Three Angry Men

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Professor X

Ten Things I Hate About Ryerson University (try to imagine me saying this in Julia Stile’s voice, but without the crying at the end):

1. I hate 8 a.m. classes. Yes, this is for those of you who have to get up at 5:30 to catch the GO train in order to get to class on time. I feel your pain. I think I had 8 a.m. classes as a student, but I can’t remember them.

2. I hate that the grade submission deadline comes so soon after the end of the exam period. If I’m lucky enough to have an exam on the last day, I will have 21.6 minutes to read and evaluate each of those hand-written 3-booklet exams, provided I chain myself to my desk and read non-stop without eating or sleeping for two and a half days.

3. I hate teaching in Kerr Hall East on the side facing Church Street. While my respect for the employees of the city’s various essential services is enormous, having to work 30-second pauses of unpredictable frequency into my lectures as their siren-equipped vehicles pass is a problem. Between the traffic noise and the bad acoustics, I find myself shouting into the void without a hope of being heard and understood at the back.

4. I hate the glacial speed with which the teaching workload issue is being addressed. Ryerson hasn’t been a teaching-intensive Polytechnic Institute for over a decade, and yet teaching workloads have remained relatively high while research and graduate responsibilities have been added.

5. In case I didn’t make myself understood earlier, I really hate 8 am. classes.

6. I also hate having to explain to students that, no, it wasn’t MY idea to have class at 8 a.m. on a Monday.

7. I hate that the selection of food offered in Jorgenson Hall seems specially designed to kill me slowly.

8. I hate the traffic on Gould Street. Can’t we just put up some barricades and have it done with? It seemed to work quite well in Paris in 1871.

9. I hate the lack of space on campus – not enough classrooms and not enough student space tends to kill campus life. One day when a TA was using my office, I went in search of a place to sit and read for an hour and ended up at Salad King.

10. I hate the fact that all that’s left of the old Normal School building is part of its facade at the RAC entrance, and other assorted bits of decorative masonry scattered in the vicinity. Toronto wasn’t kind to its old buildings in the 1960s.

Number 10 was going to be the library – too small, too noisy, not enough books – but it seems that this problem is on its way to being addressed. I wonder if the extension can be built in the shape of the word “Rogers.”

Professor Y

I must say that I do not find your education to be a laughing matter.You will discover this for yourself when you try to use your degree to get a job and no one laughs.

I think we spend an inordinate amount of time complaining about what is, by and large, a proven success. However, as a professor, it is my job to ask questions. Let me plant one in your fertile minds. What do our professors think about the education Ryerson provides?

Actually, this is not a good question because it demands a “party line” answer involving words like “quality” and “student engagement” and other terms we haven’t quite worked out the meanings for. Instead, ask professors where they send their kids to university. It is a simple question and, I have found, quite enlightening. I encourage you all to ask the question to as many professors as you can find. Clearly Ryerson appears to be a popular place among students or they wouldn’t go here in the first place. You students put your money where your mouth is and take a chance, What do your professors do?

You may find some think “the grass is greener” at another university. These people will send their kids to other universities and spend their money to do it. To put this in perspective, by sending their kids somewhere else – foregoing Ryerson’s tuition waiver – a professor is giving up a benefit that is worth more than $30,000 after-tax per kid.

It never ceases to amaze me when I run into a colleague who is happy to spurn the perceived “quality” of the education that they are partly responsible for providing, yet see no contradiction in continuing to accept a pay cheque from Ryerson. You might wonder, as I do, what these professors are still doing here? At any rate, just ask the question.

Karon Liu, angry student

Oh Ryerson University, you are on hilarious institution that has kept the giggles flowing during the last four years of my undergraduate experience.

I grin whenever I think of how Ryerson doesn’t accommodate students who freelance or work at publications outside of school that teach everything you would learn in a semester’s worth of class within a week.

Expanding your portfolio is bad because it conflicts with being in a classroom where I’m taught how to use obsolete computer programs. That’s worth a chuckle.

But remember the time you had me in stitches?

You made me decide between accepting an immediate full-time job in my field and finishing my last year of university in order to have that degree that employers are supposedly looking for. Not a day goes by when I don’t think of that sunny August afternoon when I told my editor, “This is the job I want after I graduate but I still need to finish my degree.” That’s one line that’s sure to end up on a novelty T-shirt someday.

Two months later my belly almost burst from laughter, unleashing a scrumptious soup of internal organs, when I worked at the official campus newspaper with peers whose incompetence, apathy and laziness would have gotten them fired or laughed out of a real newsroom.

I bellowed a giant “Ha!” when my peers told me they deliberately pitched terrible story ideas knowing I’d have a better assignment to give them.

I also let out a huge cackle when they refused to work because they felt tired, even though I spent 15 hours at school fixing their incoherent sentences and poorly researched copy.

However, the final punch line was when I realized that these unqualified wastes of space would be earning the same degree as me.

Regardless of what happened in the last four years; regardless of how many journalism job titles I’ve had (seven); regardless of how many front-page stories I wrote that ran in national papers (three), come June I will sit in that convocation hall among the waves of dim-witted soon-to-be graduates to receive the same damn piece of paper that everyone would get and hang it on the same damn spot in our living rooms where we will all reminisce about those same damn four years. Side-splitting stuff isn’t it? Don’t you just want to take an axe and have at it?

Oh Ryerson University, please don’t change your ways. The world needs laughter and your Bachelor of Journalism pgrogam is an invaluable BJ of amusement that will always bring me to tears.

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