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School of Journalism votes to change the names of its masthead publications

June 01, 2021

We’re pleased to announce that the School of Journalism has voted to change the names of its masthead publications in time for the new academic year starting this autumn. 

As such, 2020-21 is the last year in which The Ryersonian will use the name. Earlier this year, in recognition of the need for action, the masthead of The [        ] Review of Journalism elected to pause using the Ryerson name in the title of their publication. A statement on the Review's website, external link and in the Spring 2021 print issue details their position.

The School’s decision to rename the publications came following a unanimous vote at our School Council meeting on May 18, but it was a process that began last fall. 

Last year, journalism students started the conversation about renaming the school masthead publications. They felt the horrific legacy of the residential school system, declared cultural genocide by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and detailed in its PDF fileThe Survivors Speak, external link report, was too great to continue using the Ryerson name. Egerton Ryerson, for whom the school titles were named, was indisputably one of the chief architects of the system. 

In December 2020, our School Council struck a working group to explore the request. Chaired by Rogers Visiting Journalist Duncan McCue, the 11-member committee  was composed of students, alumni, current and past instructors, as well as faculty and university community members. Three members identified as Indigenous. 

Through an informal survey, the group consulted with students, alumni, instructors, staff and donors to the publications. They saw great support among students, staff and instructors for the change. Alumni marginally disfavoured renaming. All respondents who self-identified as Indigenous indicated support for changing the names. The committee unanimously recommended initiating a process for renaming the publications.

This month, a new committee will be formed to carry out the working group’s recommendations, which include engaging students in the process and supporting Indigenous creatives in design and branding efforts.

The School does not take this decision lightly and understands the responsibilities that come with it. We are proud of the students, alumni and faculty who have worked under the banners of our masthead publications for many decades. Plans are being made for that archival work to be preserved under those award-winning titles. Those articles and photos will not be wiped from history, but history they are.

Under the auspices of the President’s office, the university’s Standing Strong task force is undertaking a review of the Ryerson name, with consideration of the concepts of reconciliation and commemoration. The task force is engaging with tens of thousands of community members and stakeholders. We respect that process and its outcomes, but we want to underline our ability to act autonomously at the departmental level. 

Albeit an ambitious one, our goal is for the final-year news masthead publication to start with a fresh title in place for the fall and have the magazine masthead renamed by November. Current students will be involved throughout the process and details will be shared in the coming weeks.

If you’d like to reach out with questions, suggestions or offers of help, feel free to get in touch.