By Rochelle Raveendran
On Sept. 22, Ryerson president Mohamed Lachemi announced he was appointing a task force to oversee all of Ryerson’s existing task forces. The announcement came just weeks after Lachemi appointed yet another task force to examine Egerton Ryerson’s history and its relationship to the university.
Lachemi explained that all current Ryerson task forces—excluding the task force tasked with supervising all task forces—will undergo a year-long investigation after submitting their final reports and recommendations. Task force appointees will be forcibly tasked with submitting all consulted sources to yet-to-be-appointed appointees, who themselves, he speculated, may foreseeably be tasked with submitting individual reports on their investigation methodology.
“We want to ensure this timely discussion isn’t buried under layers of bureaucratic jargon and delays,” said Lachemi.
A statement from the university described the new task force as a way to uphold Ryerson’s standards of ethics and diligence. “It took us just three years after the Truth and Reconciliation Commission released their final report on the history and legacy of the residential school system to install a plaque next to the statue. Apparently, this was not enough for our students,” read the statement. “We may not be able to avoid the issue anymore, but we can ensure that no drastic steps are taken just because White Fragility is now a Globe and Mail bestseller.”
Leaked notes from the first “Egerton” task force meeting revealed plans for a Netflix Party viewing of Avatar to learn more about colonialism as well as a Zoom panel with other North American universities, entitled: “Discussion: Is My Campus Namesake Too Racist Or Just Racist Enough?”
“We want to ensure this timely discussion isn’t buried under layers of bureaucratic jargon and delays”
First-year business student and heir to the Chipotle restaurant chain Garrett O’Garrett believes the task force for task forces will safeguard the university from taking unnecessary measures under pressure from “social justice warriors.” He added that he wanted The Eyeopener to note he has a Do The Right Thing poster on his bedroom wall.
“I literally just bought a $55 hoodie from the campus store that says ‘Ryerson University’ on it. What am I gonna do if they change the name? Get my tailor to remove the name, add a patch that says, I don’t know, ‘Louis Vuitton’ on it, and what, sell it to students for double the…I gotta call my dad’s lawyer,” said O’Garrett.
Not all students were as receptive to the announcement. Third-year politics student Lisa Patel said she wanted to punch a wall after reading the university’s statement, but only if the wall was not actually a wall, and instead was the person who wrote the statement.
Others are choosing to take matters into their own hands. The Ryerson Engineering Student Society made a bonus addition to their orientation activities for this Friday, called: “Frosh Continues: Let’s Topple Egerton!” According to the Facebook event page, the event is BYOB (Bring Your Own Backsaw) and will be “a fun opportunity for first-years to bond and work out together” under social distancing rules.
When asked whether the new task force is simply a stall tactic intended to further prolong an official university response to student activists’ demands, Lachemi rolled his eyes and took a defensive stance. “Of course it isn’t a stall tactic. I might have to create a task force to look into nosy students if you keep this up,” said Lachemi. “And maybe a task force to oversee that one, just in case they don’t do their job properly.”