Students prepping for the Mass Exodus fashion show 2016 (Courtesy of Arthur Mola via Ryerson School of Fashion)

Nine Ryerson fashion communication students are officially enrolled in the Mass Exodus fashion promotion course after a computer glitch saw them removed from the class before the start of the term.

Amanda Ho and Katie Ferreira, two of the affected students, started a petition on after discovering they were not enrolled in fashion promotion, which produces the Mass Exodus fashion show every year.

The fashion students reached a resolution with the department on Sept. 14, when Ho, Ferreira and several of their classmates received a “Welcome to Mass Exodus” email from the course instructors.

The glitch

The enrolment glitch caused confusion within the creative industries (CI) program and Ryerson’s School of Fashion. 

Fashion promotion is an interdisciplinary course. The School of Fashion has an agreement with creative industries (CI), which guarantees 15 seats for CI students, while the fashion program gets 20 (or more) spots. This year, the fashion department decided to only offer 35 seats in total for fashion promotion—last year, there were 50.

According to Sandra Tullio-Pow, interim chair and associate professor at the School of Fashion, the glitch occurred when CI contacted enrolment services to enroll the 15 CI students that had been selected, based on year and GPA, to be in the course. 

According to the Registrar’s Office, CI contacted enrolment services “extremely late in the scheduling process and while enrolment services attempted to accommodate the request, the system did not perform as hoped.”  

The glitch resulted in all 15 CI students being removed from the course and automatically replaced by fashion students.  

“No one caught that error,” said Tullio-Pow. When it was noticed that there were no CI students in the course, the School of Fashion had no choice but to remove 15 fashion students in order to make room for the CI students, who got the spots that had been promised to them.

“How can you make it fair at that point? I mean, it’s every mothers worst nightmare. They are all in. They want to be there. How do we pick?” said Tullio-Pow.

The School of Fashion pulled names from a hat to determine who had to be removed from class.    

“We felt it was the fairest luck of the draw,” she said.

Logo of Mass Exodus fashion show 2016 (Courtesy of Arthur Mola via Ryerson School of Fashion)

Logo of Mass Exodus fashion show 2016 (Courtesy of Arthur Mola via Ryerson School of Fashion)

Petition, then resolution

Ho and Ferreira said they were confused and concerned when the term began and they realized they had been switched out of fashion promotion. They said their frustration grew when they realized they weren’t the only ones.  

“Right before the year starts, you see your schedule. A lot of us realized we weren’t in the class and were enrolled in typography,” said Ferreira.

Ho and Ferreira reached out to the course’s instructors, Daniel Drak and Henry Navarro Delgado, who could only tell them to check their RAMSS in case someone dropped out.

The students decided to launch an online petition and then contacted Tullio-Pow. She immediately agreed to meet.

“She understood our frustrations, and she understood it wasn’t a situation that was ideal for anyone. So she was really working to make a solution,” said Ho.

Tullio-Pow met with the instructors to discuss options for a resolution. Then, she invited all of the removed students to meet with her to gauge their interest in returning to the class — with the exception of a few fourth-years that were not given priority because fashion promotion is a third-year class. In the end, nine students chose to re-enroll, bringing the current enrolment up to 44 — 30 fashion students and 14 CI students, according to Drak.

Both Ho and Ferreira said they are happy with how the situation has been resolved.

“The faculty and the staff at Ryerson are here because they want to help us … if we see there are problems or issues we really should raise our voice in a reasonable and respectful manner and say ‘Hey, help me out,’” said Ho. “That’s what they are here for and we clearly saw that.”

Olivia Chandler is a Master of Journalism candidate at Ryerson. She is a news reporter at the Ryersonian and works as an Editorial Assistant for CBC News Network. Her interests include politics, fashion and the environment.

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