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Volume 50 - Issue 15

February 1, 2017
theeyeopener.com
@theeyeopener
Since 1967

DID THIS
HAPPEN?
fake news is out there - p4.
PHOTO ILLUSTRATION: KEITH CAPSTICK

2

Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017

The Student Campus Centre

COMMUNITY
BUILDER AWARD
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

SUBMIT YOUR
APPLICATION ONLINE:
www.ryersonstudentcentre.ca

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
students

$2,000 x3

for Undergraduate students

for Graduate students

NEWS

Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017

3

Rye gets its first Muslim chaplaincy
By Alanna Rizza
Amidst recent instances of Islamophobia in the United States and
Canada, Muslim students now have
a place where they can go to for support and guidance on campus.
After about a year in the works,
the Muslim Chaplaincy at Ryerson
(MC Ryerson) will be housed in the
Ryerson Students’ Union’s (RSU)
Wellness Centre, located in the
basement of the Student Campus
Centre.
The Wellness Centre, which was
created to provide students with
extra support and mental health resources, is set to open officially midFebruary.
MC Ryerson will work with the
Ryerson Chaplain Association, a
comittee of different faiths that collaborate in the Wellness Centre.
Yasin Dwyer, chaplain for MC
Ryerson, said he will be providing
students with spiritual guidance, education and moral support to handle
university life.
“We wish to help build a relationship with university administration and responsibly advocate
for the needs of Muslims on campus,” Dwyer wrote via email. “MC
Ryerson hopes to provide pastoral
care and mentorship for Muslim
students and to be available for

Yasin Dwyer in front of the Student Campus Centre.

support when needed.”
Ryerson Muslim Students’ Association (MSA) president Mariam
Nouser said, “We were one of the
only faiths on campus without a spiritual leader around or on campus.”
“After a year of hard work, we
have landed a full-time chaplain that
will provide the spiritual and counselling needs of students that the
MSA cannot do simply because of
expertise.”
MC Ryerson is one of two chapters of the Muslim Chaplaincy of
Toronto, which also provides services to the Chaplain at the University of Toronto.
Dwyer added that the chaplaincy

PHOTO: ALANNA RIZZA

will also be a place where students
can go to seek help for dealing with
tragedies.
On Jan. 27, U.S. President Donald
Trump issued an executive order
that banned citizens born in seven
Muslim-majority countries from
entering the U.S.
Two days later, on Jan. 29, six
people died after a shooting at a
mosque in Quebec City. And here at
Ryerson, on Jan. 20, vice president
operations candidate Ali Yousaf’s
RSU election banner was defaced
with an Islamophobic message soon
after the posters were put up.
“It’s important that a Muslim
chaplain is available for mentor-

Campaign expenses $12,000 over budget
By Neha Chollangi
The Ryerson Students’ Union
(RSU) funding for election campaigning is over budget by at least
$12,000, according to vice president operations Neal Muthreja.
The current RSU budget for
elections, which includes the salary of the chief returning officer
(CRO), is about $32,000. The CRO,
Amiri Dear, is an impartial member of the RSU who oversees the
election process and conducts annual reports.
This year there are four official
slates: Spark, Elevate, Ohana and
the Rhino party—the highest number in recent years. The campaign
budget was exceeded due to the
unexpected amount of slates running.
“I don’t think we can put a cap
on the number of slates because everyone is entitled to run with their
own beliefs and campaign,” said
Muthreja.
The original budget of $17,500 is
meant to go toward campaign expenses, such as print media, sponsors and ads.
But Muthreja said expenses will
reach approximately $30,000 this
year.
According to RSU bylaws, each
executive candidate receives $500

Posters. Posters are everywhere.

and every director candidate receives $300 towards their campaign. Candidates spend the money
out of their own pockets for campaigning and present expense reports with receipts to the CRO.
The CRO then reviews the reports
and reimburses the candidates.
Muthreja said that when the bylaw committee tried to cut down
the election expenditure at the
2016 Semi-Annual General Meeting, the general membership did
not agree with the cut, so a friendly
amendment was made to keep it at
$300 per director candidate.
Last year, the RSU considered
having paperless campaigns after the Board of Governors election, however, the motion was not
passed.
Stephan Allen, Elevate candidate
for vice-president student life &

PHOTO: SARAH KRICHEL

events, said he believes that banners are necessary to create awareness among the student body about
the elections.
“Going paperless at this current
point in time is not a realistic way
to ensure all Ryerson students have
a chance to become aware of the
election,” he said.
Allen said not all students are on
social media platforms, so posters are
an effective way to make everyone
aware of the elections.
But Muthreja said the amount of
posters used in campaigns is “unnecessary.”
His slate has prioritized reaching out to students through social
media.
The CRO will be publishing the
election report during the first
week of April in which suggestions
of improvement will be made.

ship, for counselling, and for dealing with these kinds of tragedies,”
Dwyer said.
Fourth-year journalism student
Amira Zubairi said the chaplaincy
will be a resource that Muslim students need, especially if they’re not
receiving adequate support from
their family or friends.
“I can’t imagine a more important
time for Muslim students to have
access to a chaplaincy. Many of us,
including myself, may be finding it
difficult to cope with and fully process the information, news, stories
we are consuming so quickly in the
last few days.”
Ryerson president Mohamed
Lachemi released statements regarding Trump’s executive order
and the mosque shooting.
“At times such as this we must
stand together in condemnation
of hate and terror, and reinforce,
in thought and action, our university’s values of inclusion, equity
and diversity,” Lachemi’s statement
read.
Lachemi also said the university
is assisting any Ryerson community members with travel, study,
research or work that has been affected by the travel ban.
“Ryerson will continue to support
and welcome people from around
the world to our community.”

News
Bites
RSU general
manager resigns
Natasha Campagna resigned from her
general manager position at the Ryerson Students’ Union on Jan. 26.
Campagna started working at the
RSU in November 2015. This was
immediately before the controversial
RSU restructuring, where former
employee Gilary Massa was laid off
in December 2015.

Controversial RTA
film approved
An RTA student film that leads the
audience to sympathize with a protagonist who has committed sexual
assault was greenlit by professors
last week.
Some students say it sheds an unnecessarily positive light on aggressors, but co-creator Josh Storey says
it will educate people on the negativity of sexual assault.

VoteOhana.ca
domain is porn
If you’re looking for some information on the Ohana slate, make sure
you don’t go to VoteOhana.ca. Unless you want to see a dingling dongle. NSFW, obviously.

EDITORIAL

4

Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017

Nothing but the truth

Communities

Sidney “White Lies” Drmay
Fun

Skyler “Alternative Facts” Ash
Media

Editor-in-Chief

Nicole “The Clothed Truth”
Schmidt

Thomas “Illusive Information” Skrlj
Carl “Fictitious Basis” Solis
Copy Editor
Igor “Unreal Reality” Magun

News

Alanna “Altered Truth” Rizza
Sarah “Distorted Reality” Krichel
Jacob “Skewed Evidence” Dubé
Photo

The day after tomorrow and the day after that.

By
Skyler Ash

Describe yourself in one word. Are
you smart? Are you kind? Are you
loyal? I’m funny. If there’s one thing
that’s always been true about me, it’s
that I can make people laugh, or at
least smirk and exhale a little more
air than usual.
Last week, more than 4,000
people read three fun stories on
The Eyeopener’s website and some
thought they were real. But they
weren’t. I would have described
those 4,000 people as gullible. But is
that fair? I don’t know these people.
Now more than ever, people who
read the news must do so with a
wary eye. Caution is key, and hypervigilance is paramount.
There’s a scary phenomenon on
the rise. It threatens the bond that
journalists like myself and my fellow
editors at The Eye have worked so
hard to uphold: a bond of trust between us and our readers. You don’t
read the news to find lies, you read
it for the truth. The cold hard facts,
not the “alternative facts.”
Here at The Eyeopener, we produce real news, and we do it pretty
well. Sometimes, we’re almost too
good at finding the truth—and that
makes people angry. But that’s a
good thing, because the truth can be
uncomfortable. And once in a while,
people need to realize that what
makes you uncomfortable is often
what triggers change.
But we don’t just produce news.
We also produce satire. Pick up
a copy of our paper. Turn to the
last page. Welcome to the fun section! As fun editor, that’s been my
home for the last year-and-a-half.
It’s where I write whatever I want,
quote whoever I want and sometimes, they let me change the font
colour.
The fun section is where you go
from ‘smart’ and ‘kind’ and ‘loyal’ to
‘gullible,’ because nothing we print
here is real—and it’s been one of
our traditions for decades. By the
very definition of satire, we take
real events, real topics, real people

PHOTO ILLUSTRATION: KEITH CAPSTICK

General Manager

Liane “Toddler King Takedown”
McLarty

Devin “Substituted Actuality” Jones
Izabella “Different Perspective”
Balcerzak
Keith “Fake News” Capstick

Advertising Manager

Chris “Counterfactual” Roberts
Design Director

Bryan “Rannah Montana” Meler
Ben “Bench Points” Waldman
Matt “Double Duty” Ouellet
Brenda “Office Camera” MolinaNavidad
Matt “Rock’em Brock’em” Collins
Lisa “MRIte?” Cumming
Jamie “Free Content” Tozer
Playing the role of the Annoying Talking Coffee Mug this week is student
politics. With the grey days of winter—a
time of low morale and snappish tempers—what better time to contemplate
RSU elections here at Rye High? Well
kids, the news ain’t good. The gene pool
has gone from low to subterranean over
the last few years. To quote a *suit* here
at Ryerson, “What the hell, the TRSM
kids manage the RSU for two years
and blow that shit up?” Well, yes—the
business kids have truly fucked the dog.
How quickly the integrity of intellect has
disappeared, woe is me! But seriously, I
know it’s up to a judge to decide if it was
“misappropriation”—we just need one
noble soul to come forward. And then,
let the fisticuffs fly. We see you, Bag of
Doorknobs. I say corruption is the correct verdict.

and real problems, then we present
J.D. “Sham” Mowat
them to you in a new light. We do
it to show you why you should care
Online
Intern Army
about something, or to hold people
Sierra “Bogus Law” Bein
Jonathan “Fraudulent” Parasiliti
accountable for the things they do. Farnia “Deceiving Matter” Fekri
Zadie “Erroneous” Laborde
(But we also do it for the laughs.)
Lee “Flipside” Richardson
No, Mohamed Lachemi isn’t usContributors
ing his Christmas money to pay for
Features
Emerald “No McFly zone”
your 6 Fest refunds. No, there isn’t Karoun “Contrary to Popular Belief”
Bensadoun
a secret club at Ryerson that fights
Chahinian
Melissa “Fun Run” Salamo
squirrels in Lake Devo. No, Meryl
Sylvia “AT-AT” Lorico
The Eyeopener is Ryerson’s largest and
Streep didn’t call out a member of
Arts and Life
Raneem “Star Destroyer” Lorico only independent student newspaper. It
the RSU. And no, Ryerson’s not get- Annie “Imaginary Evidence” Arnone
Syed “ARC Trooper” Razvi
is owned and operated by Rye Eye Pubting a tunnel (but we totally should).
Neha “TIE Fighter” Chollangi
lishing Inc., a non-profit corporation
And no, we didn’t trick you. EvSports
Premila “Ian” D’Sa
owned by the students of Ryerson. Our
ery fun story is tagged and catego- Daniel “Delusive Certainty” Rocchi
Laura “Howling” Howells
offices are on the second floor of the
rized as ‘fun.’ None of the quotes are
Victoria “Elevator” Shariati
Student Campus Centre. You can reach
real. Often, the people aren’t real.
Biz and Tech
Jesse “Is The” Caplan
us at 416-979-5262, at theeyeopener.com
We didn’t trick you. You probably Justin “Genuine Phony” Chandler
Noushin “Groovin’” Ziafati
or on Twitter at @theeyeopener.
tricked yourself.
Fake news is dangerous, not just
because it’s fake, but because we
often don’t check to see if it’s fake.
We see a headline, we read it, we
keep scrolling. We see a photo, we
share it, we move on with our lives.
We believe it because in that moment, it seemed real, and that was
enough.
It’s easy to walk into a trap without even noticing. But you need
to stop doing that. Look around.
Think critically. Think realistically.
And be selective. Just because you
read it on a nice looking website, it
doesn’t mean it’s legitimate. Just because someone broke it up into neat
little paragraphs, it doesn’t mean
what they wrote is true. Just because
it’s a nice photo, it doesn’t mean it’s
real and hasn’t been doctored.
Trust is a complicated thing. We
give it away too easily, and often to
the wrong people. You might trust
someone at the bus stop to give
you directions, but would you trust
them with you personal finances?
No. You’d go find the person who’s
qualified.
In the world of news, it’s the honest, hardworking journalists who
are qualified.
The news moves fast. Do we always get it right? No. But do we try
our hardest? Always. Unfailingly.
DEADLINE: MIDNIGHT, FEBRUARY 17TH, 2017
To the end. It’s our job.
Visit: www.ryersonrams.ca/tshirtdesigncontest
News: it’s the truth. Satire: it’s a
joke. What you believe? That’s up
for all contest submission rules & guidelines.
to you.

T-SHIRT

DESIGN

CONTEST!

WIN a

$1,000
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SCHOLAR

NEWS

Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017

5

“If you’re struggling, it’s a sign of weakness”
Two suicides over the past two years draw attention to gruelling hours and mounting pressures in creative programs
By Jacob Dubé
Over the past two years, two students in creative programs at Ryerson have committed suicide, and the
effects of the high-intensity nature
of these programs has been called
into question.
A 2015 study in Nature Neuroscience found a link between people
in creative professions and mental
health issues, such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.
Because creative programs, such
as RTA, film studies and interior
design, are very dependent on
building a solid portfolio and contacts, students miss out on sleep
and play down their mental health
issues.
Eleanor Chan, fourth-year interior design student and a Ryerson
Students’ Union (RSU) board member, said the industry isn’t supportive, and nobody is willing to talk
about it.
Andria Wong, a fifth-year interior design student and friend of
Chan’s, was able to receive counselling from Ryerson, but only because
one of her friends had a breakdown
in their studio and was escorted out
by an ambulance. Her friend didn’t

Students in creative programs have a lot on their plate.

want to tell anybody about her issues at first because she didn’t want
her classmates to think of her a certain way.
After the incident, Wong and
her friends got immediate access to
FCAD’s counsellor.
Chan said that whenever someone in her program wants to take a
step back from work and focus on
their mental health, they’re looked
down on by their professors and fellow students.
“If you’re struggling, it’s a sign of
weakness. Because being in a creative field, if you’re not hardwork-

PHOTO: ALANNA RIZZA

ing, how are you expected to succeed?” she said.
Although meeting counsellors at
Ryerson can be challenging because
of month-long waitlists, Wong says
the school does have a good support
system in place to deal with stress
and mental health issues. She said
professors are willing to help.
In Ryerson’s film studies program, students don’t have much
time for anything other than work.
Fourth-year film student Marissa
Bergougnou said that in the final
year of the program, students can go
down two paths in the curriculum,

The Office of the Ombudsperson at
Ryerson presents its

both of which require them to have
participating roles in at least three
films.
“It’s really difficult to coordinate,
especially when everyone is filming
at the same time, everyone is editing at the same time, there’s limited
resources. So time management is
a big issue,” Bergougnou said. She
says that her shooting days can be
12-hours long or more.
This year, the RTA program’s curriculum changed, pushing back the
development of their end-of-degree
practicum projects by one year. Instead of pitching and going through
pre-production for their end-of-degree projects in fourth year, students
in the RTA program must have their
pitch ready by third year.
By moving pre-production a year
back, it allows students more time in
their fourth year to begin working
on their practicum. However, some
students say this change adds stress.
“Switching the program … puts
added pressure on students to know
what they want to do for practicum
without having the proper classes to
teach them key tools they need to
produce a practicum,” said secondyear RTA student Julianna D’Urzo.
But Robert Bull, a third-year

RTA student, thinks the curriculum is supposed to relieve students’
anxiety.
Some students in other creative
programs still feel pressured, not
only by the weight and workload of
their curriculums, but by the mentality that the industry forces students to have.
Ryerson president Mohamed
Lachemi said that Ryerson does
put the mental well being of its students first.
“I know that some of the programs put extra pressure on students because of the nature of the
program,” he said. “We do our best
to minimize the pressure on our
students, but part of the requirement is making sure that students
can work with certain tools. We
also have to respect the framework
the government has put on us.”
The main problem, Wong said,
is that students have to be able to
accept that they need help.
“The issue is a lot of the students
are completely afraid. And I know
that people who really need that
help, they’re just surviving,” she said.
“I wish there was more transparency
and more support, and open conversation about with that idea.”

15 |16

2015 / 2016
Annual Report
to the Ryerson Community.

LISTENING
& LEARNING

The Ombudsperson’s Office is:

ANNUAL REPORT FOR JULY 1, 2015
TO JUNE 30, 2016 FOR THE OMBUDSPERSON
AT RYERSON UNIVERSITY

s Independent
s Impartial
s Confidential
s Fair
Read the report online at:
www.ryerson.ca/ombuds
63 Gould Street, Oakham House
416.979.5000 ext. 7450
ombuds@ryerson.ca
T H E

O M B U D S P E R S O N

A T

R Y E R S O N

U N I V E R S I T Y

|

A N N U A L

R E P O R T

FEATURES

6

Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017

KNOCKEDOUT
Lisa Cumming looks at the mental health effects of
concussions among athletes and the darker side
of quitting a sport post-injury

T

he Ryerson women’s hockey team
was facing Guelph University at
the end of January 2012. When
the puck dropped, the fifth game of their
season began. As Paulena Jakarsezian skated
across the ice, she quickly glanced back to
survey her surroundings. A second later,
she collided with a teammate. The feeling
of impact came hard and fast. Her teeth
cracked together; she wasn’t wearing a
mouthguard. The incident left her with
her first (and her worst) head injury to date.
After that concussion—one of eight
throughout her four years of playing hockey
at Ryerson—Jakarsezian started grinding
her teeth at night. Once, she woke up to
find missing fillings. Another morning, a
shattered tooth.

Immediately
after
a
concussion,
Jakarsezian used to continue to play without
allotting herself time for a safe recovery,
or reporting her injury. A hockey rink is
extremely bright and loud—conditions that
are not suitable for someone with a brain
injury. She sought out Advil as the answer to
mind-numbing headaches, but often found
herself spacing out during games; what felt
like three seconds of staring at the ice turned
out to be three minutes on the clock. She had
trouble remembering where in the lineup she
was and who she was supposed to replace.
Her last concussion, in January 2016,
was the one that took her off of the ice
completely—and the one that took the
largest toll on her emotionally. “You think
you know what anxiety is, then you get

Ryerson should have an invasive plan, even for
when athletes aren’t athletes anymore. But, we
are reactive: unless something is brought up in
a serious matter, they don’t have a reason to
change things

a concussion and you really know what
anxiety and clinical depression feels like,”
she says.
Alongside her anxiety, Jakarsezian also
experienced short-term memory loss and
exhaustion. She says at one point, her
emotional and mental state got so bad that
she had to stay home for a month, locked in
her room. She could hardly string a sentence
together and she struggled to describe her
emotions. “When you break your leg you
can heal it again, when you hurt your brain
it’s not the same,” she said. “People with
concussions end up killing themselves.”
oung athletes are under a tremendous
amount of pressure to succeed in
their sport, and like Jakarsezian, they
sometimes prioritize their athletic prowess
over their physical and mental health, which
can be more interconnected than perceived.
A recent study done by the Canadian Medical
Association Journal concludes that adults
who suffer from concussions are three times
more likely to be at risk of suicide, and many
more suffer from depression and anxiety.
While the connection between brain
injuries and mental illness used to be unclear,
research from the Radiological Society of
North America highlights technological
developments that have allowed doctors
to gain a better understanding of the
relationship. By using MRIs to compare
patients who had experienced mental illness
post-concussion and those who hadn’t, they
were able to detect unique brain patterns
and abnormalities in the white matter—the
substance that helps sends messages through
the brain—with those who had. Patients who

Y

were depressed had decreased functionality
of their white matter and those with anxiety
had impaired white matter function.
For Jakarsezian, concussions never
seemed like a serious issue. She would always
reassure herself that it “wasn’t as bad” as the
last one. Unfortunately, before she started
playing at Ryerson, she was not aware of
the potentially serious repercussions. It just
takes one concussion to change the course of
a life, and having to walk away from hockey,
Jakarsezian says, was the worst heartbreak.
Right after her athletic career ended, she
found herself wanting to ask for help, but
felt inhibited by her symptoms.
yerson currently follows the U
Sports and Ontario University
Athletics (OUA) protocol for
concussions, which consists of the baseline
test that studies an athlete’s response times,
according to Dr. Ivan Joseph, director of
athletics and women’s varsity soccer coach.
The coach will immediately pull the player
if their score is too low, says Joseph. The
player will see a therapist when they’re back
on campus and sit out of practices and games
until they are symptom-free for 24 hours.
After that, they begin the Return to Play
protocol, which involves a gradual series
of exercises over a few days. If the player’s
symptoms start up again, they will have to
start the process all over again.
All Ryerson athletes have access to
the Integrated Services Team. The team
has athletic therapists, athletic student
therapists, a sports medicine physician,
an in-house athletics counsellor and an
academic services coordinator.

R

Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017
Colleen Amato, a former athlete,
understands how important it is for students
with concussions to get help. She’s the only
in-house counsellor for Ryerson Athletics,
so she has to be creative about how to best
meet everyone’s needs.
Amato also runs a new injured athlete
support group, which had its first session
on Jan. 30. The group is a safe space for
current and former athletes to talk about
their injuries and discuss the prospect of
returning to their sport—those with severe
injuries may never get back on the field, or
the court, or the ice.
In recent years, the scientific and
psychological study of concussions has
drastically increased. Locally, Ryerson
professor Joe Recupero, alongside St.
Michael’s Hospital psychiatrists Shree
Bhalerao and Ryan Todd, and neurosurgeon
Michael Cusimano, created a documentary
film about the psychological impact of
concussions. This led to a partnership with
the National Film Board to create a virtual
classroom that discusses sports, concussions
and athletes feeling pressured to play through
head injuries.
Ryerson’s Jahan Tavakkoli has also
collaborated with St. Michael’s researchers.
He uses acoustic shock waves to measure the
brain’s reaction to a concussion, which can
help doctors better understand how to treat
brain injuries.
eather Brown, a second-year history
student and former women’s varsity
soccer player, says that despite the
help she’s received from Ryerson’s athletics
staff, there are still too many bureaucratic
hoops to jump through when having to prove
your mental inability in the classroom.
“There are so many steps to the actual
process and so many people you need to
meet with. It took more time to do that than
go to actual classes,” she says.
Brown has had four diagnosed
concussions, but like Jakarsezian, she’s had
five additional “off the record” injuries. The
first happened when she was just 10 years
old, and her first head injury as a Ryerson
athlete took place during one of the team’s
early games in 2015 when she took an elbow

H

FEATURES
to the head, but continued to play. During
that same game, Brown took a second hit.
As she slid on the grass to save a shot, a girl
from the opposing team fell knee first onto
her temple. She immediately blacked out
and threw up—two of the most common
concussion symptoms. After being taken off
the field and put in an ambulance, she had
x-rays done to ensure her cheek and temple
bones were not fractured.
Coping with the abrupt end of her athletic
career was difficult. Post-concussion, Brown
found herself struggling with schoolwork.
Before the injury, she says she could study
for six hours at a time. But doctor’s orders
recommended that she study for 10-15
minutes at a time, then take an hour break.
Professors didn’t understand why she
couldn’t do her work, or why she wasn’t
going to class. Despite her doctor’s advice
to take time off of school, her request for
academic support had yet to be processed by
Ryerson, so she continued to commute an
hour from the east-end. One day, she passed
out on the subway and woke up at Kipling
station—the last stop in the west-end.
Similarly, Jakarsezian describes the
university’s accommodation process as
“reactive.” “Unless something is brought up
in a serious matter, they don’t have a reason
to change things.”
The transition wasn’t easy for Brown. She
went from being an athlete with a hectic
game schedule to a student with too much
free time and no distractions.
The slow recovery, accompanied by a long
medical restrictions, leaves many concussion
sufferers living in darkness and isolation for
weeks. In extreme cases, it can even last
months or years.
Adding the sudden end to an athletic
career into the equation is what often pushes
some people into depression and anxiety.
“I had to cope with the chapter ending in
my life that I wasn’t ready to end. It kinda
hits you like a brick,” Brown says. “I was
expecting to have another year and all of
a sudden, within one week, my career was
over.”
When she accepted the fact that she could
no longer be on the field, Brown fostered an

7

C

interest in Olympic weightlifting.
oncussion
research
has
seen
significant progress over the last six
years, but someone like myself—or
any of the athletes I spoke with for this story—
could have benefitted from more knowledge
earlier on. I played rugby for nearly four years
throughout high school and sustained four
known concussions—two of them put me in
the hospital. The rest, I ignored.
My first concussion happened in Grade 9
during my first year on the team. I played
a defensive position and made a bad tackle.
A girl fell on my face and I blacked out,
then vomited on the sideline. One of my
last concussions happened during practice.
I’m still not sure who hit me. All I really

never followed doctor’s recommendations
and often refused to go to the hospital so
he could continue to compete. But as he got
more competitive and the pressure started
to mount, his mental health deteriorated.
Williams says he started having aggressive
outbursts when he was alone in his room.
He remembers breaking down and not
wanting to attend his practices. “At the time,
I thought this was normal but looking back,
you know hindsight is 20/20 and it wasn’t,”
he says. Since quitting, Williams says his
mental health has improved, despite the
occasional dark moment.
s for my own recovery story, I dealt
with depression, self harm and an
eating disorder after my concussions.

A

When you break your leg you can heal it
again, when you hurt your brain it’s not the
same, people with concussions end up killing
themselves


remember was cracking my head against
the astroturf on a cold March morning. A
string of pain travelled from the bottom
of my tailbone to the top of my skull, then
everything went black. My dad came and
picked me up from the principal’s office
and took me to the hospital, where I sat
on a chair in the dark and tried to tune out
the background noise. I wore a dazed and
clueless smile for the rest of my Grade 12
year.
eclan Williams, a former national
level judoka, has been practicing
judo for more than 10 years and has
experienced his fair share of head injuries. He

D

I was educated on what concussions are,
but I wasn’t warned about what they can
do to you long term, both physically and
mentally.
I wasn’t warned about the mornings
that I would wake up and wish I hadn’t, or
the nights that I would have to resort to
something other than an herbal tea or deep
breathing to calm me down.
I can say that concussions change the
way you see the world. Stories that shine
light on those living with brain trauma
help destigmatize concussions and start
conversations around what can be done
better to help those impacted.

Adults who have had
concussions are 3 times
more likely to be suicidal
in their lifetime
94% of Emergency
Department visits for
sport-related brain
injuries in 2014–2015
were concussions
PHOTOS COURTESY OF CREATIVE COMMONS

ARTS & LIFE

8

Let’s actually talk about mental
By Annie Arnone
Two years ago, Jannat Gardezi sat
in her English class, horrified as her
professor called the names of each
student, one by one, to come up to
the front and submit their essays.
Gardezi’s professor was aware of
her academic accommodations and
agreed to collect her paper on a later
date, but she expected the professor
would forget. Minutes later, when
her names was called, her heart sank.
She could feel people around her
staring. Fumbling her words and
mortified at the situation, all she
could say was “I don’t have it.” It
was then that her professor had re-

membered why.
Before this incident, Gardezi kept
quiet about her mental health. But in
that moment, when she was singled
out, she believed everyone thought
something was wrong with her.
“Why did you get an extension?” her
classmates asked. “What happened?”
The third-year criminology student was given an official diagnosis
of borderline personality disorder
in 2012, and since, she has also faced
complications with anxiety and depressive disorder. In addition to her
struggle with academic accommodation at Ryerson, Gardezi has faced
discrimination in the workplace
based on her mental illness. Despite

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her inability to balance her mental health, school work and job as a
receptionist, Gardezi continued to
juggle all three out of fear of looking
like a failure.
Twenty per cent of all Canadians
will be affected by mental health in
their lifetime, according to the Canadian Mental Health Association
(CMHA). But students are especially vulnerable to complications
with their mental health. According
to a survey done at the University
of Alberta, about 51 per cent of students said they’d felt hopelessness
and overwhelming anxiety in their
school year.
Jan. 25 was Bell Let’s Talk day,
but a lot of people still aren’t talking—even those who are limit their
discussion to one day each year.
Gardezi feels that there is a large
difference between talking about
mental illness and understanding
it.
“Education on the matter of mental illness is important,” she said. “But
people’s lack of understanding is what
makes them less empathetic. It goes
beyond, ‘Hey, you can talk to me’ and
should be, ‘Hey, I understand.’”
Gardezi attributes this lack of
knowledge to campaigns like Bell
Let’s Talk, which address disorders
like depression or anxiety but neglects things like bipolar disorder or
schizophrenia in advertisements.

Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017
Mental health in the classroom is affecting students. Despite
campaigns like Bell Let’s Talk, people still aren’t talking

PHOTO: DEVIN JONES

“When everyone looked at me,
I felt like something was wrong
with me,” said Gardezi. “I don’t like
people knowing that I need extra
help, or extra time.” The stares she
received reinforced that feeling for
her, too.
Dr. Jon Goldin, a psychiatrist
specializing in adolescent mental
health, said in a Huffington Post article that encouraging conversation
is just a start. “So much more needs
to be done.”
“We need a more holistic approach where teachers see supporting pupil mental health as being
equally important as teaching literacy or numeracy,” he said.
Third-year aerospace engineering student, Shayan Yazdanpanah
spoke at the Voices of Experience:
Mental Health and Resilience panel at Ryerson on Jan. 25, addressing the struggles that students like
him face with their mental health,
every day.
“You’re expected to be a student

when you come to campus, you’re
not expected to be a ‘whole person’
and you check all your baggage at
the door when you leave in the
morning, as a result,” he said.
Yazdanpanah is involved with a
number of organizations on campus
involving mental health, including
Rams Let’s Talk—a yearly initiative
similar to Bell Let’s Talk where 15
cents is raised to various mental
health clinics in Toronto for every
tweet including the hashtag #RamsLetsTalk.
He also does school talks across
the city with Jack.org—a youth-led
group who organize school talks
and initiatives to speak up about
mental health.
“It’s so important to give a student
voice to those who are struggling,”
he said. “We hear all the time that
‘Many are going through the same
thing,’ but people really are going
through the exact same thing and
we need to talk and care for one another.”

SPORTS

Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017

9

One Ring to Ram them all
After losing to Ryerson in last year’s OUA Final, Kellie Ring
is powering the women’s basketball team’s title defence
By Bryan Meler

T
H
I
N
THINKPINK
THINK

WEEK

K

WED. FEB.1 VS YORK
BASKETBALL - WOMEN’S 6:00 / MEN’S 8:00 PM

THURS. FEB. 2 VS LAKEHEAD

P

HOCKEY - MEN’S 7:15 PM

FRI. FEB.3 VS QUEEN’S

I

When Kellie Ring decided to
transfer to Ryerson and join the
Rams women’s basketball team in
the summer, she made sure to do it
right.
Instead of reminiscing about
the good old days she’d had at the
University of Ottawa, Ring got a
head start settling into her new
home. Training camp wasn’t until
August, but she arrived at the
Mattamy Athletic Centre (MAC)
three months early. She wanted to
give herself time to get to know her
teammates and coaches in her last
year of Ontario University Athletics
(OUA) eligibility.
Ring thought she would be the
only one at the MAC in the middle of
summer. Instead, she was pleasantly
surprised—and relieved—when she
saw her new teammates, Sofia Paska
and Katherine Follis, working out
like they were a week away from the
start of the season.
“I remember the first day that
summer, it became really obvious
that they were hungry to get better,”
said Ring. “I wanted to be part of
that, and do whatever I needed to
do to help them take the next step
this season.”
After winning Ryerson’s firstever national silver medal at the CIS
(now U Sports) tournament last year,
it’s only natural that the Rams have
their sights set on U Sports gold. But
before they can look to nationals, the
team must defend the first Critelli
Cup championship in program
history—a title they won by beating
Ring and the Gee-Gees on Ottawa’s
home court in last year’s OUA final.
“It was weird during the banner
ceremony, remembering they beat
me last year, but I’ve moved on,” said
Ring. “As a team we’ve had a couple
laughs over it, but I don’t really think
about it now.”
Repeating as champions will be
tough for the Rams, especially after
watching Siki Jez, Mariah Nunes
and reigning CIS Player of the Year
Keneca Pingue-Giles all graduate

following the team’s historic season.
“We’ve tried to not to have the
mindset of descending this season,
just because of how different our team
is now,” said head coach Carly Clarke.
“We know we just need to focus on
making our current situation special.”
Having won an OUA title and a
CIS bronze medal with the Gee-Gees
in 2012, Ring knows the pressure of
being the “team to beat.” While the
Rams have felt the sting of losing
both of their co-captains in PingueGiles and Jez, they’ve benefited from
Ring’s influence as an experienced
fifth-year guard playing for a team
that’s hungry to stay on top.
“She definitely plays with an edge
and with some grit,” said Clarke.
“Something that’s making everyone
around her better as well.”
Ring has emerged as one of the
Rams’ top floor generals—a player
who leads by driving offence. She
leads the team in assists, steals and
minutes played, while also sitting
second in scoring with an average
of more than 15 points per game.
She’s one of two Ryerson athletes
to be named OUA Athlete of the
Week so far this season, an honour
she earned in November. She’s
stayed hot since then, putting up
at least 10 points in each of her last
10 games as of Jan. 31, including a
pair of 20-point performances and
a double-double in Ryerson’s recent
comeback win against the Brock
Badgers at the Meridian Centre in
St. Catharines, Ont.
With relatively young secondyear centre Paska driving Ryerson’s
offence from the middle of the court—
leading the team with over 18 points
a game—Ring has helped handle the
pressures of leadership while giving
the Rams a lethal offensive alternative
to Paska. Both will be essential if the
Rams hope to defend their OUA title
and claim a national championship.
“I started building chemistry with
Kellie in the summer ‘cause I wanted
her to be comfortable,” said Paska.
“Now she’s the one giving me energy
in huddles, and really stepping up as
one of our leaders.”

BASKETBALL - WOMEN’S 6:00 / MEN’S 8:00 PM

N

SAT. FEB.4
VOLLEYBALL VS BROCK
WOMEN’S 4:00 / MEN’S 6:00 PM

Men’s Basketball
Men’s volleyball
Jan. 27 - Rams: 3
Jan. 28 - Rams: 3

Men’s Hockey

Queen’s: 2
RMC: 0

Jan. 27 - Rams: 4 Queen’s: 0
Jan. 28 - Rams: 6 UOIT: 3

WoMen’s Basketball

Jan. 25 - Rams: 74 McMaster: 76
Jan. 27 - Rams: 91 Brock: 75

WoMen’s Volleyball
Jan. 27 - Rams: 3
Jan. 28 - Rams: 3

WoMen’s Hockey
Jan. 28 - Rams: 0

For more game coverage, visit theeyeopener.com

Queen’s: 1
RMC: 0

Brock: 1

HOCKEY VS QUEEN’S
WOMEN’S 2:00 PM

Donations: www.ryersonrams.ca
Swipe & Win! Your Ryerson OneCard is Your Ticket into the game!

@ryersonrams

#WeRRams

ryersonrams.ca

K

Jan. 25 - Rams: 99 McMaster: 77
Jan. 27 - Rams: 65 Brock: 74

ALTERNATIVE FACTS

10

Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017

How to alienate your friends: a guide
By Skyler Ash

*The Eyeopener doesn’t endorse violence.

PHOTO: DEVIN JONES

Sometimes, people suck. And sometimes, those people are your friends.
There comes a time in everyone’s life
when you just have to cut people out.
Grab those scissors and don’t hold
back. Since it can be hard to let go
of someone who you once held dear,
here are a few tips on how to alienate
your friends. (Please do not use actual
scissors. That was just a saying. You
know, like a joke? Forget it, just read
the list).
1. Punctuate your texts. The
only people who properly punctuate
their texts are self-described “intellectuals” and people who are trying
to cut you out of their lives, which
is why this tip was first on the list.
Proper punctuation says, “We’re
done. It was nice while it lasted,”
without actually having to say any
of that. A period at the end of a sentence in a text is basically a silent
goodbye. Add a couple semicolons;
nobody knows how to use them
properly, but they look cool. BAM!

Goodbye friendship, hello crying
alone in your room at 2 a.m. with
“Careless Whisper” playing quietly
in the background.
2. The casual laugh-and-readjust. This manoeuvre, when
properly employed, causes maximum hurt feelings while doing the
least amount of work. Here’s how
it works: you see your “friend,” and
before they see you, you grab the
person closest to you and pretend
to be laughing with wild, carefree
abandon like you and your “friend”
used to. When your “friend” looks
over and sees you, look back at
them and stop laughing for a second. Give them a real harsh up-anddown look, turn back to the random
stranger you harassed and keep
laughing. BAM! Goodbye comradery, hello sad, empty world in which
I have nobody to turn to.
3. Leave a vague post on social
media. Post a quick picture of you
out and about with your pals (soonto-be-ex-friend not included, just
like the batteries for that stupid lamp

I just bought), and caption it with the
phrase, “Out with my besties! Yep,
just me and the people I love most!
Loving life, and my very best friends!
No acquaintances here! Just the people I really care about! Haha, #ILoveMyFriends! *dancing lady emoji*”
BAM! Goodbye BFF, hello waking
up at night in a cold sweat wondering when it all went wrong.
4. Buy a whole cake. This last
tip is actually not about how to
lose your friend, it’s about how to
make you feel better after you lost
your friend because you sent grammatically correct texts, harassed
a stranger and pretended to have
better friends than the one you cut
out of your life and used the dancing lady emoji on a public forum
where everyone could see it. So, buy
a whole damn cake just for you, sit
on the floor of your room watching
all the best episodes of Friends and
remember that you come first, not
that asshole who didn’t treat you
right. Quite literally, have your cake
and eat it, too.

EYErant: annoying people
I hate a lot of things. Hate them along with me!

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We Should Know Each Other is a monthly series to promote
creative connections across generations in the Japanese Canadian
Community.
St. Andrew’s Japanese Congregation and St. David’s Anglican
Church in Toronto are pleased to host a Japanese Canadian
community building project of public conversations called
“We Should Know Each Other.”
Join us for our next conversation on February 9, featuring actor,
singer and director, Brenda Kamino, writer, Rui Umezawa and
soprano singer, Teiya Kasahara.
On March 9, our guest will be filmmaker and lawyer, Chris Hope
Gatherings will be held at 7:00 pm at St. Davids’s Anglican Church
49 Donlands Avenue (across from Donlands Subway station)
Each evening will start with a short talk or presentation by the
guest speakers followed by a moderator led discussion with the
audience.
Space is limited so please pre-register for one or all the sessions
at the “We Should Know Each Other” Facebook page.
http://www.facebook.com/WeShouldKnowEachOther/ or call the
JCCC at 416-441-2345
Co-sponsored by the Greater Toronto Chapter of the NAJC, the
Japanese Canadian Young Leaders of Toronto, the JCCC Heritage
Committee.
We welcome your ideas, your participation and your engagement
in this initiative. We look forward to seeing you there! For more
information please go to our Facebook page or for inquiries
please contact JCknoweachother@gmail.com.

CAN YOU STOP CHEWING FOREVERMORE, PLEASE.

I have this one class where I don’t
know anybody, which kind of sucks,
but is also kind of great because then
I don’t have to pretend to be happy
at 9 a.m. with a person I barely know
when we both know I’d rather be at
home under ten blankets and not be
wearing a bra.
So I sit down, and it’s loud as hell
because I’m in a class full of heathens

PHOTO: IZABELLA BALCERZAK

who have the self-control of a raging toddler. For the record, I babysit
about two nights a week and I’ve met
more well-behaved toddlers. Anyway, back to class. It’s loud, it’s weirdly hot so I have to strip down like I’m
about to get paid for my services and
then I take out some paper and a pen.
It’s 20 minutes into lecture and
we’re watching a movie. Nobody

is sitting beside me—which is how
I like it in a room full of strangers—and then this guy walks in and
sits right next to me on my right.
He slaps down a coffee, and pulls a
breakfast sandwich out of nowhere.
He proceeds to slurp his coffee like
this is the first time he’s ever consumed a liquid. As if that wasn’t bad
enough, the magical breakfast sandwich appears. I swear to god, this
guy takes fairy-sized bites, which is
so contrasting to the voracity with
which he sips his coffee.
And then, of course, he’s a loud eater. Here’s something else to add to the
record, while we’re at it: chewing is a
mouth-closed activity. The only time
you should ever open your mouth
when you’re chewing is NEVER.
Anyway, that was my day in class.
Have a great week, stay safe and
don’t chew with your mouth open
or everyone will hate you.

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Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017