ryerson review of journalism

Ryerson student magazine halting use of university's name over ties to residential schools

A publication run by students in Ryerson's journalism program won't be using the university's name in its title until at least the end of the winter semester while the school examines the legacy of Egerton Ryerson and his role in the establishment of residential schools.

The publication, officially called the Ryerson Review of Journalism (RRJ), announced Thursday that it will be referred to as the [ ] Review of Journalism (the Review or the [ ]RJ for short) going forward while a presidential task force examines Egerton Ryerson's history and legacy, the findings of which are expected to be released in the summer of 2021. 

The design and editorial decision was also made in light of the School of Journalism's examination of changing the names of this publication as well as newspaper The Ryersonian's, which is currently underway.

"Egerton Ryerson's legacy includes his role in the establishment of the residential school system in Canada," reads a statement published by The Review this week.

"The residential school system was referred to by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) of Canada as a cultural genocide and has caused severe harm to Indigenous peoples in Canada."

According to the statement, The Review's team, which is composed of 15 second-year graduate students and fourth-year undergraduate students, voted unanimously for the change during a Jan. 19 masthead meeting.

It also clarifies that this is merely an editorial decision by the 2021 masthead for the 2021 publication and not an official change to the name of the publication.

"The Review's mission is to probe the quality of journalism in Canada. One of the central tenets of our mission is to 'foster critical thinking about, and accountability within, the industry,'" reads the statement. "This means we must also foster critical thinking and accountability within our own publication."

The Review has removed most mentions of the publication's full name on its social media channels, website, upcoming print edition, podcast and newsletter, though the website URL, names of social accounts and contact emails remain the same for now. 

This news comes after years of complaints from students and alumni about the school being named for one of the creators of Canada's residential school system, an issue that came to a head last summer as international calls for racial justice intensified.

"There can be no reconciliation without truth. As student journalists, it is our duty to uncover, understand, and act on the truth about our own institutions," reads the statement.

"As a masthead, we pledge to continue to educate ourselves on the history and ongoing realities of colonialism in Canada, including the legacy of residential schools, during this semester and following our graduation from this institution."

Lead photo by

Fareen Karim

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