Claude doit aller au RAC un peu plus. PHOTO: STEVE PETRICK

President on the hot seat at fireside chat

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By Steve Petrick

President Claude Lajeunesse got a little hot under the collar at his “fireside chat” Monday as he faced complaints from engineering and applied sciences students about inadequate space, availability of computers and large class sizes.

The forum held at Oakham House Cafe was the first of a series of chats Lajeunesse plans to have with students from every Ryerson program be the end of the school year.

Lajeunesse told some 20 students at the forum that once the purchase of the building at 111 Bond St. is finalized, more space should be freed up for engineers.

And while the president acknowledged there is a problem with the size of lab classes, he said having large regular classes doesn’t lower the quality of education.

“I don’t like it, but it doesn’t bother me in terms of quality,” Lajeunesse said. “As long as you can get the material and do the exams.”

Derek Northwood, the dean of engineering and applied sciences, said the school crams about 140 students in some labs that should only accommodate 20.

A few students took the fireside opportunity to tell Lajeunesse they believe the school should do more to promote their programs to high school students.

“I wasn’t convinced that [the university] was taking, as they were saying, a very pro-active approach,” said Ivan Flores, a fourth-year industrial engineer.

While most students felt the question-and-answer period was positive, they believe one meeting is not enough to initiate change.

“Overall, [Lajeunesse] has a positive attitude toward improving the school,” said fourth-year industrial engineer Karn Nagra.

“But he’s just one person. We need more people and more committees dedicated to making improvements.”

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