By Sutton Eaves
Last Wednesday’s public debate on tuition hikes and deregulation was more of a monologue after one of the debaters didn’t show up.
Organizer Alex Lisman, RyeSAC’s v.p. education, waited 20 minutes for a representative of Ryerson’s Business Student Association to arrive at the Hub for the public debate before deciding to continue without him.
Lisman said the BSA’s absence is frustrating because the Great Debate Series was in part sparked by its complaint that RyeSAC presented a one-sided view of campus politics – a view that usually swings to the left.
“In an effort to present more than one side of these issues we decided to bring in internal and external people to debate these issues: tuition, fee deregulation, corporatization, privatization,” Lisman said.
The present debater, Joel Duff of the Canadian Federation of students, was given the hour to rally students in favour of tuition freezes and increased government funding.
At the end of his speech, students were invited to ask Duff questions. Out of the large lunchtime crowd, only one student stepped up to the microphone.
Lisman was not discouraged by the poor audience response. While he recognized that students at Ryerson aren’t participating, he didn’t think it was because they were apathetic.
“It’s indicative of how busy students are, trying to pay off all their fees and succeed in school,” said Lisman. “I think it’s so critical, though, for students to get involved. If you want to see changes, people have to stop just complaining and get involved, get active.”
Matt Kujawski, a first-year new media student, agrees. He says there are students who want to get involved, but are too busy with their classes and jobs.
“Lots of people here care, it’s just that they don’t always have the information. RyeSAC needs to make it more accessible, so people know how to get involved without having to put in too much effort to find out.”
Other students were less concerned about the cost of their education, and activism in general at Ryerson.
“Frankly, I don’t really give a shit,” said one student as he tossed his free ‘Freeze Tuition Fees’ pin into the garbage with the remains of his lunch.
The next debate in the series is tentatively scheduled for Nov. 7 in the Hub and will be about the implications of free trade on education.