By Sarah Tomlinson and Thea Gribilas
Ryerson community members are wary about the effectiveness of a new vaccine policy, which leaves students who didn’t provide their vaccination status to the RyersonSafe app or website by Nov. 21 unable to access their winter timetables and restricted from adding courses.
As previously reported by The Eyeopener, all undergraduate, graduate and law students who remain non-compliant with Ryerson’s vaccination mandate will be removed from any in-person winter courses and may lose access to key Ryerson systems like RAMSS if they haven’t updated their status by Dec. 15.
The update added that the school will work to “to support the needs of students in exceptional circumstances, including international students and Canadian students living abroad, who may not be able to be fully compliant by these timelines due to vaccine access issues in home countries.” However, it notes that exceptional circumstances will be considered on a very limited basis.
In an interview with The Eye, Ryerson president Mohamed Lachemi said “[the] safety, health and wellbeing of all community members continues to guide the process and decisions will continue to align with public health agencies.”
Hazel Medham, a third-year journalism student, said she feels much safer knowing that Ryerson is requiring people to be vaccinated to be allowed on campus.
However, Medham said she doesn’t trust the RyersonSafe app to properly enforce vaccination mandates.
“Requiring students to provide that proof through a very faulty app is setting everybody up for failure,” she said. “If they want students to provide this proof they need to either fix the app or allow us to also submit through RAMSS.”
She added that the university should have security stationed at the entrances of buildings checking for people’s vaccine passports.
A graduate of Ryerson’s master of public policy and administration and current TA, who requested to remain anonymous out of fear of reprehension, said they disagree with the new policy.
“Students are not really faced with any other options than to vaccinate or obviously disclose their information. People that don’t disclose their information are outright banned from having a post-secondary education. That’s ridiculous,” they said.
Although they acknowledged that Ryerson is offering exemptions, they said such exemptions don’t apply to those who have singular beliefs or personal preferences. Instead, they think the university should have offered an online option.
“I understand not allowing unvaccinated students to come to campus but why not keep online classes around? Why actually completely coerce students by taking them out of RAMSS?” they said.
“The university claims to champion diversity, multiculturalism and inclusion, but this policy outright discriminates against a significant portion of the community and bars them [from] receiving education.”
For students who have requested a medical exemption from the school, they’ll still be required to indicate their vaccination status to RyersonSafe or risk not receiving their schedules.
Decisions on exemption requests will be released the week of Nov. 22.