By Sierra Bein
When does omitting the truth become a lie? Transparency in any relationship is a tricky line to walk, especially when feelings are involved. This is the type of conversation I might have with friends about their romantic relationships, but I’d like a quick talk with you, the Ryerson student, about a similar line our university walks as well.
Transparency is important to build trust, and although you might not be romantically involved with our university, you still have a strong bond. You come to school every week to study, work out, eat and hang with your friends. You have the Ryerson name in your Twitter bio, and when you apply to jobs it’s the first thing you show off. Ryerson represents you and you represent Ryerson. On top of that you pay the university tens of thousands of dollars to be a student. Ryerson is my most expensive partner to date.
We’ve had good times, but every once in a while it feels like Ryerson isn’t telling us everything. Of course there are some instances in which the institution can’t tell us the whole story and that’s understandable—privacy laws and the privacy of individuals are important.
However, there are times when information is kept from us and it feels like we deserve to know more.
There are some incidents that are kept secret on a small scale—they won’t affect you or your day to day. The Eyeopener has kept up with the story of 11 players on the men’s volleyball team who were suspended, trying to nail down a reason as to why. Historically, it hasn’t been a problem to share this information. Although there are suspicions and rumours floating about, we’ve received an unusual amount of push-back from Athletics about what happened. Here’s how the conversation went down with the director of Athletics:
Eyeopener: Were any of the people involved in this under the age of 18?
Ivan Joseph: I’m not sure. It’s a good question.
Eyeopener: And can you say if it happened inside the province of Ontario or outside the province of Ontario?
Joseph: Ha, you’re doing a very good job.
Eyeopener: Thank you. But can you answer the question?
Joseph: Absolutely. This is what happened. I’ve answered it three times so I’ll answer it again. On a road trip, our student athletes violated the student-athlete code of conduct. When I found out, they were sanctioned. They admitted responsibility.
Eyeopener: I’m just asking you which province it happened in.
Joseph: Any other questions?
On a larger scale, Ryerson has been silent on other issues. Such as with the School Resource Officer (SRO) study that the university was supposed to do for the Toronto Police Services.
Despite the SRO program termination, Ryerson was supposed to produce a report reviewing it in January 2018 (as in this month). In return for our study, Ryerson was going to receive $80,000. But our university never put together a team, and we never received the money for the study. We haven’t been told why.
Now Ryerson’s Chang School will partner with Toronto police to help deliver modernized training to police members. Soon the confusion surrounding the SRO program will disappear, although our questions remain unanswered. Other examples from this year that come to mind are when we tried to get statistics from the Office of Sexual Violence Support and Education and when Ryerson security nearly stopped meeting with our publication for no reason cited.
I have no reason to think that Ryerson is doing anything but their utmost to represent students. In fact, I think people at Ryerson care more than most students even realize. It annoys me that we don’t get to know the full truth about this institution we pay to be a part of. (Also I’m a journalist and it’s my job to care).
So this week we ask that you care about the things you don’t know. There’s this thing called the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA) at Ryerson and at other institutions like the city, and other companies too. It’s a way to get answers to the questions the university might not answer right away. Of course, personal information is off the record, but there’s some cool things you can find through this process. If you have a question, hit us up, we’d love to help get some answers for you too.