By Julie Williamson
The Ryerson access centre has moved into its temporary home in the business building and hired a new staff, after a divisive year marked by internal squabbling and mass resignations. “We’re excited [that] now we have the staff that can give the leadership we needed last year,” said Marion Creery, director of student services.
Four new councellors – coordinator Tanya Lewis, learning disabilities specialist Bernard Heydorn, technology support worker Ann Thomas, and accommodation support staffer Susanne Hutchison – will replace access centre employees who resigned in protest last year. The problems erupted when the centre – which provides services to students with disabilities – reduced staff cut the amount of one-on-one support. But the shift was in response to student requests for additional computer resources, Creery said in an interview last March. The centre also moved over the summer to the basement of the business building from its former home at 55 Gould St., despite opposition from a coalition of business students’ groups.
The Gould Street lot was cleared to make way for the upcoming campus student centre. Lewis said she wants to have an ongoing evaluation of student services so they can be continuously improved. “The thing that’s important for me is that services reflect the interests and needs of students as much as possible,” she said. Lewis has a doctorate in community psychology and has worked with disabled people for most of her career. She worked at the Learning Disabilities Association of Ontario from 1992 to 1996, directing people to available resources.
Two-hundred and fifty students used the Access Centre last year. Jim Robins, a third-year business management student who uses the centre, said he is pleased with the relocation. “As a student, there’s more options,” he said. He finds the new computer lab available to students beneficial. “The new counsellors seem to be nice, friendly and generous. They’re stepping in stride,” he said.