Last Wednesday marked the official inauguration of Claude Lajeunesse, the seventh president of Ryerson. Congratulations, Claude. Welcome aboard. Enjoy your first few weeks — you’re in for a hell of a ride.
Not that it’s ever easy, but if there was a time to become president of a university, it ain’t now. Education funding is being chopped off at the knees by the feds and the provincial government. Technology is changing so rapidly that several of our equipment-based programs are becoming exercises in redundancy. University applications are dropping off. Faith in “higher education” is dwindling. The cafeteria food still leaves a lot to be desired.
You’ve got a lot on your plate, Claude. A lot of responsibility. And there’s only one piece of advice that will carry you through your term here: get accessible!
You’ve made the commitment to “consult” with the students. Great! Get on it! Open your office for a few hours a week for whoever wants to drop in — and let us know when those hours are. Have lunch in the Hub every Thursday. Hang out at The Edge and hoist a beer every once in a while with Joe and Jane Student. It’s not hard to reach us: E-mail, program folders, bulletin boards, flyers, newspaper, campus radio. We’re literally at your fingertips, 12,000 active minds eager to help shape our school.
Nothing is preventing quick and effective decision-making on your part, just make sure that your decisions are informed. Not by other suits in administration, perched in ivory towers; by those who your decisions affect the most: the students. The people that pay to go here.
You’re here to administer, to keep the wheels of government and economics at Ryerson running smoothly. That’s important. But we’re here to learn, and that’s more important still.
Give us a shot, Claude. Get us involved. You’re not alone up there.
Not unless you want to be.