Toronto Metropolitan University President Mohamed Lachemi starts his hard sell of the Ryerson University name change.

Tom Thorne

It appears that TMU President Mohamed  Lachemi has taken to op-eds  in the Toronto Star to sell his name change from Ryerson University to Toronto Metropolitan University. He talks incessantly about Egerton Ryerson as the ogre of colonialism and he still hasn’t learned, despite scholarly attempts to put him right, that Egerton Ryerson is not the architect of the indigenous residential school system. The Star editorial team has not learned this important fact either. They continue to link Egerton Ryerson to residential schools. Do they fact check their stories or oped contributors?

Lachemi is justifying the change saying that values of the school are preserved and enhanced by the more bland Toronto Metropolitan University name. One of his new values is Grit which could mean anything. He has visions of the bustling Toronto on the international stage and therefore more attractive to the lucrative world of international students. The bright lights of of this metropolitan world are cited as important to the new TMU image. Too bad that Dundas Square and its attempts to be a mini Times Square is also on the name change woke chopping block. It’s throbbing electricness could be seen as entry point to TMU just up Yonge Street at Gould. Now that is the real Toronto Metropolitan University stuff.

At this time TMU has 38,950 students and about 2,300 post grad students. Eight percent of these students are international or about 3,300 who pay a tuition of anywhere between $31-38,000 per year each. This provides a revenue of roughly $1.1 million. These students of course have to pay additionally for accommodation and other expenses while in Toronto. TMU is in this state of change so they can compete more energetically with the University of Toronto which has 25 percent international students. 

Trendy new names that forget colonial pasts and 19th Century educators who developed public free education in Ontario are important to the new Lachemi marketing of TMU to the world. Canadian students pay between $7-12,000 for full time programs so international students are important to the flatlined funding Ontario universities have been getting from the Ontario Government. This year Canadians from other provinces pay a five percent premium over what an Ontario resident pays. TMU offers scholarships and bursaries but the costs of living and studying in Toronto remain high but always there is that glow of a metropolitan attraction.

The name change has been an unsatisfactory exercise because it was a done deal from the start. The real reasons for the change were probably fiscal. Add on the insult of mindless woke behaviours and the lies about Egerton Ryerson the reasons for a name change became more urgent. Then the story of the 215 alleged residential school graves at Kamloops fomented violent protest behaviours that resulted in the destruction of Egerton Ryerson’s statue. The Lachemi committees to examine the situation all moved inevitably to using Egerton Ryerson as a lightening rod and so we have as  a result Toronto Metropolitan University.  

This alumnus is not happy. I could possibly accept the name change if it was done without lying and good academic standards were observed about Egerton Ryerson. That did not happen. Identity woke politics also became central as the communications became biased and eventually lacking space to develop any real debate, truth or reconciliation.  The attraction of Toronto’s metropolitan lifestyle iwon the day. In addition, shrill advocates of woke made the Lachemi bureaucrats roll over and endorse their totalitarian lies. The Board of Governors were passive with the result that Toronto Metropolitan University is built more on form than substance.