Prof-titute Hannon gets the hook

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By Aaron Sands

Gerald Hannon got hooked over the summer.

Hooked not only on the streets where he performs as a male prostitute but hooked out of a job by a journalism faculty committee which decided not to renew his contract.

Hannon became the centre of national attention last November when The Toronto Sun reported he supported sec between men and boys. The 51-year-old Ryerson freelance magazine teacher was suspended by the school after admitting to the Sun he was a male prostitute. He was reinstated in December on the condition that he didn’t give any more interviews about his involvement in prostitution.

Hannon’s contract expired in June. In a meeting on June 5, it was decided by a faculty committee that Hannon should not be rehired to teach.

“The faculty committee did not recommend any courses for him,” said Ryerson V.P. Michael Dewson.

Hannon’s union, CUPE, filed a grievance the following day, appealing the committee’s decision. His case will go before an academic committee to determine whether he’s qualified for the job. Arbitration dates are scheduled for Sept. 11 and 12.

Hannon said he has been given no reasons for Ryerson’s decision not to rehire him. “I haven’t even officially been told,” said Hannon. “I’ve received no letter from the Dean which I was supposed to get. So although I know I’m not going back, it’s not because I’ve been officially told.”

Dewson said he couldn’t comment on the faculty committee’s reasons for the decision because the case is under review. It is unknown how long it will take to settle the case.

Dewson said he feels Hannon has been treated fairly by Ryerson throughout the ordeal. “He’s been treated to a proper process.”

Hannon, on the other hand, feels that he has been used by the institution.

“There are many individuals at Ryerson in the journalism department who have treated me splendidly and continue to do so,” said Shannon. “But Ryerson as an institution has acted very badly in all of this.”

Hannon said despite the controversy of the last year, he fully expected to be rehired. “I thought if you did a good job and your students like you and you were qualified, all of which I felt I was, then it seemed to me that Ryerson would be smart to have me back. So I was a bit surprised.”

Ryerson’s decision came as no surprise to Sun columnist Heather Bird who wrote Hannon is a pedophilia advocate last November. “I don’t think that Gerald should have ever been hired to teach journalism at Ryerson,” said Bird. “I don’t think he’s a particularly good journalist and his views are repugnant.”

Bird, however, said she takes no personal satisfaction from Hannon’s currently unemployed status.

She said that the media coverage surrounding Hannon had a significant impact on Ryerson’s decision. “If people weren’t reading in the media that Gerald Hannon was teaching I don’t think there would have been the type of pressure there was to remove him.”

For his part, Hannon said he has learned a valuable lesson about the media from his experience. “I suppose I always knew it but it was rather vividly expressed in all of this in that if you don’t really follow the script they have in mind for you, the story tends to get lost.”

He claims it was the Sun that found out about his side job. “It’s commonly held that I was thirsting after publicity, which was actually the furthest thing from my mind. They found it out on their own, called me up and asked.”

Despite that claim, Hannon has appeared on several television talk shows. He appeared on Jane Hawtin Live over the summer, where he professed that his worldview supporting pedophilia is simply different than the form, as is “the case with many other geniuses.”

As for Hannon’s future? “I’m continuing my other life which has always been a freelance writer and a prostitute,” he said. “I’ll be making my money that way but I also hope eventually to be back in teaching.”

Hannon is also appearing in a movie called Symposium, in which he plays himself as a prostitute. The movie opened at the Montreal Film Festival at the end of August.

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