Ryerson group launches
TORONTO -- Ryerson Lesbians and Gay Men (RLGM) has launched its own newsletter in response to the refusal of a Ryerson student newspaper, the eyeopener, to print the group's letter to the editor. About 500 copies of the newsletter, which was critical of the eyeopener's reporting of the cancelling of the film Cruising, were distributed on campus. Copies were placed in issues of the eyeopener and handed out to students in the Hub, a Ryerson cafeteria.
newsletter as protest
Cruising, which was to be screened at the Ryerson pub on February 17, was cancelled by the Student Union of Ryerson Polytechnical Institute (SURPI), after a complaint from Kathy Rudder, the union's Director of Women's Affairs. According to the eyeopener, however, "RLGM approached Rudder asking that SURPI cancel the movie."
At a general members meeting of the eyeopener on March 17, Rudder and SURPI president-elect Steve Quigley both refuted the eyeopener's claim, stating that neither had received any input whatsoever from RLGM.
Despite these statements, a motion demanding a retraction from the eyeopener was defeated by a vote of 28-12. A second motion, which would have allowed RLGM to express its viewpoint in the paper, was not allowed to come to a vote.
Marc St. Rose, editor of the eyeopener, had refused to print a retraction when initially approached by RLGM before the meeting. He said he felt the group was "too demanding." St. Rose claimed lack of space prevented him from printing RLGM's letters, but that they would be printed in a later issue.
He was supported at the meeting by members, primarily from the eyeopener staff, who advocated stricted control of the paper by its editor rather than its student owners. They responded with cheers when someone remarked that the editor should not succumb to pressure from campus groups.
Mike Balz, advertising director for RLGM, says the eyeopener is a student owned and funded paper that should make space for students' letters. "They have made space in the past by using smaller type or continuing letters on a later page. They simply didn't want our letters printed." RLGM's have still not appeared in the eyeopener although four issues of the paper have been printed since the letters were submitted.
RLGM spokesperson Chris Brillinger feels the situation is very ironic. "the eyeopener accused us of censorship, then refused to print our letters or to retract their false statements. It is they who are trying to silence us."
Deborah Randall, a member of RLGM, says the group had been planning to start a newsletter. "Thanks to the eyeopener we've finally gotten it off the ground." The newsletter, called The Ryerson Gay Times, will be printed once a month.