MLSE says it is not responsible for barring ‘The Ryersonian’ from talk featuring its CEO

Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment CEO Tim Leiweke speaks Thursday at an event organized by Ryerson's MBA program. A Ryersonian reporter was denied access at the door.  (Ryerson MBA/Twitter)

Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment CEO Tim Leiweke speaks Thursday at an event organized by Ryerson’s MBA program. A Ryersonian reporter was denied access at the door. (Ryerson MBA/Twitter)

Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (MLSE) said it is not responsible for barring a Ryersonian reporter from an event in which its CEO was speaking.

Spokesman Dave Haggith said over the phone on Friday the organization does not handle attendance as the event the previous day was hosted by Ryerson’s MBA program.

A Ryersonian reporter was turned away at the door that afternoon at the Ted Rogers School of Management, and was told media needed personal pre-approval from the guest speaker, MLSE CEO Tim Leiweke.

Haggith said he was not personally involved in that as he was at the event only to accompany Leiweke.

When asked about the need for personal approval from Leiweke, Haggith said only, “You’re 24 hours late for that,” and referred questions to the MBA program.

The program did not respond to phone calls and emails and did not immediately comment when The Ryersonian visited its office.

Its representatives told a reporter they were busy and that she should come back later in the day.

When she returned, the office said it was aware The Ryersonian had been in contact, but the program was not ready to comment.

The office added it was in the process of deciding whether to “approve” or “deny” the request for comment.

The event’s online listing does not indicate any pre-approval processes for media.

The event was streamed live on Ryerson’s website, though the page has since been password-protected.

The incident is not the first time the MBA program has denied student press access to its events.

September last year, the program forced Ryersonian and Eyeopener reporters to leave a question-and-answer event with Premier Kathleen Wynne, despite having circulated a media release stating that all students and staff were welcome.

The talks by Leiweke and Wynne are part of a lecture series targeted to graduate business students. According to the event listing for Leiweke’s event, the talks aims to provide a forum for professionals and students to discuss the industry, politics and corporate social responsibility.

Ryerson School of Journalism’s guidelines specifically request the university community to not impose unreasonable barriers to journalism students.

“Ryerson is a public institution; all citizens and all journalists enjoy the right of access to public space and information,” it reads.

By Alex Heck, special to The Ryersonian, with files from Calvin Dao.

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