Ryerson security botches warning

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By Jennifer McGregor

Ryerson security has an unofficial policy to post safety watch bulletins, warning students about crimes on campus within 24 hours of their occurrence.

But in the 24 hours following a Sept. 22 incident, when a man allegedly masturbated in front of a 22-year-old female student in the library, no notice was posted.

In fact, it wasn’t until Friday Oct. 6 — 14 days after the incident — that security officials posted a warning on the 37 security bulletin boards around campus.

Last Thursday, representatives from RyeSAC and two unions representing staff and faculty, OPSEU and CUPE, met with Janet Mays, director of harassment prevention services, demanding an explanation for the delay.

“The Ryerson community simply won’t stand for this,” said OPSEU local 597 president Stephanie Blake, who initiate the meeting with Mays.

“They don’t need to go into gory details [in the bulletins], they just need to tell people to protect themselves,” she said.  “Their inaction was inexcusable.”

The red-trimmed security bulletins are hung in Ryerson buildings so students are aware of security issues and can protect themselves.

Mays admits several things went wrong in this particular situation but didn’t want to get specific.  She said the mistake was mainly a personnel issue and she is satisfied the problems have been solved.

“This will never happen again,” she said.

Mays points out that since the meeting, Ryerson security has changed some of its procedures.

It will no longer rely on just one person to process security reports, and reports will now circulated to all five security supervisors rather than just the senior supervisor.

Mays also said security bulletins are now distributed via e-mail to student groups such as RyeSAC and she is working to make security reports available on the Ryerson Web site.

Blake is not convinced.

“Their answers are inadequate,” Blake said.  “I received no guarantee that [notification would be increased] at all.”

Sociology professor and former head of campus security Jean Golden said if Ryerson security sees a pattern of criminal activity developing, it should make the public aware.

Golden took the job as head of campus security in 1988, after a woman was assaulted in a campus washroom.  The victim was so traumatized by the assault she left Ryerson.

The incident still remains fresh in Golden’s mind.

“I want to know as a faculty member that these results are going [to be posted],” Golden said.  “If I am in the washroom and some guy is looking at me under the stall, I want to be prepared for it.”

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