Ryerson’s year in review

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The news team saw the good, the bad, and the just plain weird. Here are our picks for stories that defined the 2014-2015 school year.

Yup, Sheldon’s still pres    

The headhunters couldn’t find a replacement for the city builder. After 13 months of searching, executive search firm Spencer Stuart was unable to find a suitable president to take Sheldon Levy’s place.

On March 6, Ryerson announced that Levy would be staying for a term of up to two years due to the failure of the search. This threw a wrench in Levy’s plan to tour on his motorcycle this summer, but it’s a sacrifice he had to make. The announcement also killed the farewell party called Decade of Change. No new plans have been made for another farewell party as “Up to Twelve Years of Change” just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

Freeze the Fees    

The longest running and most visible campaign undertaken by the Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU) saw the erection of Tent City and the creation of an alternative budget. Freeze the Fees, spearheaded by Vice-President Education Jesse Root, was a polarizing force on campus. It was the spark that created anti-RSU group Rise for Ryerson and the inspiration for the satirical Freeze the Peas campaign. The RSU also drafted an alternative budget claiming the school could use part of what it called a $14-million “structural surplus” to halt tuition increases. Ryerson has said that this is not the case. The RSU will still present this budget to the Board of Governors at their annual budget meeting in late April.

The saga of the CRO  

This RSU election, The Eyeopener discovered that the Chief Returning Officer (CRO) Fatima Sajan, who was in charge of running the election, had sat on a York Federation of Students board with a current RSU staff member. This staff member was Gilary Massa, the RSU’s director of communication and outreach, who was one of two people responsible for hiring the CRO for the election. According to RSU bylaws, the CRO is supposed to be hired in conjunction with the current RSU president. RSU President Rajean Hoilett said he was not involved in the process. We’re also not sure if at any point they “hung out” or “chilled” during the election, because they wouldn’t tell us. Sajan’s post-election report accused the university of interfering with the election, which Ryerson denied.

New year, new building    

The largest development at Ryerson is impossible to miss. The gargantuan Student Learning Centre (SLC) cost $112 million and boasts eight floors of dedicated student space. Each floor is even colour themed to match your notebook. The building has been such a hit that even non-Ryerson students have come to take ad- vantage of the indoor tanning provided by the windowed wonder. It’s arguably the largest — and definitely the most visible — achievement of Sheldon Levy’s career so far at Ryerson. The SLC had its soft-launch on Feb. 23 and the official grand opening on March 31.

Sex assault policy    

Universities and colleges across the country launched reviews into how they handled sexual violence on campuses after a Toronto Star investigation revealed only nine in over 100 post-secondary schools had sexual assault policies. At Ryerson, Vice-Provost Students Heather Lane Vetere was put in charge of the review, which involved speaking to staff and students about their experiences on campus. Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne announced an action plan to combat sexual violence in March, which makes it mandatory for colleges and universities to adopt a sexual assault policy and renew it every four years with input from students.

Year of the fire truck     

There seemed to be a fire truck on campus every week this year at Ryerson. O’Keefe House burst into flames during the first week back for winter semester, causing $50,000 in damages. There was also a number of fire alarms on campus this year, and The Eyeopener reported that each time one of them goes off, Toronto Fire Services charges the school $410 per truck per hour. One alarm was set off because the temperature in Kerr Hall got so high that the heat sensor triggered the alarm. Heat, yo!

Rams soar at CIS    

Ryerson hosted the CIS Final 8 Men’s Basketball tournament — the school’s first time holding a national championship in any sport. Proving their status as the third-ranked team throughout the regular season was no fluke, the Rams finished the playoffs with bronze medals around their necks — the first time a Ryerson team has ever medalled at nationals in any sport. The city (and CIS marketing) went all out for the first ever Final 8 held in Toronto, with several high profile appearances and events throughout the week. It seemed to work: attendance totalled 16,874 for the 11-game, four-day event — a far cry from the days when Ryerson basketball games were only attended by players’ parents and partners.

A most curious election  

This year’s RSU election campaigns began with posters being ripped down and defaced, the number of director positions being confused and the starting date of elections being misreported. The confusion and miscommunication continued with the CRO taking days to respond to emails and answer candidates’ questions. But the election really got out of hand on the night votes were counted. Transform Ryerson scrutineers said they were told they were not allowed to travel with the ballots or stand in elevators with them. The CRO yelled at an Eyeopener news editor after allegedly changing election rules saying she could change bylaws if she felt like it. The Eyeopener has since had a hard time figuring out whether or not any of the candidates are emotionally traumatized by this clusterfuck. However, it has been confirmed that Eyeopener news editor Keith Capstick has been having nightmares about the election since its finish.

Blood on the MAC floor     

January was the most stab-happy month of the year with two separate incidents of assaults around the Mattamy Athletic Centre. Roderick McIntosh, 67, was arrested on Jan. 11 for second-degree murder after using a samurai sword on two men in a fight that occurred at an apartment at Jarvis and Carlton streets. It’s a rare and terrifying day for a news editor when they have a reason to put “samurai sword” in print. Fifteen days later, someone went on a Sunday morning stabbing spree that put three people in the hospital and left one injured. All four victims were random people going about their morning routine.

Rise of Transform    

For the first time in four years, the RSU election featured an entire opposition slate, Transform Ryerson, to the incumbent slate. The group was made up of a number of campus leaders from various faculty-related student societies and groups, most prevalently the Ryerson Commerce Society (RCS). The rise of the slate began with Rise for Ryerson, a group of students that protested the current RSU executives’ campaign to lower tuition fees and were also closely tied to the RCS. Rise eventually culminated in Transform, led by president-elect Andrea Bartlett, also a former executive member of the RCS. The election blitz was unlike any in recent years and resulted in them sweeping the executive positions.

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