By Emma Sandri
While Ryerson students strike in the cold November air Wednesday, business will be running as usual indoors.
In an interview with The Eyeopener, Ryerson president Mohamed Lachemi said that students will have to arrange their absence from class with their instructors, as students will not have “amnesty.” This means students could be penalized for missing class.
“We understand that students are concerned about changes to the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP)…and we appreciate their interest in taking action,” he said. “At the same time, universities are places for learning, and it’s part of [the] requirement for students to spend time in labs and studios, and in class.”
Initiated by the Ryerson Student Strike (RSS), the one-day strike will protest “Doug Ford’s cuts to OSAP, cuts to university funding and attacks on student organizing,” according to the group’s Facebook page.
The Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU) and the Continuing Education Students’ Association of Ryerson (CESAR), have partnered with the RSS to execute the strike—even though the RSU had previously voted not to publicly support the strike at a Board of Directors meeting.
Without students having amnesty, the strike will be in the form of a “soft picket,” according to an RSS Facebook post.
“A picket line is a human barrier where participants discourage entry to a workplace or school during a strike…Ryerson students will be holding soft picket lines, meaning no one will be forcibly prevented from entering campus.”
Earlier this year, Ryerson stated they would not cancel classes for the Global Climate Strike—even though the university said they supported the initiative.
Lachemi said he does not have the power to grant students amnesty, and that such a decision would be up to Ryerson’s senate.
“We are trying really to accommodate [students], but at the same time you have to run the university,” he said.
According to the RSS’ Facebook, picket lines will be “stationed” around campus from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m..In the post, the RSS said it is “unlikely” students will be penalized for missing class, citing the Quebec student strike as an example.