By Amy Sharaf
It may have been held in a new building, but those in attendance heard mostly old news at this year’s State of the University speech given by Ryerson President Claude Lajeunesse last week.
The speech, held last Thursday in the new engineering building, outlined major, yet recurring, themes including funding, tuition and faculty workload.Lajeunesse’s speeches have referred to these issues since 2002, but little has changed to solve the problems.
Lajeunesse has discussed faculty workload in speeches for the past three years. This year was no different. “We must ensure that all of our faculty members have workloads comparable to their colleagues in the university community,” Lajeunesse said in his speech.
However, RFA President David Checkland said the comments made this year are more in-depth than past years. “This time [Lajeunesse] has taken it a little bit further and we’re encouraged by that,” he said. “We would like to see the whole matter systemized and made clearer what workload expectations are reasonable.”
Last year the number of unfunded students was 2,000. That number rose to 3,000 this year and cost Ryerson $16 million in lost funding. Lajeunesse said this was deplorable.
In this year’s speech, in response to a question Lajeunesse said he did not feel tuition fees were too high. In the 2002 speech he said a tuition freeze would not be possible.
RyeSAC Vice President Education Rebecca Rose said she wasn’t happy with Lajeunesse’s response to the tuition question. “It’s very disappointing for Claude Lajeunesse to say he thinks the fees are not too high,” she said.”It shows a disconnect between the president and students because students are constantly saying that they are struggling with student debt and high tuition fees.
“For a president to deny that truth is ignoring the student voices.”