminum casing and an eye scanner … one wonders where they got that idea from. The screen is also within the range of the others, rumoured to be between five and 5.2 inches. With the way these phones are developing, in a couple years they may all just look the same but have different names.
10 • The Ryersonian
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Fundraising initiative makes Klisara a champ By Hays Morrison Ryersonian Staff
Competition in sports is fierce, but for athletes like Monika Klisara, sometimes the bigger challenge is acquiring enough funds to train and prepare for tournaments. This was the reality facing David Ancor and Michael Shpigleman, two competitive
judokas. So they decided to start a crowd-funding initiative known as Makeachamp, to help athletes pay for costs of competing. “Makechamp is a way for them to get funding and continue to focus on training,” says Ancor. When Klisara, a first-year Ryerson student and international karate athlete, understood she would have to fund her trip to the
2014 Karate Canada nationals in B.C., she didn’t think she would be signing up for an altered workout regime. In between sending opponents crashing to the ground with roundhouse kicks and disabling them with knife-hand strikes, Klisara shovelled snow and performed physical work for others in exchange for donations.
Nominations Deadline January 31, 2014
Recognize staff and faculty for their outstanding contribution in the areas of:
Service and Leadership President’s Blue & Gold Award of Excellence Alan Shepard Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Award Linda Grayson Leadership Award Larissa Allen Employee Experience Award Make Your Mark Award
Scholarly, Research and Creative Activity Sarwan Sahota Ryerson Distinguished Scholar Award Collaborative Research Award Early Research Career Excellence Award Knowledge Mobilization & Engagement Award Social Innovation & Action Research Award PLEASE NOTE: Complete nomination packages, including the nominee’s online consent must be submitted before the January 31, 4 p.m. deadline.
New Website and Online Nomination Ryerson is pleased to announce the new Recognition & Awards website and Online Nomination Portal.
www.ryerson.ca/recognition The new website brings together all awards, guidelines and eligibility details in one centralized location. The new Online Nomination Portal streamlines the awards process by allowing users to gather, review and submit the entire nomination package online. Learning sessions on how to nominate for an award are being held on January 13 and January 24. To register, visit the Learning Events Calendar at www.ryerson.ca/hr/learning.
A similar routine of waxing cars and painting fences may have worked for Daniel Larusso in The Karate Kid, but Klisara was unsatisfied. She realized that the time and effort she was putting into fundraising was becoming detrimental. “I quickly came to the conclusion that during that time that I was trying to raise funds, I was losing training time, so it was a lose-lose situation for me,” she says. Klisara found out about makeachamp.com through Twitter. After retweeting one of Makeachamp’s motivational quotes, she checked their platform to find out what they were all about. “I chose Makeachamp because I feel like the team Courtesy Facebook behind the site is very strong and Monika Klisara goes for ’14 gold. determined to help athletes like them succeed,” she says. She also found that sharing funds cover expenses such as her “Gold Digging” campaign flight tickets, accommodations, online would be an easy way to equipment, as well as medical expenses. get others involved. Athletes create their campaign She started her campaign about two months ago and has through makeachamp.com. They raised $350. She has one week can upload their personal story and spread the word by reaching left to raise her $1,000 goal. “I believe it’s the best way out to friends and family through for me to raise funds because it’s Twitter and Facebook. Part of the process requires a quick and easy way to get the attention of the public and pos- athletes to choose how they can sible contributors,” Klisara says. reward their contributors and supThe 17-year-old business porters. Aside from acknowledgmanagement student is currently ing them with a public thank you, a member of Canada’s national athletes have also been known to and Ontario’s provincial karate give supporters a gift from their team. She’s won multiple pro- travels, an old medal or even a vincial gold medals and is a two- workout plan. Julien Cousineau has been on time national silver medallist. The funds she raises will help Canada’s national alpine ski team since 1998. pay her trans“I was losing training time, His most memorable portation costs to so it was a lose-lose situation m o m e n t s came in B.C., as for me.” 2010, when well as he finished her reg — Monika Klisara fifth at the istration World Cup fees for in Austria and when he placed the competition. Klisara says the ticket to B.C. eighth at the Vancouver Olympics. is $1,200. On top of that, Klisara The skier finished fifth at the has to pay $85 for each category 2011 World Championships in she competes in. She is compet- Germany. Cousineau found out about ing in three categories so she will have to shell out $255 before she Makeachamp when the group can set foot on the competition followed him on Twitter. He researched the crowd-funding floor. The first Makeachamp cam- initiative and soon after startpaign was started by Ancor, its ed his “Continuing the Dream” co-founder, to help raise funds to campaign with hopes of raising cover his own training expenses $25,000. “I get charged a lot of money to – like travel, gym memberships be on the team,” says Cousineau. and equipment. His Makeachamp campaign “Many athletes spend their time training and don’t have any page says the skier needs to pay $27,500 in team fees just to time for a job,” Ancor says. Instead of reaching out to compete in the World Cup and sponsors, government or school Olympics. Cousineau was able to raise assistance, more and more athletes are taking to crowd-funding $12,630 through Makeachamp. “I wasn’t expecting to get it to rally the financial support they all,” he says, but was happy getneed. Makeachamp officially ting within the range of $10,000 launched as a fundraising plat- to $12,000. Cousineau understands that form for competitive athletes in 2012. It operates as an indepen- every little bit helps. “At the end of the day, $25 can dent institution, with no banks or investors contributing to the make a difference.” funds given to athletes. The
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
The Ryersonian • 11
Pitch-perfect experience for Perkins By Allan Perkins Ryersonian Staff
Our season-ending banquet marked the first time in a month where we were all together again. And was it ever great to see the guys. After all, I spent nearly every day on the baseball field for six gruelling weeks this fall with this ragtag bunch. The dust had finally settled on our inaugural Ontario University Athletics (OUA) baseball season, one that started with great optimism and ended in disappointment, with more than our fair share of growing pains mixed in for good measure. Here we were, packing the upstairs at the Vic Pub, feasting on free chicken wings and deep-fried macaroni balls, finally with a chance to reminisce and remember the good times and lessons learned from the first year of Ryerson Rams baseball — a season that ended with only three wins and 19 losses. The season started with so much potential on a beautiful, balmy Friday evening in early September at Talbot Park — a quirky ballpark with no fence in right field and a 10-metrehigh monster in left — for our season opener versus the Guelph Gryphons. On that night, we looked to use all of its quirks and the partisan crowd of over 200 Ryerson fans to our advantage. There was a discernable buzz during the game, and rightfully so. Bryan Vardzel, our starting pitcher, had one of the best games I’d ever seen, going seven strong innings to neutralize Guelph’s big bats, and giving us a chance to squeak across the eventual winning run on a bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the eighth.
Courtesy Daniel Medini
Rams pitcher Allan Perkins went 0-5 with a 3.03 ERA in 2013.
I remember warming up in the bullpen in the ninth in case I was needed to close out the game. The intensity of the moment caused my stomach to churn — a combination of nerves and excitement. I never did get into the game. Teammate Lucas Crichton closed it out but it remains one of the most competitive and thrilling games I’ve ever been a part of. After the 4-3 win, our head coach, Ben Rich, was getting ready to address the team when fellow teammate Keith Capstick
screamed, “that was fucking awesome!” at the top of his lungs. Everyone laughed. It was the best start imaginable. We felt like we had established ourselves as legitimate contenders in the OUA. We had arrived, or so we thought. The winning result on opening night proved to be an anomaly. Over our next 21 games, we managed to win just twice, finishing the season 16 games below .500 — dead last in the OUA. Like many first-year teams, it
There was a lot of hype surrounding the team in the early going, which included a preseason Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) ranking as the No. 9 team in the country. But after an embarrassing five-set collapse against the York Lions in the second game of the year, they were scuttled out of the top 10. Third-year hitter Robert Wojcik, who himself is ranked in the top 10 in the country for most kills, acknowledges that the loss against York was tough for the team, but they have moved on since. “Overall, it was really upsetting, but I think it also brought us closer together as a team. We don’t feel like we felt after that game anymore,” said Wojcik. “We’ve been working on trying to get a good connection with our new setter, and the new rookies on the team.” Adam Anagnostopoulos is the first-year setter Wojcik refers to. He is ranked fourth in the CIS in assists, and was recently named one of the top rookies of 2013 by Volleyball Source magazine. “There’s a little bit more pressure, but it’s not necessarily a bad thing,” said Anagnostopoulos of the rookie honour. “It’s going to push us.” Middle Jeff Ardron was also named a top rookie.
The Rams could certainly use the push as they look ahead to the second half of their season in 2014. After the victories against Queen’s and RMC, the team seems to be on the cusp of the top 10 once again. A big victory two weeks ago against No. 9 Western can only help them make their case. But are they consistent enough to be considered a top 10 team? “I would say no,” said Anagnostopoulos. “Some days it seems like it for sure. Some days it doesn’t,” added Wojcik. “One day we can lose to Windsor, who on paper we shouldn’t lose to, and then the next day we can go out and beat Western, which was nationally ranked.” Even if they don’t crack the top 10 this season, the future for Ryerson’s men’s volleyball looks bright. “We’re a young team, so there’s a lot to look forward to,” said Anagnostopoulos, who still has, along with other key starters on the team, three years of eligibility remaining. “The next couple of years you can expect us to be up there in the top five, in my opinion.”
wasn’t just one or two things that There were other positives went wrong. too, such as the .373 batting averFor starters — pitching, that age of our third baseman and is — we lacked depth and expe- team leader Josh Lund — good rience. for fourth in the OUA. He earned We had trouble avoiding the the Rams’ offensive player of “big inning,” where opponents the year and the most dedicated would feast on untimely errors award. and mental miscues that would After that memorable opencost us a chance to win games ing night, Vardzel proved to be a which were otherwise closely horse on the hill for us all season contested. long. He pitched 47.2 innings — While we never lost our com- second most in the OUA — which posure, frustrations grew. The was more than enough for him low point to take came on a h o m e “It was the best start pitcher of m i s e r a ble S u n d a y imaginable. We felt like we the year a f t e r no on honours. in Waterloo had established ourselves as T h e at about the legitimate contenders in the d e f e n c e halfway of centreOUA.” mark of our fielder — Allan Perkins Jason Te season. We lost and secboth games of a double-header to ond baseman Julio Ramirez was the Warriors by a combined score also a high point, earning them of 19-6. co-defensive players of the year. Afterwards, coach Rich had Our team has talent, there’s enough. He sent us to run “poles” no question about that. It’s just a — baseball’s equivalent of laps, matter of us getting used to playrunning from one foul pole to ing with each other and winning the other — and we did, for what those close games. felt like an eternity. We pounded During the speeches at our our cleats on the muddy warn- closing banquet, assistant coach ing track for 30 minutes until Blake Enzel said it best when he the coaches finally put us out of told our group there would be no our misery. It was awful, com- more room for excuses heading pounded by the fact we had just into year 2. lost our fifth and sixth games in a And he’s right. The game of row and our shot at a playoff spot baseball is supposed to be fun; was gone. that’s why it’s a game. But there It would have been easy to is nothing more fun than winning throw in the towel at that point, and being competitive. but we held it together and played The task is at hand. We have hard down the stretch. We were nine months to work our butts able to finish on a bit of a high off, improve and, perhaps more note, taking the last game of importantly, grow as a team. our final weekend series against We will be better next season. Brock, arguably the league’s best We have to be. team. After all, there’s nowhere to go in the standings but up.
Close to cracking the CIS top 10 By David Rockne Corrigan Ryersonian Staff
Coming off two big home victories this past weekend, the men’s volleyball team is hoping its recent three-game winning streak can elevate it from a top team in the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) to the ranks of one of the première programs in the nation. On Saturday, the Rams dominated the Royal Military College (RMC) Paladins in four sets at the Mattamy Athletic Centre (MAC), while the night before, they knocked off Queen’s University in a thrilling five-setter, moving them into a four-way tie atop the OUA standings. The victory over Queen’s likely gave the coaches heart palpitations as the Rams went up two sets to none before allowing the Gaels to get back in the game. But the Rams fought hard in the fifth set to come up with the win. “Teams from Kingston are probably our biggest rivals. There’s some bad blood between the coaches,” said assistant coach Lukas Porosa. “They always raise their game when they play us.” Luckily for the Rams, the bounces have gone in their favour as of late, something that hasn’t always been the case this season.
David Rockne Corrigan / Ryersonian Staff
Rams hitter Robert Wojcik goes in for the kill versus Queen’s.
12 • The Ryersonian
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Reporting on the Ryerson Students’ Union but added that he didn’t know if she has any relationship to the CRO. All you can do, as camAt the end of my universipus reporters, is put this inforty career, I expected to write mation out there and let stua lengthy coming-of-age piece dents do what they want with it. on how I’ve grown intellectu• As a student journalist, ally, how I’ve evolved emotionyour job includes investigating ally and how I’ve matured as a how the RSU, like other properson throughout my years of CFS unions, carries out the higher education. I assumed I federation’s campaigns without would be writing the epilogue any kind of local feedback. Last to the story of my journey from weekend, the RSU’s executives Dubai to Calgary to Toronto, went to Ottawa for the CFS and how it changed the way I national general meeting to vote interacted with people, altered on and propose motions that had my perceptions of the world zero Ryerson student input. You and completely revamped my must also find out how many notions of love, life and success. lawsuits — yep, paid for with But that sounds like trite student money — the CFS is trash, so here’s a tirade on involved in with student unions my experiences with the trying to break free from its Ryerson Students’ Union. grasp. You read that right: to My bad romance with the leave the CFS, student unions Mohamed Omar / Ryersonian Staff RSU started in September 2012, have to lawyer their way out. You when I was working as an online Student union president Melissa Palermo rallies at an RSU Halloween protest in downtown Toronto. must, for the love of our bottled editor at that vile maelstrom of water-free campus, report on that. chaotic alcohol-fuelled talent I was stunned when I found of 30,000 students with one pamphlets, the executives’ sala• The RSU continuousthat I will always miss and love, out the RSU holds only two stance, unless you’re the RSU. ries, a long-gone RSU execu- ly tightens its communicaThe Eyeopener. Before that, I meetings a year for the general Through my reporting, I only tive’s legal fees or “telephones.” tions and control over what had never cared for or knew student body. My mind was shat- wanted to show Ryerson students In last year’s budget, the RSU the campus media gets to hear. much about the RSU, much like tered to bits and Reese’s Pieces how significant the RSU’s role put aside $20,000 for “teleWhen Diverlus was the the colossal majority of Ryerson when I realized the union makes is on their campus so that they phones.” There’s a story for you. union’s president last year, he students. But after that fateful decisions on behalf of all stu- could become more engaged in • In February, come election talked to us every Monday for an September, I became dangerous- dents at those two damned con- how the union is run. While I time, the RSU gets its next crop hour or so. His successor, Melissa ly obsessed may have started painting that of executives ready to run. The Palermo, now requests questions with the I am flabbergasted at the RSU’s picture, it’s far from complete. new batch will run under the sent to her in advance. Palermo u n ion’s Now I’ve run out of courses to Students United slate and will generously redirects our quesexecutives, foolish and futile attempts to take and am forced to gradutions to other It is impossible to represent the RSU execustructure ate, so it’s up to the journalism and, most blanket-represent one of the students reading this — if any tives if she feels beliefs of 30,000 students with one she’s not the c r u c i a l l y, — to continue pushing the RSU its locked most diverse campuses in for ultimate transparency, stronbest person to stance. d o w n ger democracy and infinitely answer, which finances. Canada with sweeping political, more inclusive decision making. gives her colI still So, if you want to dive already be very friendly with leagues more time to rehearse don’t under- environmental and cultural motions. into student union reporting the current executive. Most of their responses. You must break stand how, and undertake a miserable yet them, if not all, will have come through these bureaucratic because folinstrumental beat, here’s what from the RSU’s farm team, the walls. It won’t be easy, but I lowing a referendum passed in gregations — as long as 100 I’ve learned about the RSU: Ryerson Residence Council. guarantee you it will be fun. the ’80s, every single Ryerson people show up to vote and score • The RSU does not share They will have scarce opposi• Speaking of responses, you student blindly hands the RSU some free food. Scratch that, its operating budget. It used to, tion, if any. You will most likely won’t get much of them quickly. an annual allowance and has no the RSU advertises it as “free,” but later noticed that the stu- cry when you feast your eyes The RSU takes its sweet time choice in the matter whatsoever. but you paid for it, remember? dent media — in a total dick on the abysmal voter turnout to respond to requests, espeI’m baffled at how the RSU does I am flabbergasted at the move — used it to report on rate. I did, and then cried some cially from student media. not advertise its board of direc- RSU’s foolish and futile attempts their finances. We’re such pricks. more when the beer ran out. • The union’s executive directors meetings, which are open to blanket-represent one of the You must work tirelessly to make When results are announced tor of communications and outto students and see many crucial most diverse campuses in Canada sure every single student, if they at the Ram in the Rye, you will reach, Gilary Massa, gets to vet decisions made on the student with sweeping political, environ- choose, can see how his or her not believe how victorious some what anyone and everyone at the union’s directions and finances. mental and cultural motions. It is money is being spent, wheth- of the RSU’s candidates will RSU says to the student media. impossible to represent the beliefs er it’s on printing anti-pipeline appear despite running unop- Massa has been with the RSU for posed. Nevertheless, you must quite some time and attended last cover the election with a pas- weekend’s CFS meeting with the sion, you sad, yet noble soul. executive. As a student journalist, • Two of the RSU’s full-time ask yourself why a non-elected employees, hired without any full-time employee goes to lobby say from students whatsoever, for students at a national meeting. choose a chief returning offiFinally, remember that you cer (CRO) and a deputy return- are not doing this for grades ing officer (DRO) to oversee the or for some fancy bylines elections, supposedly as inde- in a student newspaper. pendent overlords of democraYou are doing this because cy. The job posting for the two the RSU, as our student governpositions was up online during ment, must be held accountable, December 2012, for only six days. to the students it represents, for Your job is to find out if every single penny it spends and and how the CRO and DRO for every single stance it takes. are related to the RSU’s You, as a student journalexecutive or the Canadian ist, must keep the union in Federation of Students (CFS). check, regardless of whether Last year’s CRO, Shelby no one reads your stories, or Kennedy, has a sister, Kaley, the status quo remains intact. who worked for the CFS and Then, when you’re about to was connected to almost all of graduate and feel too scared to the RSU’s executives on social write about anything else, pass the media. The former RSU presi- knowledge on to future students. Mohamed Omar / Ryersonian Staff dent, Rodney Diverlus, told me Ifaz Iqbal, the RSU’s vice-president operations, shouts through his megaphone at the Halloween rally. he knew “a Kaley Kennedy,” By Mohamed Omar Ryersonian Staff