By Carolyn Wong
Students had a chance to voice their concerns over the restructuring of the harassment office, but only a handful showed up to do so.
The executive committee of the board of governors held meetings last Thursday and this Tuesday for public input after Wendy Roberts, manager for the past eight years of the discrimination and harassment prevention services, was let go on Aug. 16.
Her job has been combined with another to create the position of investigation officer and manager of harassment prevention offices.
The meetings were advertised in The Eyeopener, The Ryersonian, CKLN and around the campus.
Catherine MacKinnon, the equity issues commissioner at RyeSAC, was the first to speak to the executive committee last Thursday.
“I think that it is not in the best interest to have [combined the positions of investigation officer and manager of harassment prevention],” said MacKinnon, a second-year image arts student. “If you have two positions, it allows the duties to be shared by those two positions so that cases can be handled adequately.”
Following MacKinnon was another Ryerson student who requested his presentation be heard in private.
A lack of student involvement doesn’t necessarily mean students aren’t concerned, RyeSAC president Erin George said.
“If individuals don’t show up, it means that they believe it’s in capable hands,” George said. “We don’t expect everyone to attend every issue.”
She added students are represented through RyeSAC’s involvement.
Although most students are aware of the issue, some do not see enough of an impact on themselves to take action.
“Everybody that goes here is affected, but I don’t see a direct relation to myself,” said Scott Wilson, a first-year architecture student.
But RyeSAC and other unions in campus have taken action themselves.
The Coalition at Ryerson of Employee and Students (CARES) drew up a submission for the executive committee on how to restructure the harassment office.
The coalition — comprised of RyeSAC, the Ryerson Faculty Association, OPSEU, CUPE and CESAR — met with the executive committee Tuesday to discuss their submission.
In preparing the report, the group consulted other Ontario universities and found Ryerson’s harassment office is under-funded and under-staffed.
The coalition hopes to persuade the committee to provide the level of service the school deserves, said Michael Doucet, president of the RFA.
“The bottom line is we want a better Ryerson,” Doucet said.
The executive committee is to report to the board of governors Nov. 29.