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By Melissa Godsoe

Ryerson may be in violation of the Toronto fire code because of crowded classrooms and makeshift lecture halls at the Carlton movie theatre.

According to Rodney Porter of the ministry of public health and safety, the fire code stipulates that exits must be clear of all objects, whether it be boxes or bodies and specific sections of the code deal with safety of life and occupancy load.

Many students have complained that there are more students than seats in the movie theatres. Their complaints range from as few as two people being forced to sit in the aisles to as many as 15.

Glen Misiurski, a district chief with the Toronto fire department said that having any students sitting in aisles is a problem.

“Generally in a theatre, the number of fixed seats is the occupancy load,” he said.

Julia Lewis, the director of campus health of safety was unaware of the problem.

“We certainly will look into it, now that we are aware of it,” she said.

Safety aside, Mehul Patel, a second-year computer science student doesn’t think that the theatre’s environment is conducive to learning.

“It’s really crappy. There aren’t any windows and it’s a tight space. It makes you feel sick,” he said. “It’s not a place to study. This is not a good solution.”

But Ryerson President Claude Lajeunesse sees no problem with using the theatre for class lectures.

“There were a few hiccups that have now been addressed and until such time as we have the new buildings and are fully operational, there will be such hiccups,” he said. “The Carlton theatres in my view, are a very good temporary solution to a difficult problem.”

Andrew Messner, a fifth-year geography student hasn’t had to sit on the floor during a class and doesn’t mind the theatre environment.

“It’s not too bad. The seats are pretty comfortable but you’re forced to write on your lap,” he said. “It would be a bit less comfortable to take notes on the floor.”

Heather Meger, a fourth-year technical theatre student said her marketing class is beyond capacity and her professor apologized to the students forced to sit on the floor. She was lucky last week but refuses to stay in a class without a seat.

“I am going to get up and leave. For the amount of tuition that I am paying, to have to sit on the floor, that’s just unacceptable to me,” she said.

Lajeunesse maintains that the teachers hired this year more than compensate for the glitches students have experienced thus far.

“Whether or not the facility is ideal in terms of the room you’re in is a minor point compared to the quality of the teacher in the classroom and that’s really what we’ve been focusing on, and I don’t think there will be any lowering of the quality of education,” he said.

Faisal Jawed, a first-year public health student believes there are perks to holding lectures at the theatre but says there are kinks that definitely need to be worked out.

“It’s crowded, so it’s not easy to take notes. It’s fairly comfortable, and I can see the board. The professor uses a microphone which is useful,” he said. “Last week we had about 7-10 people sitting in the aisles.

That’s no way to learn. Lajeunesse believes the problems the school is facing this year will be worked out over time.

“I believe in a year or two these problems will be behind us and with the quality of the faculty that we have then, students will now receive the education they deserve.” With files from Suzanne Ma

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