DAMN THE RAM

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By Sneha Kulkarni

Golden Ram editor Chris Sano apologized to students and faculty at an open forum Tuesday in Jorgenson Hall.

Sano said he blames himself for the offensive and discriminatory material that appeared in the Nov. 25 edition of the student-run engineering paper.

“The reason I owe so many apologies is because I failed as an editor to review (the articles) as much as I should have,” he said before the speech.

Shawn Mondoux, Ryerson Engineering Student Society vice-president internal admitted at the forum that content was not reviewed before it was published. Associate Dean of Engineering, Zouheir Fawaz, said he stopped reading the Golden Ram years ago because of its questionable subject matter.

Complaints about offensive comments date back into the 1980s. “I felt that these are papers for students by students and we shouldn’t interfere,” he said.

But now the faculty realizes, he continued, that they need to take a more active role in promoting values towards women within the program. “What’s better than women in engineering? Engineers in women,” read the front page.

The paper also referenced “gangbangs”, “whore-o-scopes” and “queers.” The Women’s Centre and RyePRIDE took action by circulating an e-mail encouraging students to lodge formal complaints with the Discrimination and Harassment Office.

Ryerson President Claude Lajeunesse called the paper an embarrassment to students and faculty in a mass e-mail and CityTV and Global ran stories on the evening news about the paper’s questionable content.

“It goes a lot deeper than just some juvenile comments in a school paper. It creates a poisonous environment by justifying hate and violence against women and gays,” said Liz Diaz, co-ordinator of the Women’s Centre.

But Veronica Wojtis, a first-year Civil Engineering student, said she didn’t see what all the fuss was about. “I don’t take any offence to it,” she said. “If you knew these guys, it’s just them. It’s their brand of comedy.”

The Golden Ram will be working with the Discrimination and Harassment Office, RyePRIDE and the Women’s Centre to revamp the paper’s image. “It’s not just about editing more carefully,” Sano said. “It’s format, content, reputation – everything.”

The RESS will undergo mandatory equity training sessions, and the paper will have stricter content guidelines before next February’s issues, which will be dedicated to the Women’s Centre and RyePRIDE.

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