Ryerson is about to enter its last academic year of the 20th century. This solemn occasion demands that I ask: What makes Ryerson special? The scenic urban locale? The colourful personalities (Ernie, Eggy, Ed the Wino)? That strong school spirit I feel when I walk across campus (Of course, I’m walking across U of T’s campus.)
No. It’s the knowledge that as surely as tuition continues to rise, each year intrepid student press reporter will discover that the escalators break down. A lot. Like Ol’ Faithful or the cat, the story comes back.
Some eager newshound investigates. They stare, without blinking, at the stopped escalator for minutes. They hound Physical Plant for answers. They ask the tough questions like: “How did losing the escalator make you feel?”
The escalators were installed when the library was built in 1973. For 26 years, the same company, Montgomery KONE, has maintained them. (Hmmm…) They are in the lsat year of their contract, which costs us $60, 000 per year. Ian Hamilton, director of Campus Panning and Facilities, says the new contract will include reliability indicators. Translation: If it breaks too often, we don’t pay.
How to tell if the escalator is broken 1) There is a loud squeaking sound. 2) There is a smell of burning rubber. 3) A fellow student is screaming “Dear God, Nooo…” with one arm caught in the works. 4) It’s not moving.
Tell me, why does it break?
According to Peter Callis, the escalators break for three reasons: 1) Naughty students stop the escalators with spirited hijinks. 2) It’s not broken. It’s undergone monthly maintenance. 3) “Escalators are mechanical contraptions. They break.”
Is it really that bad? Hamilton says students think the escalators are rarely working because “The escalator design is such that it is not spanned or straddled by a staircase.” Translation: Put our escalators next to stairs and they seem like hot-roddin’ dream machines. Callis and hamilton guessed that there are five unscheduled stops a month. They say it could be too time-consuming to confirm that number.
That’s okay by me. Surely, Ryerson is about the future, not mind-numbing, number-crunching trips through a maze of bureaucracy. In that spirit, take these suggestions, and talk amongst yourselves.
Snakes and Ladders
It’s just like that game kids play. Instead of boring escalators, we would climb 20-metre industrial ladders. You want to come back down? No problem. There’s a 7-metre reticulated boa (the world’s largest land snake) at your service.
Cost: Bob Johnson curates the Reptile and Amphibian exhibit at the Toronto zoo. He says we could get us some giant snakes from $3, 000 to $15, 000 (U.S.). We’d also have to buy four guinea pigs per snake per week. At $5 a pop, that’s about $60 to $100 each week. We could save money but not feeding them when school’s out, that might lead to lower frosh turnout.
Marty Mcgale of Mcgale’s ladders could sell us industrial ladders for $900 each. (I’m not sure he will though. He doubted the wisdom of this plan.”You’d have to climb them, ya’ know.”)
Pro: Better view of fellow students’ posteriors.
Con: Cafeteria Special: Bean pie or enjoying the view, next stop: Harassment office.
Pro: We’ll be official giant snake owners. Suck on that, U of T Tourists will come to see our giant snakes, bringing lveley cash.
Con: In the wild, reticulated boas feast on pigs and deer, or anything smaller than itself. The temptation to snag a student between meals may be too great. We’ll need a sign. “No one under five feet may ride this snake.” The kids from ECE will have to avoid the library, and any students of smaller stature may want to consider platforms.
Wheeeee!!!!! If you want a thrill, don’t go to Wonderland. Tie some stretchy cord to yourself, and fly like a bird. Getting to class will never be so life-threatening. (Unless it’s a Monday morning, you have a hangover, a crackhead is pointing a gun at you, and you have to bungee jump. Then, maybe.)
I called the Great Canadian Bungee Company. Owners Alex Lawrence and his brother, Matt also do bungee consulting. Of course, their company accidentally spun a girl into rock a while back, but no one’s perfect (first accident in seven years). They helped fill in the bungee vision.
Cost: Initially, we’l have to pay about $100, 000. Alex Lawrence says that’s about $50, 000 for the equipment, and $50, 00 in “consultant fees.” That includes advice like: “Tighten that bolt,” “Never ‘promise’ they won’t be maimed,” and “Hey, that piece shouldn’t be left over.”
Pro: Demand for jumpmasters creates new workstudy jobs. Jumpmaster sounds a lot cooler than “Pitman Burgermaster,” or “Events Cleanupmaster.”
Con: Bitter OSAP jumpmasters may not take proper safety measures with certain groups (Financial Aid workers, students whose parents pay their tuition, the administration.)
Pro: Adrenaline rush from bungee jumping counteracts annual depression after the Mcleans university survey is released.
Yeah, we’ve got problems at ol’ Rye High. We don’t like to walk. There’s a shortage of things you’d want to cuddle. Our campus stinks. Why not solve all these problems at once? Just ride a stinky, cuddly animal around to class. Burros are surefooted, they can nagivate stairs, ramps and lineups at fees/registration.
Cost: The paltry sum of $500. Of course, this was a used burro. But I say that times are tough. A simple, peasant burro will do nicely. As for food: a little hay, a little water. Burros are easier to raise than sea monkeys.
Pro: No need for RyeSAC executive to go on student-funded jaunt to the Grand Canyon.
Con: Like the escalators, burros are slow and amy suddenly stop for no reason at all.
Pro: Instead of staying on the 14th floor, these asses will travel.