SPACE-LESS STUDENTS SHOT DOWN

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By Alexandra Yeboah

Hundreds of social work undergrads don’t have a study space, despite a three-year battle with the school to get a lounge.

The union met with VP Administration Linda Grayson on Monday to present petitions, letters of support, and a proposal for taking over an engineering lab in EPH 237.

Grayson told the group there is no space at Ryerson, and no department would give up space unless it was available.

Not surprisingly, the engineering students who currently use the research lab say the space is “quite busy” and “essential” to their research.

Grayson said she would be willing to speak with Akua Benjamin, the director of social work, to address the issue. Eight of Ryerson’s 900 social work students met earlier on Monday in a cramped waiting area in Eric Palin Hall to talk about the problem.

“We’ve been running in Ryerson circles with the administration ever since school started,” said Henna Khawja, director of public relations for the Social Work Course Union. “It’s been a lengthy process for something that should be rightfully ours.”

And Al Kabia, the co-chair of the SWCU, said their current location is always crowded with classes and students.

“If we try to hold anything, professors will come out and say ‘hey, keep it down,’” he said.

When the school of social work was moved from the Podium building to Eric Palin Hall in 2005, it was given a “lounge” that was actually a tiny alcove in an open hallway.

To make matters worse, the new Master’s in Social Work program was awarded its own well-apportioned study space in the basement of Eric Palin Hall this year.

There are only 31 students enrolled in this program.

Ryerson has added 20 new master’s degree programs in the past year.

The SWCU says that Ryerson’s school of social work is the largest in Canada, and also the biggest program at Ryerson without a lounge.

Ibrahim (Abe) Snobar, the Ryerson Students’ Union’s VP student life and events has been helping the SWCU.

“It’s been a long-term problem, despite many attempts to deal with this,” he said. “By the end of the semester I would want to see this resolved.”

Heather Kere, the RSU’s VP education and a social work student, agrees.

“Lots of programs have a lounge space, and we don’t,” Kere said. “[We] definitely need this, especially with the nature of the program being networking and relationships.”

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