Engineering a prank: Pub sign stolen from Oakham House

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By Lucy Nerseian 

It’s official.  The pranks at Ryerson have begun. 

Last Thursday was just another day at Ryerson until Leatrice Spevack found a note slipped under her office door.  The letter said the sign hanging outside Oakham House had been taken hostage by an “elite organization of underground pranksters.”

“I didn’t notice anything until I read the letter under my door,” says Spevack, campus group administrator.

The $1,500 sign was replaced with a card door with the letters “MECH FORCE 10” written on it.

Spevack was anxious to have the sign returned and was happy when the sign turned up Monday at RyeSAC.

The pranksters didn’t identify themselves, but Spevack suspects they are mechanical engineering students.

“They have quite a history,” she said.  “It’s very colourful but harmless stuff in my opinion.”

The Ryerson Engineering Student’s Society handbook says “MECH FORCE 10” pranks date back to 1980 and have almost always involved placing a Volkswagen Bug somewhere on campus.

“I really don’t know anything about it,” said Ako Vesztergombi, president of the mechanical engineering course union.

RyeSAC president David Steele thinks the entire situation is totally cool.  “The engineers always come up with a good prank and this is a great sign of affection for Oakham House.”

The letter requested the new sign (car door) remain hanging for 48 hours.  Only then would they return the original Ram in the Rye sign.


A history of alleged engineer pranks

April 1, 1980 — a Manitoba Volkswagen Bug was parked at the base of Egerton Ryerson statue.

1981 — a VW Bug was placed on the second floor walkway between Jorgenson Hall and Kerr Hall.

March 29, 1982 — with the help of a portable crane, a VW Beetle was placed on top of the school façade in the Quad.

April 1, 1986 — The Bug makes a comeback on a “No Parking” sign on Bond Street.

1988-89 — ZTC zero tolerance control, a group of pranksters, constructed a 500-pound concrete wall in front of the Rogers building.

November 2, 1992 — return of Mech Force 10.  A VW Bug was parked outside the South Kerr Hall archways.  Half the bug was welded on the south side of the gate and the other half on the north side.

April 1994 — VW bug placed in staircase in Kerr Hall.

March 20, 1997 — was when the lock face lamps radiated “RYE ENG” across campus.

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