Reporters were out in force on campus this week, standing in front of an empty lake. PHOTO: Lee Richardson

Opinions on Engineers

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By Lee Richardson

How many news stories based on weather can you read? To be honest it doesn’t really matter how many, because the media doesn’t care about you and it’s going to cover the rising temperatures anyway.

Weather stories are common this time of year. They’re easy to do, because the weather is always there.

In that regard, the weather is like people’s opinions – always there.

This week, those ever present opinions decided that weather coverage is taking a back seat to an incident being covered through the media. That incident? Engineering students crawling through ice and slush while wearing underwear.

On the surface, the story seems as harmless as a weather story. But things have escalated, with Ryerson president Sheldon Levy and Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne issuing statements of concern.

Despite the surpisingly heavy coverage the story has been given, the situation boils down to: Was the event a form of hazing, and does it matter? I could easily throw my opinion into the ring, but I don’t know all the facts, so I won’t. And besides: constantly referring to an incident as hazing will turn it into an incident of hazing, even if it wasn’t.

So instead of highlighting what Levy or Wynne, or a number of reporters, feel about the incident, I’m going to stay objective and hand it over to Twitter – now a reporter’s tool of gauging public opinions.

· “This whole #Ryerson #hazing incident is stupid. These ppl are smart enough to be in engineering, so let them live a little! Who cares!” (@me11y)

· “these kids need to learn self respect, idiots” (@blainer88)

· “They crawled across a pond in their underpants not commit murder everybody calm down #ryerson” (@niallerstyles_)

· “Well #Ryerson’s reputation is kinda ruined now”(@_SGORDON)

· “university students are doing a lot worse things #leave #ryerson #alone” (@andrream)

· “So – #Ryerson #EngineeringStudents have a very public initiation ceremony (unlike private #HazingRituals) – and someone noticed? #HowUnusual” (@WBrettWilson)

·· “@680News @Kathleen_Wynne NOT hazing! Don’t misconstrue kids having crazy VOLUNTARY fun with hazing #Ryerson (@KimMacd1971 )

· “#Ryerson’s engineering initiation pales in comparison to other things I’ve seen.” (@SPLavoie)

· “I really dont see the point of that #Ryerson hazing “ritual” mean people actually volunteer to do that?.. fascinating.” (@originalkamil)

· “And these people are supposed to smart. #Ryerson” (@melcpj)

· “THIS IS NOT A BIG DEAL. #Ryerson” (@jerryagar1010)

· “Sheldon Levy @RyersonU – as an alum, I’m shocked by your response to the RESS event. Unacceptable behaviour? Yes, but it’s yours. #Ryerson” (@ mikeevans)

· “Oh those wacky engineers. What WILL they do next?” (@janeschmidt)

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