Students make their way up a broken escalator — a common practice in Jorgenson Hall this year.

Photo: Christopher Chiu

Ancient escalators busted

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By Joe Friesen

Ryerson students were coping with the Jorgenson jostle again this week and campus administrators were dodging questions as broken escalators continued to frustrate everyone in the university’s building.

Students were forced to squeeze past one another in the cramped conditions imposed by the closure of one escalator, which created a single, narrow stairway for the thousands of people who pass through Jorgenson Hall every day.

“I don’t feel comfortable with people touching me,” said accounting student Mithula Sathiyamoorthy. “It’s really hard. It’s crowded and it’s just compounded by the fact so many students use this building.”

Jorgenson Hall, built in 1974, relies on the escalators as the principal people-moving artery in the building. Although alternate stairwells exist, students rarely use them.

Exasperated students were left wondering how their tuition fees are being spent.

“When you have an 8 a.m. class and you’re tired and stressed and you have to fight your way up these escalators, it’s frustrating,” said Nadia Edwards/ “I don’t think the escalators have ever worked for a full week since I’ve been here.”

Campus Planning and Facilities Manager Ian Hamilton refused to speak to The Eyeopener about the situation.

Peter Morgan of Kone, the company responsible for the maintenance of the escalators, also denied comment.

“We’re working for Ryerson and I prefer we worked through them,” said Morgan.

RyeSAC Vice-President Education Ken Marciniec said he was told that the crucial part needed to repair the escalators has been delayed at the U.S. border. He also said students who pushed the emergency stop button unnecessarily were being blamed for some of the damage.

“They’re 1970s escalators that need to be repaired,” said Marciniec. “We were told that if anyone was seen pushing the emergency stop button as a prank it should be reported to security.”

Marciniec also said the problem is related to the consistent underfunding of universities by the Provincial government.

“The repairs need to happen, [the university administration] know that,” said Marciniec. “But there are $60 million in repairs that need to be done on campus that can’t be done because they don’t have the money.”

Marciniec is reluctant to focus on the escalators because they are only one aspect of the larger issue. He said the real danger is that Ryerson may raise student fees to pay for infrastructure maintenance.

“Our role as student leaders is to get government to stand with us and ask for a reinvestment in education,” he said.

Marciniec said he shares students’ frustration over the broken escalators, but thinks most students do not want their repair to be at the top of any political agenda.

“They’re a concern for me every time I have to take the stairs or squeeze past someone on the escalator, but they’re by no means the only thing on peoples’ minds.”

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