The Eyeopener — November 14, 2012
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Volume 46 - Issue 10 November 14, 2012 theeyeopener.com Since 1967
Breaking down the barriersRyersons transformation to be more trans-inclusive
coverPHOTO: MARISSA DEDERER
LGBT in campus sportsP16PHOTO: NATALIA BALCERZAK
PHOTO: MARISSA DEDERER
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RSU adds multifaith spaceBy Diana HallPHOTO: DASHA ZOLOTA
RSU President Rodney Diverlus.
RSU election promises: Where are they now?By Hayden KenezThe current students union, led by President Rodney Diverlus, won a decisive victory last February in the Ryerson Students Union (RSU) elections, enjoying a sweeping win over a virtually non-existent opponent. They also inherited a clear but extensive mandate to rejuvenate student life on campus. Promises made by Students United during their campaign included working towards lowering tuition costs, improving the quality of food on campus, extending the closure of Gould Street east to Church Street and increasing transit discounts for commuting students. However, the students union has struggled to implement some of their more lofty ambitions. They promised a more affordable, accessible post-secondary education system, reforming the seriously flawed work study program that Diverlus says discriminates against the poorest of the poor. Another issue was garnering financial support from provincial politicians who were happy to make promises for post-secondary contributions during the 2011 provincial elections, but have been reluctant to implement any significant reductions to student expenses. Our ultimate goal is seeing a fully-funded, fully-accessible system where how much money you make doesnt dictate your education. Thats the goal, Diverlus said. But I acknowledge at the end of the day, I wont be able to do that [in the near future]. Melissa Palermo, vice president education, agrees that the financial situation of post-secondary education has gone effectively unchanged in past years. Despite lobbying provincial politicians, organizing student protests and encouraging the Ryerson Board of Governors, which makes financial decisions for the school, to make decisions that better reflect the needs of students, tuition fees have continued to rise and politicians still refuse to make any definitive commitments to more affordable education. Palermo recently travelled to Ottawa as a delegate of Ryersons Student Action Committee, at which she introduced to MPs a National PostSecondary Education Act. The act comprised of eight points that offered suggestions for problems such as student debt, increasing funding for aboriginal students through the postsecondary student support program, more funding for graduate students and addressing issues faced by international students. As for the success of such missions, Palermo says that it hasnt produced any tangible results. However, she considers the exposure crucial for any permanent change. We definitely shared knowledge with them that many of them havent necessarily heard and I think that thats really important, says Palermo. As for work-study reform, the stringent requirements and allegedly discriminatory policies may remain unchanged indefinitely. Diverlus has lobbied to end the OSAP requisite for work-study eligibility, saying that accessing OSAP isnt indicative of a students financial situation. Its very hard to assess students needs based solely on one assessment that doesnt take into account a lot of different factors, says Diverlus. Everyone knows theres a problem. Diverlus says that senior administration has committed to making reforms to work study eligibility, but doesnt know when or how it will be executed. The development of a studentowned, student-operated restaurant within the new Student Learning Centre currently under construction at the corner of Yonge and Gould streets remains a priority. If approved, the new facility would operate much like Oakham House Caf; offering students sustainably sourced, locally grown food and drinks. Diverlus submitted the application last year and is still awaiting approval. He expects plans to be finalized by the end of this year, as construction will soon require a finalized plan from the school. Its very ambitious, says Diverlus. Were capitalizing on the fact that theres a lot of dissatisfaction with food quality on campus.
The theatre school pays tribute to a fallen student as it celebrates his legacy through a new award
He was the soul and spirit of the theatre schoolBy Sean Wetselaarand classmates, and the decision to create a memorial scholarship came at the prompting of parents of the students. It was incredible, Massoud said. [Sarmad] did have so much life and pride in everything that he did, and he just had a wonderful heart. Lynn Davis, a parent instrumental in the awards creation, and the presenter of the award said the decision to pursue an award came after the final show Iskandars classmates put on last year, shortly after his death, which was highly emotional. Davis said the process to create the award was quite short. Its remarkable, Davis said. Working with the school has been wonderful. There were no barriers [to create the award]. Presentation of the award to Massoud followed an emotional video featuring Iskandars classmates. The video tribute highlighted fond memories of Iskandar, including his laugh, his music (he played the trum-
Its been almost eight months since the death of theatre school student Sarmad Iskandar, but his classmates are still grieving as the first annual Sarmad Iskandar Memorial Award was awarded Tuesday to Iskandars long-time classmate Mena Massoud, his best friend throughout high school. He was the soul and spirit of the theatre school, Massoud said. He just brought so much light. Early in the morning on March 16, Iskandar, then a third-year acting student, drowned near Queens Quay. Iskandar would later be pronounced dead in the hospital. He was 21. The tightly knit community at the Ryerson Theatre School rallied immediately around Iskandars friends
Mena Massoud accepting the award. pet and sung), and the friendship and spirit he brought to the school. The pain of losing him is still so raw, Davis said. For a parent, for a family, there is no greater grief. Sarmads classmates understand that grief because in their time at Ryerson they have become family. The award will be presented to an acting student every year who embodies Iskandars qualities, including
PHOTO: SEAN WETSELAAR
his joy, energy, comedic timing and love of music. Jordan Campbell, one of Iskandars classmates, summed up the groups feelings in a video produced by Cassie Mitchele. If talent is measured by the amount of joy and happiness that you bring other people, then Sarmad was and remains to this day one of the most talented people.
The Ryerson Students Union (RSU) has reached a tentative agreement with Ryerson University to construct a second multifaith room on campus. According to RSU President Rodney Diverlus, the agreement will be signed by the end of the Fall 2012 semester. The additional space will give students and student groups the opportunity to attend Ryersons multifaith room on a drop-in basis, while the new location would be primarily used to book larger groups. The move to create another multifaith room is a response to what Diverlus called the pressures of space on campus. This is something that came out of a long history of struggle with the university to find a multifaith space at a time in which spaces were popping up on campuses, because theres a philosophy and a belief that at the end of the day, a school and a university setting shouldnt just be a place for academics, Diverlus said. As more students join faithbased groups at Ryerson, the need for a community space to practice has outgrown the single rooms capacity. It just happens to be the nature of how faith-based groups are active, Diverlus said. They meet regularly and [because of] the nature of the events that they do, they need to meet, they need to be together. Its not just something that you can do online. Diverlus noted that the RSU researched how other post-secondary institutions including Seneca, Dalhousie and the University of Toronto have managed the demand for space among the various faithbased student groups. The University of Toronto, for example, hosts several multifaith spaces scattered throughout campus. Diverlus points to the schools stand-alone multifaith centre as an appealing long-term endeavour. The building consists of five rooms that are available for various types of spiritual practices. A motion to gain RSU support for a campaign on more student space passed unanimously at the RSUs semi-annual general meeting last November. It is unknown when the second multifaith space will be ready for use.
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Editor-in-Chief Lee Professor Dent Richardson News Sean Capungo Tepper Sean Jack Strap Wetselaar Associate News Diana Dr. Tynan Hall Features Carolyn Tee Hee Turgeon Its no surprise that Ryersons campus is limited in terms of physical space. However security has a different idea, referring to the university as huge.PHOTO: DASHA ZOLOTA
A certain perception of campus space could lead to problems when Ryerson expands into new buildings
Biz and Tech Astoria Fekkesh Luzzi Arts and Life Susana Col Toro Gmez Bez Sports Charles May Day Vanegas Communities Victoria Bob Conley Stunt Photo Marissa Necros Dederer Dasha Imposter 00 Zolota Associate Photo Stine Ed Killifer Danielle Fun Kai Braun Benson Media Lindsay Boris Grisehnko Boeckl Online Mohamed Mr.