The ombuds’ for you

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By Theresa Ebden

It may be difficult to pronounce, but Ryerson’s new ombudsperson will make life easier for students.

Dealing with Ryerson officials can leave you feeling ripped off. The change this, a team of seven Ryerson officials from CESAR, RyeSAC and administration have added the diplomat to the Ryerson family. The ombudsperson has final say over all disputes between students and administration.

“It’s where students can go as a last resort, when they can’t find satisfaction in other offices,” said Kelli Campbell, RyeSAC VP education, and member of the Ombudsperson Review Committee. “We haven’t had one ever, but there’s been proposals for seven years.”

The ombudsperson’s identity will be announced when the contract is finalized later this week. Sources revealed it is a woman who has spent ten years solving disputes at U of T.

“Students need somewhere where the ball can stop bouncing,” said Frank Cappadocia, RyeSAC’s executive assistant. “We’re greasing some very rusty wheels — sometimes it’s personality issues between the offices that the students is dealing with.”

The ombudsperson will also recommend policy in an annual report, which will be presented to the Board of Directors. Students with unresolved appeals, harassment cases or other complaints are encouraged to approach the new advocate.

The yearly salary of $50,000 is paid partly by student service fees.

But when cutbacks are forcing them to lay off our profs, is forking out the extra cash a good idea for Ryerson? Dave Vink, a third-year environmental health student, wouldn’t have it any other way.

“This is actually good for students,” said Vink, who plans this month to join his class in an appeal against an unsatisfactory professor.

Vink expects his appeal to be tough, because it may be difficult to prove his professor’s alleged lack of teaching commitment. He likes the security of having a back-up plan, just in case he’s not dealt with fairly.

The ombudsperson’s office is in Oakham House, room D. The ombudsperson’s 35-hour week will accommodate both day and night school students.

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