By Sean Tepper
Over the past few years, Ryerson University has garnered a reputation for being a social innovator and community builder. Through president Sheldon Levy’s vision, Ryerson has prided itself on bettering its urban campus for its students while always making it a point to be more accessible to the average Torontonian.
As most of you may have noticed, last week’s Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) saw a number of Hollywood’s A-list celebrities grace our humble campus.
Alongside these stars were dozens of national and international media outlets covering everything from press conferences, to movie screenings to red carpet events.
For 10 days, dozens of photographers and reporters crowded perpetually in front of Ryerson’s theatre.
While reporters from The Toronto Star, Globe and Mail, CTV and a number of other major media outlets were all accounted for, the university’s campus media was nowhere to be found.
For 10 days, we were left to our own devices to figure out how to cover this event for our more than 10,000 weekly readers. We sent photographers out to the Ryerson theatre, but without any press privileges they were reduced to waiting amongst the rabid fans, hoping that no one would step in front of their lens.
I know – boo-hoo, right? Well, don’t go calling us crybabies just yet.
In early July, The Eyeopener filled out a number of media request forms for this year’s edition of TIFF. As Ryerson’s largest student newspaper I thought we were a shoe-in to land press passes. We even made it a point to only ask for access to Ryerson-related events, because that was what our readers wanted.
While we did manage to secure a few tickets to some press screenings (check out page 11 and theeyeopener.com for our movie reviews), we were shunned from the red carpet events that were being held on our campus.
While TIFF has graced campus for more than a decade, The Eyeopener has seldomely received media access to the event.
On Monday, Ramisha Farooq, one of our news editors, asked Levy why we were unable to get press credentials for the TIFF events on campus.
His response: the school rents out the space and it is out of the university’s hands.
For a university that houses a number of renowned media programs and is generally quite supportive of them, I was shocked to hear this response because I refuse to believe that nothing can be done.
Surely, if Ryerson is renting out space on campus they can find a way to support their campus media and get them onto the red carpet for some photos. I mean would it be that scandalous to get two extra passes (one for The Eyeopener and one for The Ryersonian) amidst the dozens of other media outlets or are we going to have to feel like amateurs for many more years to come?
“The fact that we are staring at media and not a part of them made me feel like a pseudo fan girl,” said Natalia Balcerzak, one of The Eyeopener’s photo editors.
She added that combined, our photo team waited close to 40 hours outside of the theatre in the hopes of getting shots worthy of publication.
So there you have it, Ryerson, that’s my rant for the week. I understand that I may come off as a crybaby but seriously, you claim to be supportive of your students but the second that money is exchanging hands you throw your hands up in the air.
It’s time to put up or shut up.
Either you support your students or you don’t. There are no half measures.