By Celine Tran
Ryerson University is a university located in the heart of downtown Toronto. It’s the most applied-to university in Ontario according to their website. The university has recently come under fire for its name however. At a first glance, you might not notice anything wrong with it, but the history behind the name has sparked some discussion. Ryerson University has gone through a few name changes but has always kept the Ryerson part of the name. This change however, will remove the Ryerson part entirely.
Ryerson University is named after a man named Egerton Ryerson. His history is very controversial and has recently been brought to light after the tragic news of Indigenous children’s bodies being found buried on the grounds of former residential schools. Egerton Ryerson contributed to the design of the Canadian public school system, but he also influenced the creation of residential schools. He argued that Indigenous peoples should be put into different schools that taught western concepts in English. Although residential schools weren’t created until 16 years after his death, his argument was the key influence on why they were created in the first place.
In early June, the statue of Egerton Ryerson that resided on Ryerson University’s campus was toppled over by ralliers. The statue has not been replaced and there aren’t any plans to do so. It seems like these events have ultimately influenced Ryerson University officials to change their name.
At the time of writing, there haven’t been any changes yet. However, on the official Ryerson University website, there’s an anonymous survey that people can take. The results will determine the new name for Ryerson University and it’ll be open for submissions until December 7, 2021. You can take it here.