Architecture students wants a refund

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By George Nassios

Landscape architecture students who missed two of their classes for more than a month because they had no professors want a chunk of their tuition back.

“I’m supposed to get 26 hours of classes a week,” said fourth-year student Rob Lau.  “I was getting 15 hours of classes per week.  I missed four weeks of classes and for that, the university owes me $287.08.”

Six students earning a bachelor of technology degree, with a specialization in landscape architecture, couldn’t attend LAR 034, a contemporary issues class, and LAR 043, a thesis class, because two professors fell ill late this summer and new ones weren’t hired until after Thanksgiving.

Lau came up with the figure of $287.08 based on the fact that he pays $2,524.39 for 21 to 30 hours of class per week.

He said 15 hours of class per week — which is what he had before the new professors were hired — his tuition should be $1,591.43.

The difference between the two amounts is $932.96.  He has 13 weeks of class each semester, so he said that means each week of missed classes costs $71.77.

Over four weeks, the total is $287.08.

Classmate Sandra Spudic, another of the students finishing the final year of the four-year program, is happy to have a full course load again and said it should only take a little while for students to catch up on the class work they’ve missed.

But she also thinks the six students deserve a refund from the university.

Diane Dyson, Ryerson’s acting ombudsperson, said getting a refund in a complicated process.  The students must first go through architecture chair Michael Miller, who has the power to grant a refund if there is room in the budget, Dyson said.

The Eyeopener made repeated attempts to get in touch with both Miller and program director Margery Winkler, but they would not return any phone calls.

If Miller does not agree to the refund, Dyson said, the students can go through the dean of their faculty, engineering and applied science.

A plea can also be made to the office of Errol Aspevig, Ryerson’s v.p. academic.

If all those options fail, the students can appeal to the ombudsperson, who acts as a liaison between students and the university.

Those who were enrolled in the classes aren’t the only ones being forced to play catch-up.

“It’s been really difficult,” said Ian Dance, one of the professors hired two weeks ago, along with John Consolati, to cover the vacant classes.  “The timing was difficult for me because normally I would prepare the course I was going to teach in the summer.”

Students are pleased Ryerson has hired Consolati and Dance, who both have experience when it comes to teaching architecture courses.

“I know that money is difficult and there isn’t a lot of it around,” says Dance, “but in the long run the information covered in the course is what’s important.”

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