Animated anger at Rye

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By Graeme Smith

The URamine club feels it’s being screwed over — and nobody at Ryerson will say why.

“The level of bullshit we’ve gone through is unbelievable,” said Frank Aziz, URanime president. “Our experiences over the past year have been what can only be described as a year of hell.”

The club’s bookings in the Eaton Lecture Theatre in the Rogers building have been cancelled repeatedly since September, often at the last minute. It has crippled their schedule of Japanese animation (anime) film nights and forced them to turn away high-profile speakers.

Their most recent disappointment came this week, as a booking confirmed last year this Friday went missing from Facilities Rental records. The club was forced to cancel the show and tell a TV crew from SPACE: The Imagination Station not to show up.

This leave Aziz frustrated. “It’s embarrassing,” he said. “If we had broken the equipment or damaged the room in any way, I would understand. But this is ridiculous.”

Facilities Rental Coordinator Judi Irwin is responsible for bookings in the lecture theatre. She said she never heard about this Friday’s booking. “RyeSAC didn’t send me the paperwork,” she said.

But RyeSAC gave Aziz a receipt confirming the booking, Leatrice Spevack, campus groups administrator, said it’s unlikely RyeSAC screwed up. “RyeSAC would never stamp something confirmed unless it was,” she said.

Spevack is convinced the URanime group, one of Ryerson’s most popular clubs, is “the victim of discrimination.”

But Irwin said the club is the victim of circumstances. “Our first priority is always the students, but then when a big corporation comes in, what do you do? It’s not me that makes these decisions.”

The man who decides is John Corallo, director of university business services. He said groups are bumped from rooms depending on their size. “Larger groups should get priority,” he said.

Which leaves Aziz, president of a 400-member club, exhausted by bureaucratic hypocrisy. “I find all this completely dishonest and deceitful,” he said. “I just wish we could get on with our thing.”

Ryerson’s VP administration Linda Grayson said she sympathizes with the students, but “space is at a premium,” she said. “Even I get bumped sometimes.”


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