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By Vanessa Greco

Beyond the softer side of Sears

This April marks six months of legal conversation over a lawsuit between Ryerson and Sears Canada.

“We’re still in settlement discussions,” said Julia Hanigsberg, Ryerson’s general counsel and lawyer handling the case. “The wheels of justice turn slowly.”

Talks have been on-going since November 2007, when Sears sued Ryerson over the naming of the George Vari Engineering and Computing Centre. The Canadian retailer argues that in exchange for a $10-million donation, Ryerson agreed to name an academic facility after them. Instead, they got a plaque.

While Hanigsberg is confident they can resolve the issue outside the courtroom, Sears Canada legal counsel said court is a possibility, “If settlement talks do not proceed to a point where Sears is satisfied.”

Remembering Adele Turcotte

Ryerson Student Housing plans to fill Adele Turcotte’s sixth floor room in Pitman Hall next school year. The room has been vacant since Dec. 6, when a residence advisor discovered Turcotte’s body in her bed around 4:15 p.m. The first-year fashion student died the night before from complications related to her Type 1 diabetes.

Friends of the Turcotte family created two student awards in her memory. The School of Fashion and the School of Nursing will establish new awards in September.

Housing chokehold on RA assault case

Housing services remains tight-lipped about what happened to a residence advisor accused of throttling a student on the fifth floor of Pitman Hall.

In January, first-year urban planning student Mike Davis said he was choked by an RA, tugging on the back of his shirt, leaving visible marks on his neck.

“None of Ryerson’s housing staff has been fired this year,” said Glen Weppler, manager of student housing services, who refused to comment on the situation. It is rumoured among students in residence that the RA has been transferred to the International Learning Living Centre.

Davis declined to comment.

Stashing the Sam’s sign

A private company will remove and restore Sam the Record Man’s landmark sign until the school can find a permanent location for it. Construction plans to build a Student Learning Centre on the former Sam the Record Man and Future Shop property included removing the iconic sign, which is a preserved heritage site. Ryerson purchased the Yonge and Gould Street locations in January along with a parking lot on Church Street and a small office building at 110 Bond St.

VP Finance and Administration Linda Grayson said Ryerson made the last two purchases for landbanking purposes. “The idea is to hold onto these properties in case we need them in the future.”

Ryerson vs. the Internet

Chris Avenir won’t appeal Senate’s decision to penalize him for administrating the “The Dungeon/ Mastering Chemistry Solutions” Facebook group. The first-year engineering student avoided expulsion, must attend an academic integrity tutorial by the end of the Fall 2008 term and will have a disciplinary notice placed on his transcript. As well, he received a zero on the assignment in question, lowering his mark from a B to a C+.

Avenir’s only concern is the disciplinary notice, which he feels will make it difficult to pursue an internship in the future. “Appealing that would mean appealing the entire charge. Right now, I just want to focus on exams,” he said.

The CKLN turmoil

CKLN is moving towards having more student programming with better time slots, said station manager Mike Phillips.

“We exist in the Student Campus Centre. Students contribute to a significant portion of our costs, they should get a significant amount of programming,” he said.

When Phillips became station manager in November he inherited a station mired with a messy past of volunteer complaints and employee infighting. Problems continued this year after the controversial hiring of program director Tony Barnes.

Shortly after, the station’s funding co-ordinator, as well as the RSU representative Samih Abdelgadir, unexpectedly left CKLN’s board of directors. Currently, there is no RSU representative on CKLN’s board of directors.

For now, Phillips wants to increase advertising revenue, in hopes of increasing the employee wage scale. Also, there are talks of increasing the number of staff members and reviewing station bylaws. But Phillips said that his main goal is an increase in student programming.

“We don’t have to lose our connection with Ryerson,” Phillips said. “We are a campus station before we are a community station.”

The nutty professors

Electrical engineering professor Fei Yuan will be returning from a sabbatical to take his class back a fill-in instructor whom students said was incompetent.

When Yuan took his time off, Dominic DiClemente, a PhD student who used to be a teaching assistant for the advanced engineering course, took the reins as instructor. Several fourth-year electrical engineering students said he was promoted too quickly.

DiClemente, who holds a bachelor of engineering degree from Ryerson, was one of Yuan’s undergraduate students and did a one-year thesis with the professor.

Despite complaints about DiClemente’s performance, he has since received an office and designated hours.

But fourth-year electrical engineering student Peter Kure said students are still struggling with instructor and course material.

Kure argues that while DiClemente is very knowledgeable, students do not have his full attention because he is focusing his energy on obtaining his PhD. Yuan has not heard any complaints or seen DiClemente teach as a course instructor, but, “as a teaching assistant he was fantastic.”

DiClemente declined to comment.

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