Some students spend over two hours in transit getting to school.

Photo: Jake Scott

Students vote to nix 8 a.m. class

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By Jake Scott, Sierra Bein and Jackie Hong




Ryerson students may no longer have to struggle to wake up for 8 a.m. classes or deal with the unpleasant surprise of a pop quiz if the Ryerson Students’ Union gets its way.

Two motions passed at the RSU fall general meeting on Nov. 11 calling for the RSU to lobby Ryerson’s administration to put an end to unannounced quizzes, as well as classes that start before 10 a.m. However, the motions must now pass through a series of steps before becoming reality.

“The first [move] is to start talking to administration about what the feasibility looks like and develop a coherent [request] around the things that came out of our [fall general meeting] to senate,” RSU President Rajean Hoilett said.

Hoilett has been a commuter himself and said he had to travel almost two hours from Ajax to make it to his classes.

“I know for myself it wasn’t the most conducive thing to learning and 8 a.m. classes were something that you avoided like the plague,” he said.

The motions said that pop quizzes are “unfair and unreasonable to students” and described 8 a.m. classes as “extremely inconvenient for students, especially those who commute from hours away.”

Third-year mechanical engineering student Gorgis Gorgis commutes to school from Etobicoke and has four 8 a.m. classes this semester — three lectures and one lab. He said he would welcome the motion for later class start times.

“I don’t go to lectures,” Gorgis said, adding that he would prefer to attend classes but his commute, which can take up to an hour and a half, makes it difficult for him to show up on time. “I’m not getting all the materials, so I have to study by myself.”

But while ditching early classes in favour of a 10 a.m. start time might seem like an easy fix to dreary eyed commuters, it may prove difficult to actually implement.

“The challenge is that we have to be able to accommodate the schedule and with the number of hours and the number of classes we have. That’s already difficult,” Ryerson President Sheldon Levy said. “So I think it would be an enormous, enormous logistic challenge and I would think [it would be] impossible. We start early because there’s no other choice.”

Ryerson Registrar Charmaine Hack agrees. “In the absence of a substantial increase in classroom facilities, the reality is that 8 a.m. classes cannot be avoided,” Hack said in an email. She added that students have unsuccessfully requested for the end of 8 a.m. classes in the past.

Ryerson English professor Laura Fisher teaches classes that start at 8 a.m. She said she knows the early start puts extra stress on her students, especially commuters, but thinks it’s a necessary part of being at a growing university.

“We’ve been expanding dramatically and broadening our reach as a university in recent years and all of this is good for Ryerson students. 8 a.m. classes are just a part of that growth- it means we can accommodate more students in classes,” Fisher said in an email.

“I don’t think I would trade Ryerson’s growth as a university for an extra hour or two of sleep, however much I would enjoy it.”


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