By Andy Lloyd and Don McHoull
Last week was typical for Ryerson security: They had to deal with an office break-in, hate graffiti and a sexual assault.
The three incidents tested the effectiveness of a security force that was criticized earlier this month for letting a robbery suspect escape from its guards by running off campus.
Sometime after classes ended on Wednesday, professor Mehrab Mehrvar’s East Kerr Hall office was broken into. Mehrvar says that nothing was taken, but that his door was broken and papers were scattered around his office.
Ryerson security and the Toronto police responded to the break-in on Thursday morning.
Lawrence Robinson, manager of Ryerson security, says that police are typically called in to respond to on-campus break-ins but that Ryerson security would be the first on the scene.
“We have to look for fingerprints, and find out the value of what was taken,” he said.
The hate graffiti appeared around the same time in the men’s washroom on the first floor of East Kerr Hall, and remained untouched on a stall door for several days.
When similar anti-Israel graffiti appeared in the same washroom last year, it created an embarrassment for the school when it was written up in The Toronto Star and the National Post as an example of bigotry on campus.
Robinson said that security did not usually inspect washrooms for hate graffiti.
“People reporting it is important to us,” said Robinson. He said that if security received regular complaints, they would begin inspecting washrooms.
The sexual assault occurred on Thursday afternoon. A woman in Oakham House was approached by a male suspect who offered to buy her a drink.
When the woman refused his offer, the suspect put his arms around her and again asked if he could buy her a drink.
The victim told the suspect his actions were making her feel uncomfortable, but he continued to prevent her from leaving.
The suspect is described as an Asian male in his mid-twenties, with a medium build and short black hair. He is about five-foot-nine and has a large mole over his right eye.
Robinson said that security were on the lookout of the suspect, but that the Ryerson community should also watch out for him.
“We’re aware of the description, but the key is making community members aware,” Robinson said.
Unlike the University of Toronto, Ryerson does not have its own police officers. Toronto police are called onto campus for serious incidents, but campus security guards, who are paid between $12 and $16 per hour, are Ryerson’s first line of defence against crime.
The university’s security team consists of 35 people, including guards and supervisory personnel. At any given time, there are three to five security guards patrolling the campus.
Although they’re not law enforcement officers, Ryerson guards are authorized to make arrests on campus.
Last year Ryerson security arrested 100 people.
Although the guidelines are flexible, security guards must work within the law. For example, if there’s cause, a security guard can pursue a suspect off the campus.