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Volume 50 - Issue 14

January 25, 2017
Since 1967





Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017


Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017


$80k in 6 Fest refunds transferred into personal accounts
The Eyeopener has learned that in an effort to refund students their 6 Fest ticket money, RSU executives put close to $80,000
into the personal bank account of RSU exec Harman Singh, as well as the accounts of non-RSU employees and a private business
By Sarah Krichel


document obtained by The
Eyeopener indicates that a
total of $79,996.81 for 6
Fest refunds has been transferred
into the personal bank account of
Harman Singh, Ryerson Students’
Union (RSU) vice-president student
life & events and current RSU presidential candidate.
Refund money for the concert,
which took place last October, was
not supposed to exceed $50,000,
according to the document. But
an additional $29,996.81 was
transferred into Singh’s bank account, according to an email sent
to RSU board members on Jan. 11
by general manager Natasha Campagna, which The Eye obtained.
Neal Muthreja, RSU vice-president
operations and current presidential candidate, said this transaction
took place on Dec. 16.
This type of money transfer is not
prohibited in RSU bylaws.
“At the end of the day, our priority was to make sure students
receive their money fast,” current
RSU president Obaid Ullah said.
“We were trying to find the best solution.”
Singh said the decision was to get
students their money as soon as possible. He added that no money has
been used for anything other than
issuing refunds.
“Sending e-transfers from these accounts made it possible for us to get
these done,” he said in an emailed
6 Fest, the RSU-organized concert attended by thousands, showcased artists including Diplo,
French Montana, Pusha T, Roy
Wood$ and DVSN. The music
festival was scheduled for September, then moved to Thanksgiving
weekend due to complications with
organization. Many students had to
return their tickets, as they weren’t
able to attend over the holiday
For several months, the students
who were not able to attend have
been demanding refunds from the
Muthreja said he didn’t want to
issue refunds through e-transfers
because it’s not standard procedure
amongst most organizations, but he
said Singh told him it would be the
fastest option.
“I didn’t want it to come to 2017
and students still [not have] their
refunds,” Muthreja said. “At the
end of the day, people paid for a
service. They didn’t get their service, so they should get a refund
right away.”
Vice-president education Victoria Morton said that Ullah and
Singh were warned by Campagna

So many woes.

that transferring RSU money into
personal accounts was not good
“The RSU has not been as transparent and accountable this year as
we’re supposed to be,” Morton said.
“This whole situation is mostly a
case of negligence and carelessness
on the part of certain executives.”
As for the extra $30,000, Ullah
said the initial $50,000 in refunds
were probably a miscalculation.
“My assumption is that it was a
miscalculation or [underestimation] of the amount of refunds, and
the amount grew,” he said. “That’s
why there’s that discrepancy.”
But Singh’s personal bank account
is not the only one involved.
he Eyeopener confirmed
that money for refunds
was also transferred into
the personal bank accounts of Ram
Ganesh, former RSU student life &
events assistant, MERCH (Ganesh’s
private merchandise business), and
Ali Yousaf, a director of the RSU finance committee and current vicepresident operations candidate.
Ullah and Ganesh have said that
money was allocated into separate accounts because of caps on
the amounts of e-transfers certain
banks impose on their clients.


“The RSU has not
been as transparent
and accountable
this year as we’re
supposed to be”
Ganesh said the money in his
personal account to issue refunds
was deposited before he finished his
position as events and student life
assistant. He is still, however, issuing refunds as a non-employee. He
added that he has provided invoices
for everything to the finance team,


which they approved.
MERCH has previously made
transactions with the Ryerson Engineering Student Society (RESS),
where Ganesh was vice-president
operations in 2015-16. According to
RESS president Farhan Riaz, there
have been accusations against MERCH of manipulation on grounds of
false advertising in business deals
with RESS.
Ganesh said he was not aware of
the accusations and will look into
the serious claim. “I think that’s
false,” he said.
No exec could provide comment
as to how much of the $80,000 was
allocated into each of the personal
bank accounts. Ganesh said he cannot comment on how much RSU
money is still in his MERCH account.
“Transferring tens of thousands
of dollars into anyone’s bank account without having proper
documentation—there’s no way to
make that not look sketchy,” vicepresident equity Tamara Jones
llah said a “petty cash system” is used to prevent embezzlement of RSU funds.
Through the petty cash system,
four financial coordinators verify
that RSU money going into others’ accounts is used properly. Ullah said the system is used to keep
track of invoices that state what has
gone into personal accounts and
what has gone back out to students.
He said this is regular practice for
the RSU.
The four coordinators are Ullah,
Muthreja, Campagna and Dharshini
In the email from Jan. 11, Campagna stated that no invoices or records had been provided to account
for several of the expenses from 6
Fest. A total of $468,489.56—money
used for 6 Fest refunds, artists, audiovisuals and merchandise—was


improperly documented for auditing purposes. This would have complicated the RSU’s upcoming financial audit in the spring.
On Jan. 20, however, Ullah said
that he, Campagna and Singh had
a meeting during which they clarified that Singh provided all of the
invoices to the financial team, but
lacked proper documentation of
where the money went afterwards—
a necessity for auditing purposes.
The conclusion, according to Morton, was that Singh would provide a
sample of proper documents by Jan.
23 to prove the rest of the invoices
were coming.
Morton said they have received
the necessary financial documentation for artists and t-shirts. Now,
executives are waiting on the refund
records. Singh said they have been
provided and are currently under
Ullah said the staff and executives
are “now on the same page,” and
that most of the disorganization has
resulted from tension between executives and staff, “creating a problem
that’s not a problem.”
According to Morton, the matter is predominantly a case of negligence of communication. “The
many issues this year have come
from the fact that there is a complete
lack of communication and I think
[that] is partly because there has
been a ton of negligence from start
to [finish] of this whole term.”
Fest refunds could have taken
place through Eventbrite—an
online event-planning and
ticket-selling platform used by the
RSU—within the weeks following
the concert.
But, according to Jones, Singh did
not begin the refund process until three or four weeks after 6 Fest,
which caused Eventbrite to automatically transfer the funds from
students back to the RSU.
The executive team posted a


statement on Facebook on Nov.
25, apologizing for the delay in
refunds, and said they would issue
cheques to each student. Forms
were sent to students to fill out
with legal information because
their ticket purchase information
included preferred names, rather
than legal names.
Jones said she was not aware that
the e-transfers were being issued
instead of the cheques, and she was
not notified about the extra $30,000
or the “random accounts” involved
until last week.
“Thirty-thousand dollars is a lot
of money. We all should have been
there,” Jones said. “They could have
set an emergency motion, they
could have tried to contact us in any
way. It wasn’t right that I didn’t find
out about it until January.”
Muthreja said his last act as vicepresident operations will be to
implement a policy that prohibits
transferring money into personal
bank accounts. Ullah said he sees no
problem with the current method.
“We’re not breaking any rules,” he

“Singh’s name
being thrown
around as someone
who is irresponsible
is extremely unfair”
Ganesh, who has worked closely
with Singh for about a year, added
that Singh only had the best interest
of students in mind.
“6 Fest to me was something that
put Ryerson on the map,” Ganesh
said. “Harman Singh is a fantastic
person … his name being thrown
around as someone who is irresponsible is extremely unfair.”
As for Morton, she said she believes Singh’s decisions shouldn’t be
“I think Ryerson will always owe
[Singh] a level of gratitude for putting us on the map with Drake,
but that doesn’t excuse the last few
months,” she said. “Since 6 Fest—
where he has had every chance to
make the right decision—he has
chosen not to.”
Ullah said he regrets the delay, but
that there’s only a “small amount”
left to refund. A total of 1,455 students have been refunded out of approximately 1,800, he added.
“I do want to apologize to [students] that it’s taken so long to get
their money back,” he said. “[We]
just did our best to make sure that
the process is happening as fast as it
can and as properly as it can, and in
that, I guess we just slowed things
down a bit.”



Skyler “Uncle Pennybags” Ash

Thomas “Abandons us for another
job” Skrlj
Carl “Production bible” Solis

Nicole “Schmitosis” Schmidt

Alanna “ ‘Merica” Rizza
Sarah “Don’t you have class?” Krichel
Jacob “Owes $40” Dubé

Devin “Radio star” Jones
Izabella “Sherlock Holmes” Balcerzak
Keith “Stinky” Capstick

Sierra “Clock goddess” Bein
Farnia “Fuck the system” Fekri
Lee “Beans on toast” Richardson

Karoun “Ride the wave” Chahinian
Arts and Life

Annie “Don’t leave the car!” Arnone

Daniel “First read deadline?” Rocchi
Biz and Tech

Justin “Owed $40” Chandler

Sidney “Still ill” Drmay

Copy Editor
Igor “The stud is back” Magun

Raneem “Forget Biz” Al-Ozzi
Nikhil “Deepest Digger” Sharma
Syed “Quick Draw” Razvi
Sylvia “Double Double” Lorico
Noushin “Long Game” Ziafati
Zoe “Lizzie McGuire” Melnyk
Mark “Kick Ass” Stephens
Camila “Come to Dinner” Kukulski
Hilary “Falcon” Punchard

Playing the role of the Annoying
Talking Coffee Mug this week is, as
Liane “Microwave wizard”
expected, Donald Trump. The Leader
of Free Cheetos has transgressed a
LOT of shit lately. He has shown a
Advertising Manager
petty disregard for “actual facts” and
Chris “Startup” Roberts
then he had his flunkies engage in
fact warfare. The Toddler King is
Design Director
indeed trying to gaslight America.
J.D. “Duck legs” Mowat
There is little we can do for them.
They cannot be saved. Leave them to
Intern Army
the savages they voted for. RememJonathan “Snap” Parasiliti
ber not to waste time on those who
Zadie “Crackle” Laborde
are weak because they will only
slow us down. Save yourselves and
the undecided. The base is a third,
Emerald “Hallmark card” Bensadoun we are a third, and the undecided
Lyba “Free elves” Mansoor
non-politicals are a third. If we can
Annaliese “Comeback kid” Meyer
keep them safe and not let them get
Melissa “Weather probs” Salamo
distracted by the shennanigans, we
Camila “Stop drawing on my face” can win in 2018. Be aware that the
Cheeto and his little minions are
Mark “Tyrone” Stephens
targeting these very people so they’ll
Matt “My mom’s famous” Collins
be too disillusioned to vote. Don’t
Maria “New in Town” Iqbal
fight with them, do NOT implore
Sophia “Swiftly” Smith
them to see your side jaunt. Leave
Zahraa “March On” Hmood
them be. Maybe get them to re-watch
Nicole “Missed You’’ Brumley
Buffy... that will keep them warm
Tianna “Nevada” Reno
and happy. We need to keep them
Kristen “Almost Free” Jess
sweet, and not cynical. We’ve seen
it in Russia, Venezuela and Italy—
if you let the Bonobos control the
discourse, a third of the population
will actively move out of the body
politic, thereby guaranteeing that
the diseased asshats keep winning.
So keep the third safe and distracted.
And leave Jill’s birthday alone, you

Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017

Keep it secret, keep it safe

General Manager

We make origami out of our enemies.


My brother is convinced I do something illegal online. He thinks that
because I talk to my friends with
encrypted messaging apps and use
a VPN to hide my web browsing, I
must have something to hide.
I do, but it’s not anything illegal.
It’s my life. I use the internet to
work, play, learn, socialize and manage my daily tasks. The information
I put on the web says a lot about
me, so I use tools like encryption to
minimize what others can see.
It’s no secret that we’re being
watched. Whether it’s CSIS collecting metadata to investigate suspected
terrorists, Facebook tracking browsing activity to sell us shit, or hackers
breaking into our devices to extort
from us, there’s always someone after
our data. It’s important to remember
that nothing we put online is safe.
You can never be completely
anonymous or secure on the web,
but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t
take some steps to protect yourself.
It’s a lot easier than you think to
upgrade your cyber security. Start
The Eyeopener is Ryerson’s largest and by using better passwords. I used to
only independent student newspaper. It have the same two for everything,
is owned and operated by Rye Eye Pub- but that meant if a person cracked
lishing Inc., a non-profit corporation
one, they could have accessed most
owned by the students of Ryerson. Our of my accounts. And I was being
offices are on the second floor of the
safer than most people.
Student Campus Centre. You can reach
Nearly 33 million Twitter accounts
us at 416-979-5262, at were hacked in June 2016, and the
or on Twitter at @theeyeopener.
most common passwords used on


them were “123456,” “123456789,”
“qwerty” and “password.” Ryerson
accounts get hacked, too. Every 60
days, 3.6 million automated password guesses are aimed at students
I fixed my problem by downloading a password manager. It generates
and stores complex passwords for my
accounts, so I just need to remember
the password to my password keeper
when I log into any account.
Another simple way I improved
my online security was by starting to
use end-to-end encrypted messaging
apps like iMessage, Signal, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger secret conversations. Messages that are
end-to-end encrypted cannot be deciphered by third parties who intercept
them. If you don’t want the government or hackers to see your sexts (I
sure don’t), try one of these out.
This week, your friendly neighbourhood biz and tech section has
some great pieces on the web about
online security. One is about ransomware and how Ryerson protects
its staff and students from hackers.
Another is about how you can identify a phishing scam. Also launching
this week is Igabytes, a tech column
by The Eye’s former online editor and
in-house tech expert, Igor Magun.
The internet is like sex. It brings
people together and it makes life
more fun (there could also be cat pictures). But, also like sex, the internet
sucks if you don’t use protection.
So up your game, dear reader.
Protect your bytes like you protect
your bits.

An obligatory RSU election spiel
There’s something about the Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU) election
that puts me and my cynical brain in
an especially pleasant mood. Maybe
it’s the fact that every executive candidate strolls around university turf
like the Rocky theme song is playing
in the background, or maybe it’s the
fact that we have more news to fill
our pages with each campaign season. But I can confidently say that

this election, perhaps more than any
other I’ve been around to witness,
will be nothing short of interesting.
If you haven’t been at Ryerson
as long as I have, or if you’ve never
bothered to care, let me give you a
Sparknotes-style breakdown: in the
four years leading up to 2015, there
was no opposing slate in the election.
It was a system riddled with corruption, and most students couldn’t
be bothered with bullshit political
spiels—voter turnout was as low
as 11 per cent of students. Former
mastheads thought the whole thing
was pretty appalling, so they decided

to make things a bit more interesting by creating some opposition. In
2001, we entered the fictitious Scoop
W. Gerbil. A decade later, our fun
editors joined the shit show.
The past two elections have been
different. There were two slates and
finally, choice. This year, there’s no
need for us to intervene because there
are four slates.
The people elected are the ones
who represent the issues you care
about. You finally have the ability to
choose and it takes less than 60 seconds to vote. Help hold these people
accountable—you pay their salaries.


Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017

RSU Elections
Talking about elections makes you sound more
worldly and interesting. Here’s what you need to know.

Clockwise from left: Spark, Elevate, Rhinoceros and Ohana.

By Jacob Dubé
The 2017 Ryerson Students’ Union
(RSU) elections are underway. Candidates will be campaigning until
Feb. 5, and voting runs from Feb. 6
to 8. Here are all the slates that have
been announced as of publication.
President: Harman Singh
Vice-president Education:
Daniel Lis
Vice-president Equity:
Taran Saini
Vice-president Operations:
Ali Yousaf
Vice-president Student Life
and Events: Lauren Emberson
President: Susanne Nyaga
Vice-president Education:
Vajdaan Tanveer
Vice-president Equity:
Camryn Harlick
Vice-president Operations:
Kevan Davidson
Vice-president Student Life
and Events: Stephan Allan
President: Neal Muthreja
Vice-president Education:
Natalia Burgos
Vice-president Equity:
Nima Hersi
Vice-president Operations:
Mayank Verma
Vice-president Student Life
and Events: Shazman Uddin
President: Madeline Victoria Si
altsis, Noor Gangi, Julian True
Vice-president Education:
Parul Verma
Vice-president Equity:
Dave Alcivar, Andrew MacleanBowman, Judy Wang
Vice-president Student Life
and Events:
Zrinka Vlasic


What you need to know
If you’re not excited for the upcoming elections, you should be.
The RSU represents Ryerson undergraduate students through the
programs they run. They also work
with student societies.
Keep these things in mind over
the next few weeks as students campaign for your votes:
Campaigning and posters
Posters or other campaign materials can’t be racist, sexist, homophobic or offensive in any way. If they
are (it’s really not hard to follow this
rule), they will be removed and the
candidate can be disqualified.
Candidates can’t take down any
other candidate posters, even if they
really want to.
While student groups and course
unions can endorse a candidate, they
can’t financially support them in any
Presidential and vice-presidential
candidates can’t spend more than
$500 on campaign expenses. If they,
or any other candidate, goes more
than five per cent over the limit,
they can be disqualified. Watch your
Also, alcohol doesn’t count as a
campaign expense. Sorry.
When and how to vote
On voting days, students will receive an email notification letting
them know voting has started (just
in case your days are blending together into a sad amorphous mess
while you’re studying for midterms).
And if you totally forgot who’s
running, a link will be provided to
you with the full RSU election ballot that includes all of the names, as
well as platform statements.
After successfully implementing
online voting last year, students can
vote in the RSU elections through





Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017

American students applying to Rye to escape Trump
By Alanna Rizza
With a new, controversial president
in the White House, American students are turning to Ryerson as a
possible way out.
The number of U.S. undergraduate applications to Ryerson for next
school year have increased by about
62 per cent, according to Ryerson’s
registrar Charmaine Hack.
She said this increase is a result
of Ryerson’s increased student recruitment efforts in the U.S. as well
as “the current U.S. political landscape.”
Hack said the number of U.S. applications may continue to increase

as programs keep accepting more
applications, since the deadline for
guaranteed application consideration
is Feb. 1.
Abu Arif, Ryerson’s coordinator
of international student support,
said many American students are
being encouraged to study abroad
because of “Trump’s message of
fear,” as well as Canada’s “generous
immigration system.”
“International students pick
Canada because of its reputation
[as] a welcoming nation and many
students tell [my department] they
chose Ryerson because of Ryerson’s
energy and its idea of innovation,”
he said.

Arif said students from all over
the world apply to Ryerson, and that
“Trump’s sort of leadership is new
for North America, but it’s not new
to the world.”
Lizzie Kurz Michel, originally from
upstate New York, wanted to study in
Toronto and applied for the information studies graduate program at the
University of Toronto. They are currently completing their undergraduate degree in Massachusetts.
Kurz Michel said one of their
reasons for applying to a Canadian
school is because of “the current political climate in the U.S.”
“As someone who identifies as
queer, in the wake of the recent election and inauguration, it feels like
there is more of maybe if not a danger per se, but a risk in revealing that
They said they are specifically
worried Trump and his administration will not protect minority
groups and deal with hate crimes.
Last week, almost immediately after Trump’s inauguration, pages referencing LGBTQ rights, civil rights,
health care and climate change were
removed from the White House
Kurz Michel said they think a Canadian school would be safer than
studying on an American campus, but


American students want to flee this man’s presidency.

they are still “afraid to find out what
it would be like on other campuses.”
Other students have expressed
contrasting views. Last week, on the
day of Trump’s inauguration, Ryerson biomed student Aedan O’Connor
stood on Gould Street holding a sign
that read “God bless Trump.”
O’Connor told The Eyeopener that
one of the reasons she supports
Trump is because “he represents the
whole free speech culture.” However,
she said that “some of the rhetoric
has gone too far.”
Similar comments from groups
advocating for free speech have risen
on campus over the past year.
This past month, an Instagram account that had “keep Canada Canadian” in its bio was created by someone
who claims to be a Ryerson student.
The user of the account wrote that

Ryerson “has no diversity of opinion.”
And, at the end of last school
year, Ryerson Marketing Association vice-president corporate
relations Dan Petz made a controversial Facebook status calling safe
spaces “fascist practices.” He told
The Eye that he stood by what he
said because he “was within [his]
free speech rights.”
Kurz Michel said for them, free
speech “doesn’t mean people can’t
be upset with what you say. What it
means is we are allowed to critique
those in power. We are allowed to
have differing opinions from the
those in charge.”
However, they said they “don’t
understand” Canadian Trump supporters. “The type of hatefulness
that fuels the respect people have for
that man is honestly scary.”

New space for Indigenous biz
The first Indigenous business district in the country is coming just east of Rye

A Message from President
Mohamed Lachemi
Welcome to a new term and a new year
at Ryerson. I look forward to working with all
members of the community as we continue
to build momentum and move our university
forward in 2017.
Have a great term and a great year!
Mohamed Lachemi
Enjoy a free breakfast at the Student Learning
Centre on Thursday, January 26.
Join me from 8 – 10 a.m. in the SLC Amphitheatre
for refreshments and some fun surprises.

The new district will be near Jarvis and Dundas streets.

By Jacob Dubé
The city plans to establish a new Indigenous business district at Jarvis
and Dundas streets, right beside Ryerson’s campus. The district, headed by Ward 27 councillor Kristyn
Wong-Tam and Indigenous business community members in the
area, will encourage and provide
services for new Indigenous businesses to grow.
“The City of Toronto has one of
the largest Indigenous urban populations in Canada, but there is no
geographic area that points to the
history of the Indigenous communities in the City,” wrote Wong-Tam
in an email to The Eyeopener. “The
creation of a district would create
an area that physically identifies the
history and presence of Indigenous
peoples in Toronto.”


President and CEO of the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business (CCAB) JP Gladu, who worked
alongside Wong-Tam on the district, said Toronto and other major
Canadian cities have districts like
Chinatown and Little Portugal, and
this is a good way to create a space
for Toronto’s Indigenous community—which he estimates is made up
of about 70,000 people.
“You don’t really have that presence of an Indigenous community.
Considering we’re the first people
on this continent here, I think it’s a
real missed opportunity,” he said.
A 13,000 sq. ft. space around
Jarvis and Dundas streets has been
secured for the district. The area is
already home to several Indigenous
businesses and centres, like the
Miziwe Biik Aboriginal Employment & Training centre, with more

room for others to be introduced.
Wong-Tam added that Dundas
Street was a historic trade route,
which makes it an ideal spot for the
Tracey King, Aboriginal human
resources consultant at Ryerson, was
involved in the Aboriginal Economic Indigenous Development Project
in 2014 to research the possible creation of an Indigenous district.
“I think this is going to increase
the profile of the Aboriginal people in Toronto, it’s going to create
a positive portrayal of us and it’s
going to create relationships with
larger business communities, and
the government,” King said. “And
with our Aboriginal youth, which
is growing, this is going to be a role
model for them to start their own
Gladu said that Canadians of all
backgrounds are beginning to learn
about Indigenous reconciliation,
and that it’s a good time to start a
conversation about it. He hopes the
district will improve the way people
think about Indigenous businesses.
“There’s so much uncertainty,
especially south of the border right
now that we’ve got to build on our
strength, and there’s a lot of strength
that’s emerging here,” he said.
The development, cost and name
of the district are still being decided.


Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017


a new wave in travel

n Christmas afternoon, I
arrived at an unfamiliar
three-story apartment in
Etobicoke. After making my way
from the snowy sidewalk onto
a narrow path, I found a door
propped open with a brick.
I hesitantly let myself inside and
climbed to the top of a dimly lit
staircase. Dozens of shoes cluttered
the floor, so I added my own pair
of black Converse to the pile,
wondering if they’d still be there by
the time I left.
I followed the sound of voices
and laughter and crept down the
hallway until I reached another
large door. Room 302. When I
walked through the entrance, I was
greeted by dozens of faces I had
never seen before.
I don’t usually spend Christmas
with a room full of strangers,
but then again, I’m not usually
able to spend it with a room full
of relatives, either. My family
is spread all across Ontario and
Michigan, which often leaves us
celebrating either a couple of days
before or after the 25th.
Instead of woefully spending
the day by myself, I found a
post on Couchsurfing—a travel
networking website—from a
woman named Greta Corazza,
who was opening up her home
to anyone who didn’t want to
celebrate the holiday alone. She
called it an “orphan Christmas.”
A short, Italian woman in her
mid-thirites greeted me. Her long,
curly brown hair bounced as she
smiled. I quickly learned that she

From nudists to
Austrian accordionists,
couch surfers share their tales of
bunking with strangers while traveling
on Couchsurfing. A change of plans
led him south, and after a 14-hour
train ride through Switzerland, he
arrived in Dalmine, Italy, where
Barachetti lives.
y entire family and most
of my friends think the
idea of Couchsurfing
sounds ludicrous. I’ve had my
sanity questioned and I’ve been
told that I have too much faith in
people. When I first brought the
idea up to my mother, she offered
to give me the money to stay in a
hostel instead.
Like anything, bad stories
accompany the good ones. Some
hosts have had surfers disappear
from their homes without a word,
leaving nothing behind but a
mess. Other times, hosts bail last
minute—leaving travellers lost in
a foreign city. Kontos once stayed
with a German fellow who liked
to tap her with his clammy feet.
Other hosts have turned out to be
Despite occasional mishaps, the
website is predominantly safe.
Reviews play an essential role in


A couch surfer surfing a couch.

place to stay, like many of the other
travellers I met that day did. But
inside that cramped living room on
that snowy December day, I found a
community among strangers.
ike Airbnb, Couchsurfing
is a website that connects
travellers with locals from
cities all over the world. People offer
up whatever spare space they have,
be it a yoga mat, a couch or an extra
bedroom—free of charge.
Founded in 2004 by Casey
Fenton, Daniel Hoffer, Sebastian
Le Tuan and Leonardo Bassani da
Silveira as a small passion project,
it has now grown to serve over 12
million people in 200,000 cities. The
focus of the website isn’t to make a
profit, but to encourage travellers to


Inside that cramped living room on that
snowy December day, I found a sense of
community among strangers
was the host, Corazza.
More than a dozen people were
sitting on the dark hardwood floor
passing around pizza and turkey. A
small Christmas tree stood in the
corner, lighting the vibrant and
noisy living room.
I joined the circle of travelers.
Two people, one from Calgary
and another from India, shuffled
to the side to make room. I placed
the cookies I brought onto the
table and hesitantly introduced
“Hi, I’m Zoe,” I said.
The group replied in unison,
each with a friendly demeanor as
if they’d been expecting me. “Hi,
This wasn’t a typical Couchsurfing
experience. I didn’t travel to a
foreign city and I didn’t need a



reach outside their comfort zone to
fully immerse themselves in a new
It represents the more authentic
idea of the sharing economy:
offer what you can to others and
eventually, people will do the same
for you.
hristopher Beaulieu, a
Ryerson masters of media
production grad, started
Couchsurfing in 2015 while he was
teaching English in South Korea
and travelling through Japan. A year
later, he spent a week in Cosenza,
Italy. As soon as he arrived, his
host—an Italian man named Alex
Adriano—picked him up at the train
station. After a 20-minute drive
through narrow winding roads,
they arrived at an old house in the
mountains that had been passed



down through generations.
Beaulieu planned his trip with
the intention of seeing his extended
family members, who only spoke
Italian. As an English speaker, he
was nervous about not being able
to understand them, so Adriano
translated their conversations.
Later that year, Adriano came to
Canada, where Beaulieu was able
to offer up his own couch—further
cementing that travel connection
is a pillar of the Couchsurfing
Fellow couch surfer Krystyne
Kontos, a third-year architectural
science student, agrees that
Couchsurfing offers a unique
experience for every traveller.
“I think it provides such an
intimate reveal and understanding
of a culture that you wouldn’t
have access to with alternative
accommodations,” she said.
This past summer when she was
travelling through Torino, Italy,
Kontos and her travel companion
found a host 20 minutes outside of
the city.
After two bus rides, Kontos and
her friend found themselves walking
along a desolate, stoney path. It had
tall green hedges running along both
sides. A farmhouse, surrounded by
lush, green fields, stood at the end.
They spotted a large, hairless
sheep being chased by an elderly
woman—the property owner. She
walked the girls inside the rustic
farmhouse, where they met 15 other
travellers who were also spending
the night, some from Brazil,
some from France and some from
Their host, a woman named
Fabiana, prepared a traditional
breakfast, lunch and dinner every
day for the group, including fresh
mountain goat cheese and Italian

pastries that they would enjoy
outside while admiring the view of
the distant, northern mountains.
The weather in Torino was often
cloudy. A blueish hue draped over
the city.
Kontos said she has “never met

It provides such an intimate reveal
and understanding of a culture that
you wouldn’t have access to with
alternative accommodations
someone in [her] life who wanted
to give so much to others, and asked
for nothing in return.”
A few nights later, Kontos sat
around a large bonfire eating
homemade rice and chicken with
fellow travellers as an Austrian
accordionist played music.
While some are turned off by the
idea of trusting a complete stranger,
for others, it’s the only option.
When Ethan Craft, a third-year
journalism student, set out to travel
around Europe last summer, his
plans fell apart after a gunman drove
a truck into a crowd in Nice, France,
killing 86 people.
As he was getting ready to travel
from Paris to Nice, before he
even knew what was going on, he
received a flood of messages from
concerned friends and family. “I had
no idea what had happened, I just
started telling everyone that I was
OK,” he said.
On a whim, he decided to
search for his Italian acquaintance
Umberto Barachetti. He met
Barachetti earlier in the year while
travelling by train from Beijing to
Mongolia. Craft didn’t have his
contact info and couldn’t find him
on social media, but was lucky
enough to stumble across his profile

the Couchsurfing experience for
both surfers and hosts. And, as
most veteran travellers will say, the
best thing a person can do is trust
their instincts.
As for my Couchsurfing experience,
I haven’t had a bad encounter yet.
Last summer, I lent my couch to
a boy from England. I was nervous
about meeting up with a complete
stranger, but we quickly bonded
over our love of wine and shared
a bottle while watching a dubstepinspired version of Shakespeare in
High Park.
Another time, I met up with a
couple from Prague who out-drank
me three to one and offered me a
place to stay if I ever found myself
in Europe.
And, most recently, I spent
Christmas with a room full of
friends that I hadn’t met yet.
Couchsurfing isn’t a luxury pool
with mini-bar access, it’s lumpy
couches with homemade breakfast
and genuine connections.
It doesn’t consist of tour groups
and megabuses hauling people from
one site to the next, it’s walking
through someone else’s life and
discovering what the everyday is
like for people from around the



Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017

Igabyte: We must be secure together

Introducing a new weekly column
from a very tech-savvy gentleman






Swipe & Win!
Your Ryerson OneCard is Your Ticket into the game!


WOMEN’S 6:00 PM / MEN’S 8:00 PM

App of the
By Sylvia Lorico



There’s a sentiment about online
security I hear all too often from my
family and friends: “I don’t care if I
get hacked, there’s nothing valuable
on my computer!”
It’s understandable. You’re probably not famous and you probably
don’t keep government secrets on
your computer. So why would you
be hacked? But there are several
reasons you’d make a great target,
most of which have nothing to do
with hurting you directly.
Any device connected to the internet, regardless of what’s on it,
has something valuable to offer:
computing power and an internet
connection. If someone takes over
enough devices, they can form a
“botnet” (a network of compromised computers controlled by a
hacker). These can be used to deal
damage to bigger targets, using
techniques like distributed denial of
service (DDoS) attacks.
To put it simply, DDoS attacks
spam a device with internet traffic
until it’s overwhelmed, which can
slow the device to a crawl or even
cause it to crash.
This can be used to restrict access
to web services, or extort owners
for money. One such attack took
out Reddit, Twitter and other major websites last October by targeting core internet infrastructure.

There’s more, of course. Compromised devices can be used to
host illegal files or websites, which
can then spread computer viruses
or steal passwords.
They can also be used to tunnel
web traffic, which helps attackers
stay anonymous while they harm
Then there’s your email and social media accounts. These are easy
ways to spread spam and viruses,
or attempt to scam your contacts.
Information about your contacts
could be used to commit identity
theft or guess the security questions
for their bank accounts.
These are all very real threats, and
there’s plenty more of them, but the
point isn’t to panic. In theory, there
are protections in place for many of
these problems.
But what we need to remember is
that security on the internet is complex and interconnected. It requires
multiple layers of protection to be
If we can keep more of those layers intact, we make it harder for
malicious hackers to succeed.
This means that, to some extent,
your security relies on mine, and
mine relies on yours.
That’s why I want to remind you
to do your part. Keep your devices
updated. Enable two-factor authentication. Encourage your device manufacturers to take security
seriously. Because when it comes
to online security, we’re all in this

Turn off distractions on your phone
with OFFTIME. Available as a beta
version for iOS and as a full app on
Android, it allows users to block
disruptive notifications, texts, calls
or apps for a set duration.
OFFTIME iOS Light has many
of the same features as the Android
The iOS app includes goals, usage-tracking and the ability to block
disruptive notifications, texts, calls
or apps for a period of time.
The app requires you to give it
access to SMS messaging, apps and
phone calls in order for certain
notifications to stop appearing on
your phone’s home screen.
You can pick apps or contacts
which will not be restricted during
your “offtime.” These will be visible
on your phone.
If you try to access a blocked app
during this time, it will automatically close with a reminder saying

you are on your offtime.
After you have completed your
offtime, your phone will vibrate to
remind you that you are finished,
and then it will take you to an activity log page.
There, it lists notifications or
messages you missed during your
offtime, as well as any apps you
tried to access during that time.
You can also set daily offtime
limits under the “goals” tab of the
This allows you to control how
many minutes your daily offtime
will be once you push the start button. You can see your average offtime minutes compared to the national average of other users.
It is important to note that the
app performs detailed analysis of
your phone and app usage. The
personal data collected is encrypted
and can only be accessed by you.
An analysis of your data can be
found under the “my day” icon on
the top right of the app.


Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017


The best of the wrest
Sunny Narwal has wrestling in his blood and Olympic dreams in his heart
By Daniel Rocchi
Most of us can recall a time when
we or someone we know gave a
bouncer or a security guard a hard
time. It’s a thankless job, and often it
can be a violent one. It’s all too easy
to see why some security guards
and bouncers look miserable as
they count heads or pacify a rowdy
patron, or why things might get
heated when some bonehead makes
the wrong move.
But if you’ve had a few too many
during a fancy event at Woodbine
Banquet Hall, there’s one security
guard you’ll have an especially hard
time getting a rise out of. It’s a good
thing, too. Some of his friends call
him “Gentle Giant,” but he’s one of
the last people you’d ever want to
mess with.
is name is Sunny Narwal.
He studies medical physics
at Ryerson, likes to play
Assassin’s Creed and works a parttime security job at the banquet hall
in Rexdale, the Toronto region he
grew up in. He’s also one of the top
young wrestlers in the province, if
not the country.
Make no mistake—he’s no
Dwayne Johnson or John Cena.
There’s no rapping about his
opponents before pulverizing them
with a folding chair. Sure, Narwal
grew up watching WWE wrestlers
like Cena and Johnson become
cultural icons, and he respects their
craft. But the second-year member
of Ryerson’s wrestling team would
rather be compared to one of his
own idols, like Kyle Snyder. Last


year, at the Rio games, Snyder
became the youngest American
wrestler to ever win an Olympic
gold medal, a few months before his
21st birthday. Having just turned 19
on Dec. 30, Narwal won’t be able
secure an Olympic medal before he’s
21—the next summer games aren’t
until 2020, in Tokyo. But he hopes
to have a shot at top spot on the
“I was so happy when I got this,”
says Narwal, shortly after he arrives
at The Eyeopener office for a photo
shoot. He’s removed his regular
clothes, revealing the national
team wrestling singlet—the sport’s
distinctive one-piece attire—he’s
wearing underneath. Standing six
foot one and weighing over 230
pounds, Narwal is an imposing
figure. But there’s a childlike joy in
his eyes as he gazes past his broad
chest, down to the maple leaf and
“CANADA” emblazoned across his
“Ever since I was a little kid I
wanted one of these,” he says with
a small smile.
Wrestling is in Narwal’s blood.
His father was a wrestler in India, a
country with a proud history in the
sport. Sunny’s grandfather wrestled
too, as did many of the Narwal
men in the generations before
him. When Sunny’s parents came
to Canada about two decades ago,
wrestling came with them.
Narwal doesn’t remember exactly
when he started wrestling, but
figures it was when he was five or
six years old. While most kids his
age were playing soccer or hockey,

Narwal was on the mats with
his little brother, Bobby, and his
cousins, Jaivir and Tejvir Boal. It
was a scene that wouldn’t change
much over the years; today, all
four are members of the Akhara
of Champions wrestling club in
Mississauga, Ont., and Narwal still
counts his brother and cousins
among his closest friends. The
four spend most of their free time
together. If they aren’t practicing on
the mats at the club or training in
the gym, they’re exploring the city
or taking road trips together.
The foursome is taking one
of those trips this weekend—an
important one. On Jan. 27, Narwal
will be rushing home from his last
class of the week to get on the road
to Sudbury, Ont., the site of this
year’s Ontario Amateur Wrestling
Championships and the next step on
Narwal’s journey towards Tokyo.
arwal is no stranger
to winning. A former
champion in provincial
high school competition, he’s
been competing in the OAWA
provincials for the past several
years, winning more medals than he
can remember. This weekend, he’ll
be defending his title following a
gold medal finish last year. He’s been
competing at the national amateur
tournament since Grade 11,
winning silver and bronze medals
in both freestyle and Greco-Roman
wrestling, two of the most common
styles, when he was 17. His prowess
on the mats was even enough to
earn him a spot as an alternate on
Canada’s under-20 junior team for
competitions in Europe. Narwal was
the youngest member of that team,
finally earning the privilege to wear
the maple leaf as he represented his
country abroad.
Narwal is hoping a strong
performance in Sudbury and a solid
competition at nationals in March
will help earn him a spot on this
year’s national team and position
him well for Olympic qualifiers. But
he considers the time preceding his
first selection to the U20 team to be
the prime of his wrestling career—to
date, anyways. Things are different
this time around.
Earlier this month, Narwal
competed with the Ryerson
wrestling team at the Brock Open
in St. Catharines, Ont. in his first
competition in almost a year-and-ahalf. While most of that missed time
was due to the competition schedule
and Narwal’s obligations outside
of wrestling, he spent five months
in the summer and fall recovering
from a hyperextended left arm—his
dominant wrestling arm.
Narwal won bronze at the Brock
competition. While it’s been a short
reintroduction period for him, the


Sunny Narwal: student, wrestler, security guard, legend.

loss that left him competing for
bronze instead of gold might prove
to be more helpful than several extra
months’ worth of competition and
training would have been.
“The first time I lost, I used to
cry,” he confesses. “But my dad said,
‘Don’t cry; you learn more from
losing than you do from winning’.”
That philosophy, says Narwal,
is just one manifestation of the
mental fortitude that wrestling has
taught him.
hanks to the enormous
popularity of WWE and
characters like The Rock, a
wrestling competition might prompt
mental images of bright leotards and
spectacularly choreographed staged
combat performed for bloodthirsty
crowds. According to Narwal, that
couldn’t be further from the truth.
“It’s like a physical chess match,”
he says. “It’s not just a bunch of
meatheads going to the gym and
beating each other up.
“The successful wrestlers are
always the smart wrestlers.”
Narwal defines his wrestling style
as technically strong; he prefers to
rely on his brain rather than his
brawn to succeed in the heavyweight
division, where competitors’ weights
can range from 213 pounds (97



kilograms) to almost 290 pounds
(130 kilograms). Tactics like training
to make his left arm his dominant
wrestling arm to confuse adversaries
that typically wrestle right-handed
competitors—despite being naturally
right-handed himself—have helped
Narwal succeed at every level of
In addition to giving him a
competitive edge, Narwal believes
focusing on the mental aspect of
wrestling has helped make him a
stronger person, not just a stronger
“Anyone can be a champion if they
put the work behind it, the work
ethic. But if you don’t believe in
yourself, you’re never going to be,”
he says. “That’s what I’ve learned.”
It’s a good philosophy for
someone looking to build a future
in a competitive, challenging field
like medical physics. As for working
security, there’s plenty to be learned
from a sport in which every fight, no
matter how fiercely contested, ends
in a handshake.
“People could be starting fights with
you, screaming in your face and you
have to keep a calm [demeanor], you
need to keep that mentality. I think
that’s the biggest thing wrestling has
taught me: respect and patience.”

Men’s Basketball

WoMen’s Basketball

Men’s volleyball

WoMen’s Volleyball

Jan. 21 - Rams: 100 Waterloo: 68 Jan. 21 - Rams: 62 Waterloo: 50
Jan. 21 - Rams: 0

Men’s Hockey

Jan. 19 - Rams: 8
Jan. 21 - Rams: 9

Nipissing: 3

Jan. 21 - Rams: 3

WoMen’s Hockey

Waterloo: 3 Jan. 20 - Rams: 0
Windsor: 1 Jan. 21 - Rams: 0

Nipissing: 1

Nipissing: 2
Laurentian: 1

For more game coverage, visit



Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017

Ryerson to get a “rad” tunnel system
By Skyler Ash
On Tuesday, Jan. 24, Ryerson President Mohamed Lachemi announced
that Ryerson will be getting an underground tunnel system connecting all the buildings on campus.
Construction will start at the end of
the winter semester and continue to
February 2019.
“It is, quite literally, groundbreaking,” Lachemi said at the meeting
when the announcement was made.
“It will make our campus 10 times
more rad, at least.”
The tunnel will make it easier and
safer for students to travel from class
to class, while also offering a number
of perks. “There’s going to be six juice
bars, free candy, a gelateria and the
latest Drake hits playing over stateof-the-art speaker systems across the
tunnel,” said Lauren Clegg, Ryerson
media relations officer.

The proposed route.

Plans for the tunnel began back
in 2012, but were delayed when Ryerson decided to break ground on
the campus’ most notable building,
the Student Learning Centre (SLC)
“I thought it would up my already
sick street cred to open a funky glass
building over a glorified ant farm,”
said former Rye president Sheldon
Levy. “After I made that magic happen, I got the the hell outta there,

Monopoly game
gone wrong

It went downhill so quickly.

By Skyler Ash
Three friends since first year—Georgia Walters, Ari Singh and Frederick Illverwood—vowed on the first
day of frosh that they would “MDBMTBFFs,” or, “Most Definitely Be
More Than Best Friends Forever.”
That pact would lay the groundwork for the world’s greatest friendship. Walters, Singh and Illverwood
are now halfway through their final
year of engineering at Ryerson, and
they thought their bond couldn’t be
broken—until it was.
It was a dark night over the winter break, but their moods seemed
to brighten the space. Soft candles
glowed all around the small living
room in their shared Jarvis Street
apartment. The power had gone out
half an hour earlier, so the group
took the opportunity to engage in a
game of Monopoly.
“We’d never actually played together before, and Georgia had just
gotten a set for Christmas,” said
Singh. And so, the three friends
gathered around their coffee table
with the game and a few snacks.


because I knew nothing would ever
get better.” Levy now lives on a remote island up north in a miniature
version of the SLC.
Lachemi has also announced he
will be taking suggestions on how
to improve the tunnel. “I made a
little box all by myself. I covered it
in some nice shiny blue and gold paper, just like Ryerson’s colours!” said
Lachemi. The box is on his desk in

erty, Baltic Avenue. Walters was also
low on cash from paying rent “out
the ass” on her friend’s properties
that were “so littered with houses I
felt like I was in a suburb.”
When Walters said she didn’t
take Singh’s house, the finger was
pointed to banker Illverwood, who
had discovered amidst the uproar
that the bank till was missing approximately $12,355. “That money
didn’t just walk off on its own,”
said Illverwood. He accused Singh
of hiding her own house, causing
Walters “unnecessary stress” and
stealing the missing money.
Outraged, Singh threw Illverwood’s homemade guac to the
floor. Neighbours report hearing an unmanly cry of “You fool!”
“Freddie had just made some guac before the earth-shattering fight
that morning, and I had bought broke out. Illverwood retaliated by
chips. We didn’t even plan that, it
just happened! Life is so wild sometimes,” Singh said.
Walters selected the shoe, Singh
picked the horse, while Illverwood
chose the top hat and agreed to be
the banker. Walters bought the first
property—the unassuming Mediterranean Avenue a few spots down
from ‘GO’ that charges $2 rent without houses or hotels. Illverwood
soon became the owner of all the
yellow properties and Singh had a
stronghold on Boardwalk and Park
After one hour, things started getting a little dicey. “We actually lost
both the dice, but it turns out they
had rolled into the guacamole,” said
Illverwood. “It actually tasted better
after that, which was odd but nice.”
After finding the dice, Singh noticed one of the houses on her St
James Place property was missing.
She was quick to accuse Walters,
who only had two properties in her
possession: her “old faithful” Mediterranean Avenue and its sister prop-

Jorgenson Hall. He said he received
63 submissions in just 20 hours.
Some suggestions include adding
an escape-room style portion of the
tunnel between the Rogers Communication Centre and Pitman Hall,
which would feature a pool of electric eels and some gross green goop
dripping from the ceiling, as well as
a loudspeaker that plays a spooky
haunted house theme interspersed
with that weird sound Michael Jackson used to make all the time.
“My favourite idea is the caricature
booth by the Image Arts Centre entrance,” said Lachemi. He admits the
reason he is such a big fan of the idea
is that the student who submitted it
also included a drawing of Lachemi
and petty cash in the amount of $4.23
“for whatever his heart desired.”
(Lachemi said he will put it towards
buying a pair of old-fashioned roller
skates with purple laces).

It seems like students are having
mixed reactions to the idea of a tunnel on campus. “I actually don’t believe in underground passageways,”
said Holt Barbarus, a third-year philosophy major. “I’ve never stepped
foot into a basement, and I’m into
really obscure documentaries and
distressed denim.”
First-year nutrition student Holly
Platt said the tunnel seems like a
great idea. “Personally, I hate walking above ground. I feel like natural
light makes me feel kind of ill, and I
avoid it at all costs. I’m also not a big
fan of garlic, and I feel like you don’t
come across that much in a tunnel.”
Platt denied any speculation that she
was a vampire.
Students are encouraged to
share their thoughts on the tunnel
on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram by using the hashtag “#RyeTunnel.”

licking the salt off of all of Singh’s
tortilla chips and putting them back
in the bowl.
Singh was “so devastated” that she
picked up a pair of scissors and cut Illverwood’s favourite sweater to shreds.
When lllverwood reached for
Singh’s purse, Walters stepped in.
“It was just getting out of hand. I’d
never seen rage like that before,”
said Walters. “It was... inhuman. I
was picking up some bad vibes.”
It was in this moment that Walters did the only thing she could
think of: she flipped the Monopoly
board, sending hotels, money, cards,
and three figurines flying into all
corners of the apartment.
The three stood with teeth bared,
breathing heavily. Without a word,
they made their way to their respective rooms.

The following morning, they all
packed their bags and left their apartment—and their friendship—behind.
“The game, it changes you,” said
Illverwood. Nineteen days later, he
was back living at his parent’s place
in Brampton. “Sometimes you just
can’t go back. You just can’t.”
Walters is living with a girl she
met online, and hasn’t been able
to look at chips and guac the same
way ever since. “My new roommate,
she’s a guac enthusiast, and it’s...
it’s just really hard sometimes, ya
Singh has gone off the radar, and
hasn’t been seen since that night.
Having gone their separate ways,
the MDBMTBFF pact made that
fateful summer day can never be repaired. “Some things are just made
to be broken,” said Illverwood.

Kerr H

the fuck
am I?
through the maze that
is Kerr Hall for your
chance to win a $50
Starbucks gift card!
Simply complete the
maze and submit it to
The Eyeopener office
(SCC 207) with your
name, contact info
and the longest time
you’ve ever spent lost
inside that shit show
of a building! Best of
Time spent lost:

Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017



Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017

The Student Campus Centre

Applications Open

Monday, Jan. 9, 2017 at 9am

Applications Close
This award is designed to
recognize students within the
Ryerson community who have
contributed to campus life and
building community at the Student
Campus Centre as demonstrated
through exceptional volunteerism.

Monday, Feb. 20, 2017 at 9pm


Annual awards:

Awards are available to all
undergraduate students, all
continuing education and
certificate students, and all
graduates students who are
enrolled and in good standing
during Winter 2017.

$500 x4

NOTE: Members of the Ryerson Students’ Union and
the Continuing Education Students’ Association of
Ryerson or the Ryerson Student Center Board and
seniors enrolled through the Chang School are not
eligible for this award.

$2,000 x3

for Continuing Education

$2,000 x3

for Undergraduate students

for Graduate students