Final-year students express concern over the university name on their degree

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By Gabriela Silva Ponte

It has been over four months since Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) announced its name change, but the process is not yet complete.

Though the university has changed some signage across campus and is selling TMU merchandise in its campus store, the name is not yet legally in effect. 

For this change to be complete, the Ryerson University Act would have to be amended—something only the provincial government can do. 

The university states in its Frequently Asked Questions page online that it registered the name immediately, allowing the university to operate under it and are awaiting government approval for the legislative amendment in the Ryerson University Act.

“It would be extremely disrespectful of the legislative assembly and the provincial government if they stalled the TMU name change”

In an emailed statement to The Eyeopener, TMU said at this time, there are no government updates on when this might happen. 

According to Kristyn Wong-Tam, MPP for Toronto Centre—the riding the school resides in—the university has not reached out to them specifically about this. 

Wong-Tam said the name change was robust and thus the university should not have any problems in receiving legislative approval. 

“It would be extremely disrespectful of the legislative assembly and the provincial government if they stalled the TMU name change,” said Wong-Tam. 

They added that Toronto’s city council will also be embarking on a journey of name changes, with Dundas Street taking priority. 

The Eye reached out to the Minister of Colleges and Universities, Jill Dunlop, but did not receive a response.

If legislation is not passed by the time the class of 2023 graduates, their diplomas will still say “Ryerson University.”

Fourth-year politics and governance student Kristina Kisin said that if this is the case, she will feel like she got a degree from a university that no longer exists. 

“In five, 10 years time, it will be known as Toronto Metropolitan University, not Ryerson University anymore,” she said. “If it just ends up being ‘Ryerson University’ on the degree and that’s what I tell employers, I have a worry that they will not know the university.”

Scott Denby, a history student hoping to graduate this December, said he has a fear it would later overcomplicate his education or job applications. 

“As far as I know, the school is currently called Toronto Metropolitan University,” he said. “That’s the website I log into, the signage I see on the street. I would like to get my diploma with the same logo as what I graduated from.”

Kisin said, if possible, she would like to have both university names on her diploma, “because then that diploma would reflect both names that I experienced throughout my journey.”

“If it just ends up being ‘Ryerson University’ on the degree and that’s what I tell employers, I have a worry that they will not know the university”

In a statement, the university said that if the name change does not happen before convocation, students can either choose to take a Ryerson University parchment or wait to receive a TMU parchment once the act has been amended.

Students who choose a Ryerson University parchment will have to pay if they opt to have it reprinted as Toronto Metropolitan University.

TMU announced on their Graduation Award Document Reissues page that if students who have previously graduated would like to change the name on their diploma, the cost will be $70. 

The university did not specify on the page if an exception would be made for the graduating class of 2023. 

“Graduated students or alumni having to pay this fee seems a little absurd, considering how large of a budget the university already has on the whole rebranding,” said Kisin. 

Denby agrees. “Although the rebranding was positive, the students did not have a voice in this,” he said.

“I didn’t have control over whether the school was going to change its name,” said Denby.

According to the university, there was no vote on the new name because it is not a “popularity contest,” but rather part of a deliberate and delicate process. One of the most recent universities to have their name changed through legislation was Ontario College of Art and Design (OCAD) University.

The legislation for OCAD was introduced on April 27, 2010, to add “University” to the official name.

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