Ryerson’s president won’t comment on student strike numbers

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By Emma Sandri

Ryerson’s president said he would not comment on whether or not 200 votes was enough to decide whether Ryerson students should strike.

On Sept. 25, a vote to hold a one-day student strike at Ryerson­—to protest Doug Ford’s cuts to education­—passed after a general assembly was held in the Sheldon and Tracy Levy Student Learning Centre amphitheatre.

Before the vote took place, Hermes Azam, a spokesperson for the Ryerson Student Strike (RSS) and former president of Socialist Fightback at Ryerson, said only Ryerson students were allowed to vote. 

It is unclear who among the attendees were Ryerson students.

When asked if a vote of 200 students was enough to decide on whether or not a student strike should take place, Ryerson president Mohamed Lachemi said that he would not “make a comment on the number.” 

“That’s a very difficult question, [it’s only] 200 out of 45,000 students,” he said. 

“I understand our students concerns about the changes being made to [the Ontario Student Assistance Progam (OSAP)] and I appreciate their interest in taking action.”

“You cannot just miss class and expect nothing will happen”

But Lachemi said that he “always reminds” students that universities are a place of learning, and they are required to attend their classes and labs.  

Lachemi said that it is important for the RSS to make sure they can coordinate the strike with instructors and faculty. 

“You cannot just miss class and expect nothing will happen.” 

At the assembly on Sept. 25, Azam said that while he counted over 200 people in attendance at the beginning of the assembly, “it’s hard to say how many people were there right at the main moment of the strike [vote].”

The Eyeopener emailed Azam to ask if there was a system to ensure the voters at the assembly were Ryerson students, but he did not respond in time for publication.

The strike is expected to take place on Nov. 6. 

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