Ryerson investigation into Ghomeshi, CBC internships: no wrongdoing, no further inquiry, says journalism chair

Jian Ghomeshi speaks with Ryerson journalism professor Suanne Kelman at a Ryerson event in 2010.

Jian Ghomeshi speaks with Ryerson journalism professor Suanne Kelman at a Ryerson event in 2010.

Ryerson’s School of Journalism has conducted an informal inquiry into CBC internships dating back as far as a decade, in order to rule out any cases of sexual harassment in the wake of allegations leveled against former CBC host Jian Ghomeshi.

Ryerson’s is among several j-schools now reviewing internships at the CBC, including Carleton University, the University of King’s College and the University of Western Ontario. No allegations of sexual assault came to light during the school’s investigation, according to Ivor Shapiro, the school of journalism’s chair.

“I have now spoken personally with every faculty supervisor who has been involved with any Ryerson journalism internship at CBC, including Q (Ghomeshi’s show), over the past 10 years at least,” Shapiro said in an email.

“I have also spoken with a few students and former students who have interned at Q,” Shapiro added. “None of us has heard of any concern expressed by an intern at CBC suggesting issues of personal safety or harassment of any kind regarding anyone at CBC who might have supervised or worked with our interns.”

He added that no further investigation will be conducted.

Toronto police are investigating allegations of sexual assault by Ghomeshi, the Toronto Star reported. Ryerson’s investigation comes at a time of scrutiny on internship programs at the CBC, with several other schools investigating their internship programs that saw students sent to work with Ghomeshi.

A student as well as a professor of journalism at the University of Western Ontario say that students were warned against interning on Ghomeshi’s show, the Toronto Star reported. Carleton is also reviewing former students who had an internship at Q in wake of the Jian Ghomeshi sexual assault allegations.

They have yet to verify how many students interned on Ghomeshi’s show, but noted that 53 students have interned at CBC’s Toronto studios since 2004.

King’s College in Halifax had one student intern at the CBC show, and the journalism department said that they will be talking to the student.

“We’re not going to investigate every intern that went to the CBC or every intern that went elsewhere,” Kelly Toughill, King’s journalism director and associate professor, said.“I have looked at who went to Q and we’ve only had one student at Q in a very long time, so I am going to check in with her, but I would not, in any way, categorize that as an investigation.”

Ghomeshi, former host and creator of Q, a popular show on CBC radio, was fired on Oct. 26 by the CBC. The crown corporation said in a press release that information had come to light that “precluded” them from continuing their relationship with Ghomeshi.

Shapiro said he is confident that students would tell their supervisor of any sexual misconduct during an internship, but hasn’t heard of any problems at Q.

With files from Hayden Kenez

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