Olivia Chow event paid for by president’s office


Olivia Chow, at Ryerson’s engineering building, speaking about her newly launched memoir. (Tanya Cruz/Ryersonian staff)

By: Shane Perusse

A book-signing event at Ryerson with author and member of Parliament Olivia Chow featured a full-spread catering service for more than 300 people, all paid for by the Ryerson president’s office.

The Jan. 29 event was co-sponsored by the CAW-Sam Gindin Chair in Social Justice and Democracy, the Jack Layton Chair and the Ryerson’s Students’ Union.

The service, catered by Ryerson’s Food Services, featured $1,600 worth of sandwiches, fruit, salad and beverages, according to Michael Forbes, manager of public affairs.

Ryerson president, Sheldon Levy, said there was nothing unusual about the event.

“It’s common that a faculty member would have a guest speaker or a book launch, and we would support the same type of thing. So it’s not really supporting Olivia Chow, we support the faculty member.”

The event was free, and open to all Ryerson faculty and students. Among those attending were representatives from HarperCollins, Chow’s book publisher. Cathy Crowe, Ryerson’s distinguished visiting practitioner, was also in attendance.

Not all faculty members think the money was well spent.

“We haven’t had a printer that works (in this classroom) since September,” said Anne McNeilly. “This might be a better use for the money than to spend it on food for Olivia Chow’s guests.”

Levy said there can be as many as three to four events per week that are funded by the president’s office, with the amounts varying “quite drastically.”

“The president’s office is always there to support in small amounts the efforts of students and faculty members. It is not unusual,” he said.

This story was first published in The Ryersonian, a weekly newspaper produced by the Ryerson School of Journalism, on February 12, 2014.

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