Lawyers, guns and money

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This summer Ryerson was hit with teacher lawsuits, more delays in construction and new provincial funding. The Eyeopener news team updates you on what you missed:

Image Arts continues construction with move-in date slated for Oct. 11

After over two years of construction and a one-year and one-month delay, the university has announced the Image Arts move-in date is slated for Oct. 11, 2011.

Last fall’s original opening date was axed after what President Sheldon Levy deemed “unforeseen problems.” The delay was extended further this year because the building’s original heating and cooling system broke during construction causing the need to reinstall the entire system.

Students in the school of image arts received schedules indicating that classes would take place in the building. In an e-mail sent by the school of Image Arts chair Alexandra Anderson, she corrected this by saying all classes set to take place in the IMA building would be moved to either the Victoria building or the Rogers Communication Centre. Kerr Hall South will also continue to house dark rooms.

With the staged move-in date set, the department will transition immediately to housing classes in the new building once it is ready.

Shortly after, darkrooms and the second floor studio will be available.

Production facilities, more classrooms and offices are planned to open later in the term.

Associate business dean James Norrie sues Ryerson for $575,000 for alleged ‘wrongful dismissal’

The associate dean of the Ted Rogers School of Management filed a lawsuit against Ryerson this summer, after he was banned from campus amidst allegations of harassment.

James Norrie is claiming the university breached his employee contract and damaged his reputation when it placed him on paid leave in March. The university began investigating Norrie following a number of staff complaints accusing him of “profanity directed at persons, ridiculing or belittling persons and other inappropriate action,” according to court filings. Norrie was told to stay off campus but was allowed to continue teaching one course because no replacement could be found.

Norrie is seeking damages totaling $575,000 and an apology in a national paper. Ryerson president Sheldon Levy declined to comment on the status of the lawsuit.

Norrie became a tenured professor in 2007 and signed a five-year contract as TRSM associate dean in 2008. Norrie taught in the department of Information Technology and was an active member in the Digital Media Zone and SIFE Ryerson. Norrie is well known for his stint on the first season of Dragon’s Den, when his interruption caused the Dragons to rip up a $200,000 cheque for a group of Ryerson entrepreneurs.

Ryerson receives $56.4 million in funding to open new health sciences building

Ryerson will receive $56.4 million in provincial funding for a new health sciences building which may include more residence spaces.

The building will include state-of-the art labs and will allow the university to increase its enrollment by 1,800 students, according to Ryerson president Sheldon Levy.

Levy said the university would be open to adding residences on the upper floors if it’s architecturally possible to build upwards.

“The health sciences building that is funded by the province of course doesn’t include residences but that doesn’t stop the university from using the density of that site to have residences on top of it,” Levy said, adding that the feasibility of the idea has yet to be determined.

The university has not decided on a location for the building yet but it is considering a site on the corner of Church and Jarvis Streets or the parking lot opposite the George Vari Engineering and Computing Centre.

The university is still in the early stages of planning and designs are not expected until next year.

Norway killer references Ryerson in manifesto

The accused Norway killer mentioned Ryerson University in a 1,583-page manifesto condemning multiculturalism.

Anders Breivik confessed to the bombing of an Oslo government building and the shooting at a youth camp on Utoya Island. The attacks occurred on June 22, killing 77 people.

The manifesto, titled “2083: A European Declaration of Independence,” explicitly mentions Ryerson: “The largest student group on campus, the Muslim Students’ Association, has monopolized use of the multifaith room. Eric Da Silva, president of the Catholic Student Association, said the group looked into using the room for mass but was told by RSU front desk staff that the room was ‘permanently booked’ by Muslim students.”

Da Silva, former president of the Catholic Students’ Association, commented on the dispute in an Eyeopener article in 2006.

It remains unclear how Ryerson appeared on Breivik’s radar, but the gunman frequented internet message boards with extreme right-wing tendencies.

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