Ryerson wasn’t always the commuter school we love to rant about. Each week, the Eyeopener unearths the stories that shook up campus in decades past.
Jan. 10 to Jan. 16
Student politics: messy from the beginning
- A student government constitutional crisis is finally resolved on Jan. 13, 1950. John Vail is elected student president, winning 262 out of the 390 ballots cast. In previous weeks, the former president, Bud Evans stepped down from his post. According to the Ryersonian, “wildfire controversy had rocked the campus for weeks before the election,” with the student body debating whether Vail, who was originally vice-president, should simply be promoted to the top job. The student council turned to the constitution for help — only to find out one didn’t exist yet. In the end, Principal Kerr (sound familiar?) decided an election was the best way to proceed.
Ryerson, pissing people off since 1953
- A disgruntled citizen sent a letter to the Ryersonian on Jan. 14, 1953. In it, he complained about the filthy language used by students, writing, “The people here don’t seem to realize that some day they might need the One whom they curse.” (Yes, the ‘One’ is capitalized in the original note.) The letter ends with a poem to convince men that swearing is wrong. Just men, mind you. First two lines of the poem, written by R. Barr from South Africa: It’s cruel, lad, and something worse/To use Christ’s Name in idle curse.
- The top story in the Jan. 10, 1968 edition of the Daily Ryersonian was about a fire that kicked 30 Ryerson students out of their George Street building for a few hours. It somewhat resembles this story about the Wellesley Street fire last year. People evidently had odd priorities in the late 60s — one student jammed his contact lenses into his eyes before he ran out of the building “in odd shoes without socks.” Another decked himself out in his best suit before fleeing the fire. His excuse? The suit was the most valuable thing he had.
- On Jan. 15, 1981, the Eyeopener reported that 40 students were being “relentlessly shunned from social events on campus.” Why? The government raised the legal drinking age to 19, effectively banning those 40 students from hangout spots like the Filling Station pub and rooms in Oakham House. Guess health class was wrong and you do need alcohol to have fun.
Source: Ryerson Library Archives
Photo illustration: Chelsea Pottage