By Andrea Maclean
If you were at the Ram in the Rye on March 27, you gave permission for Rogers Wireless to take your picture. In fact, the photo could be used on student groups’ Facebook pages and in promotional brochures.
Rogers was sponsoring the Old Skool Hip Hop Night, a party at the Ram hosted by Sid Naidu, incoming VP Student Life and Events at the Ryerson Students’ Union.
Naidu didn’t return the Eyeopener’s request for an interview.
A handful of posters on the walls of the bar informed patrons that by being there, they consented to Rogers taking their picture.
“We take pictures at the events for internal use by the student groups,” said Philip Camino, Rogers’ director of marketing for Ontario, who said that the company works with student groups to sponsor and support their events. In this case, the company partnered with several campus groups, including the Ryerson Students’ Union and the Commerce Society, to back the event.
Camino said Rogers works with Ryerson about two times a semester. Besides free give-aways, like the gum given out at the pub night, the company also take pictures for the student groups. These pictures are often posted by the student groups on Facebook and other promotional purposes.
But, according to Camino, Rogers doesn’t even see the pictures.
“At no time are the pictures used by Rogers to promote a product or event,” he said. “We would never use pictures like that in any form of promotional activities. They are only used by the groups for their internal purposes.”
If students are concerned, they should think harder about how they understand their public space, said sociology professor Doreen Fumia.
“I think the question is ‘what kind of events do we hold at the Ram in the Rye?’ and ‘who do we want to [create partnerships] with,” she said, adding that the idea plays into a broader moral panic over what could appear on Facebook.
If anyone is concerned by the actions, Fumia said they should speak out or this kind of thing becomes normalized.
Abe Snobar, current VP student life, said Rogers doesn’t usually sponsor events at the pub. “It’s a rare occasion where you see Rogers during the pub nights,” he said. He declined to comment further.
First-year Business Management student Amy Geisberger says that it doesn’t bother her that her picture might be taken and used by student groups. “If you don’t want it, don’t be there,” she says. “It’s your choice.”