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Ryerson students call for reduction in tuition fees as classes move online

Ryerson students are not particularly pleased with their university at the moment. 

The school announced almost two weeks ago that the majority (if not all) of course offerings will be online in the fall semester, making them the first university in the city to do so. 

But it wasn't until yesterday, when president Mohamed Lachemi confirmed that fall tuition fees would not be reduced despite the majority of classes being online, that students really became frustrated.

News editor of student newspaper The Eyeopener, Alexandra Holyk, tweeted yesterday about Lachemi's announcement. 

"Ryerson must always put long-term economic health as a priority," he said, according to Holyk. "While we will be learning and teaching in a different way for the fall semester...academic curriculum and outcomes will remain the same."

Holyk wrote that he also said the fees "permit the university to continue to maintain buildings during this that they are safe, clean and ready to open when we are on campus together again."

Students were already calling for a reduction in both international and domestic tuition fees before this announcement, so many were extremely disappointed to hear Lachemi's statements. 

In fact, one student started a petition close to two months ago calling for tuition to be cut, and it's garnered 1,847 signatures to date. 

"Tuition for all of us is very expensive and although many of us do not reap the total benefits of what we pay we should still have the option which is not present now. We are not receiving the same learning experience and having access to all the resources we normally would," the petition states. 

"So why are we still being asked to pay the same amount as if nothing has changed? Ryerson is saving a large deal of money by only offering a fraction of what they normally do when they are fully operational. So where is that money going?"

Following Lachemi's announcement yesterday, students from the graduating class of 2021 in the Image Arts program released an open letter to the school with several requests, one of which is to reduce tuition.

"We respectfully ask that our concerns be addressed in order to instill in us confidence that continuing our education in the fall semester is the right thing to do. Not just for our graduating class, but for all of the students following us whose education will be impacted by this pandemic," the letter reads. 

It includes three requests: that students in the Image Arts program be given access to equipment and facilities in the fall even if classes are online, that online learning modifications and accommodations be made to meet students' needs, and that tuition fees be reduced. 

"The quality of our education must be reflected in its cost. We don't want to be paying for empty studios, labs, and workspaces. If we are not experiencing the parts of our program that make it unique and hands-on, our tuition should be lowered to reflect that," they wrote. 

"If the tuition costs cannot be altered, we would like to see full financial transparency from the school in regard to how our money is being spent during COVID-19. We realize that building a new online infrastructure is costly and complex, but the quality of our education must be reflected in the cost."

Lead photo by

Fareen Karim

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