The Eyeopener3 Wednesday, January 12, 2011NEWS
BY GRAHAM SLAUGHTER
Student sues students’ union over health plan
BY JEFF LAGERQUIST
The Ryerson Student’s Union willappear in small claims court in early2011 to determine if second-yearengineering student and former RSUpresidential candidate Mark Single isentitled to the $290 in his tuition feesallocated to the RSU Members’ Healthand Dental Plan.“We plan to respond based on thepolicy that has been established byour board of directors,” said RSU presi-dent Toby Whiteld. The student policy offered byGreen Shield through the RSU in-cludes 80 per cent of prescriptiondrug costs, $500 for massage therapy,$300 for chiropractic care, and $240in physiotherapy, as well as basic den-tal and travel coverage to a maximumof $750 per year.“I should have the freedom tochoose how I take care of my personalhealth,” said Single, whose opt-out re-quest was declined.Students with coverage througha family member or spouse have theopportunity to opt out of the planand recover the fee if they have “simi-lar benets,” according to the link onthe RSU website. Single submittedan out of province health insurancepolicy and expressed his intention topersonally pay for additional expens-es. However, he was unable to provethat he is sufciently covered and hisrequest was declined.Single isn’t convinced that heneeds coverage for items like customfoot orthotics.“OHIP covers all the basics, any-thing beyond that should be up tothe students, not shoved down theirthroats by the student’s union,” hesaid.Armed with a video camera, Singleserved RSU President Toby Whiteldwith court documents on Dec. 10.Whiteld allegedly called security ser-vices, claiming he was being harassedby Single.“Some of our staff didn’t feel com-fortable being videotaped. There wasa back and fourth about that,” saidWhiteld.Last March, Single introduced a by-law amendment motion at the RSUAnnual General Meeting that wouldallow students to opt out of the RSUentirely, a move he now admits wouldbe “virtually impossible.” The $110 annual fee that studentspay for RSU and Canadian Federa-tion of Students membership sup-ports campus groups like CKLN, theEyeopener, and the Used Book Store.Despite the set back, he sees thehealth plan issue as a practical rststep. Single’s case against the RSU isnot a class action and is not intendedto set any kind of ofcial precedent.“I’m not convinced I will win, but Ido want to open the eyes of students.What the RSU does is not always intheir best interest.”The Ontario government has an-nounced they will add 42,000 stu-dents to universities and collegesthis year by building more classroomspaces.However, Ryerson received this fund-ing last year for 319 more spots — lessthan one per cent of the new spaces.Ryerson received $16 million lastyear through the Knowledge Infra-structure Program. Ryerson’s closestneighbour, the University of Toronto,got $151 million – more than ninetimes Ryerson’s share. York Universitywas given $35 million.Ryerson used this money last yearfor renovations to the Image Artsbuilding.York and the University of Toronto’sprojects will each open up about1,670 spaces in new science buildings— ve times more than Ryerson’s al-lotted spots.Ryerson president Sheldon Levycouldn’t conrm the 319 new spots,saying that Ryerson asked the gov-ernment for around 2, 000.“You’d think that just on balance, wewould be in a good position becausewe’re in the GTA obviously, where thegrowth is, and we have the highestdemand for number of places avail-able of any university in Ontario,” saidLevy.“This is a continuing investment inRyerson’s infrastructure,” said TylerCharlebois, a representative from theOntario Ministry of Training, collegesand universities.Charlebois said, “If there’s a dis-crepancy between the numbers it’sbecause [the ministry of training, col-leges and universities] has said we’llfund 319, and Ryerson is opening upmore.”Robert Marshall, an instructor inpolitics and public administration,thinks the government invested lessin Ryerson because of the university’sreputation as a polytechnic institute,and the government’s interest in cre-ating science-based jobs.“U of T and York are bigger schoolswith stronger and longer traditionsand history of doing research,” saidMarshall.But Levy says that the science pro-gram is what Ryerson is interested inexpanding.“It’s no secret, we want to build thefaculty of science, which is in the aca-demic plan. But both the operatingand the capital will have to be therein order for us to be able to do that,”he said.In an email to the Eyeopener, On-tario premier Dalton McGuinty brieyexplained that increasing enrolmentwill “help Ontario meet the demandsof the new economy. “Liana Salvador, vice presidenteducation for the Ryerson Student’sUnion, referred to this announcementas an “optical illusion” because Ryer-son cashed in on the funding last year.“They’re repeating stuff we alreadyknew,” said Salvador.A government press release on Dec.27, outlined how boosting enrolmentwould make “a high quality educationmore accessible than ever,” but Salva-dor disagrees.“When you’re considering goingto a university, you don’t consider thebuildings on campus. You think aboutwhether or not you can afford it,” shesaid.But Levy says that these are twodifferent issues. The funding that the government isdiscussing is to help additional stu-dents who want to attend post sec-ondary.“The funding that we’re talkingabout is necessary to increase thenumber of students that have an op-portunity to attend post secondary,”Levy said.Rather than revamping buildingsand adding students, Pamela Palma-ter, an associate professor of politicsand public administration, thinks Ry-erson needs to invest in the people atthe front of the class — the professors.“You can’t put the cart before thehorse,” said Palmater.“You can’t add students and hire pro-fessors later. You need to do that upfront.”Marianna Angotti, a second-yearlm student who sits on the imagearts course union, agrees.“If they’re increasing enrolment, I`dlike to see them consider hiring inter-national faculty to better representthe multiculturalism of Toronto,” shesaid.She said she hopes that the newspots won’t affect the unique profes-sor-student relationship that resultsfrom small class sizes.“It’s a really tight knit group andI don’t think it would stay that way if the start accepting more and morestudents,” said Angotti.
You can’t add students andhire professors later.
— Pamela Palmater, politics professor
I should have the freedomto choose how I take care of my personal health.
— Mark Single,engineering student
Investigation o YongeStreet fre closes
A week o investigations over the fre that ravaged Yonge and Gould
BY SARAH DEL GIALLO AND EMMAPRESTWICHNEWS EDITORS
The re investigation on the cornerof Yonge and Gould streets nishedon Monday. The building has beentaken down to the second oor andre ofcials were nally able to enterto conduct the investigation.Bill Hiscott, a supervisor for the FireMarshall’s Ofce said samples that willhopefully determine the cause andorigin of the re have been sent awayto the lab for tests.“We’ll do our best. We’re lookingat all the debris that’s there, and wewill be taking samples that will be go-ing to the lab. Hopefully the sampleswill identify what the cause of the rewas,” he said.Results will not be back for anothercouple of months. The six-alarm re overtook the heri-tage building at Yonge and Gould justafter 4 a.m. on Jan. 3, 2011. It was thesame building that stood empty foreight months after one of the wallscollapsed last April. The building hadbeen slotted to open Jan. 15 follow-ing renovations by Toronto Hydro.Police announced that they hadfound a person of interest on Friday,who was captured on security camer-as entering the back alley of the build-ing around 1:30 a.m. and exiting thealley around 3:50 a.m. The aforementioned back alley hasno street exit, only loading docks atthe back. The person is shown in thecamera footage exiting onto GouldStreet and walking north-east, whichwould indicate a path through Ryer-son’s campus.Det. David Love of the Toronto Po-lice would not identify the source of the camera footage, saying only thatit came from a local business.However, Ryerson security has 280cameras positioned around campusand several at the intersection of Yonge and Gould.Now that the investigation has n-ished at the site of the re, debris canbe cleared off Yonge Street, machin-ery and fences that occupied trafclanes all of last week. It will be openedback up to vehicles, and stores on theeast side of the street will be able toreopen.Pedestrian trafc may be lighter asboth sidewalks will be open.Fire ofcials went in to conrm thatthere were no victims in the building,and the search yielded no bodies. The Investigation only started thisweekend as no one could enter thebuilding until it was deemed safe byengineers. The building had to belowered to the second oor so thatthere was no risk of falling debris.Investigators have not yet identi-ed a cause of the re, but an arsoninvestigation has been ongoing sinceJan. 5.
Detective constable Dave Love shows photos o a person o interest in the fre investigation
PHOTO: LIN NGUYEN
Rye gets shafted bygovernment program