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By: Elysse Zarek

Ryerson administrators have “absolutely” responded to the issue of overcrowding in the Carlton cinemas.

According to Julia Lewis, assistant director of the centre for environmental health, safety and security, the administration has already done something about the overcrowding.

“It has been drawn to the attention of campus planning, who are working with timetabling to assess the situation,” she said. One overbooked class put several students in the aisles of the Carlton cinemas.

Ryerson is using the cinema as a lecture hall because there are not enough seats on campus to deal with the influx of students created by the double cohort. However, students sitting in the aisles could be a potential fire hazard and could violate the city’s fire code.

According to Manny Ravinsky of campus planning, the timetabling department has already solved the problem.

“One course was slightly overbooked but the problem has been corrected,” he said.

Deputy Fire Chief Glen Misiurski emphasizes that aisles should always be kept clear and if seats are available, students should use them rather than sit on the floor.

“The aisles should be kept clear. If there’s an emergency, people should be able to get out,” he said.

The fire department needs to get a complaint about overcrowding before they can inspect the building. David Craig, of the Toronto Fire department, says so far he hasn’t heard anything about Ryerson and doesn’t intend to check out the building.

Overcrowding, he said, is based on factors like the number of fixed seats, the number of exits and the width of the aisles. “It may be a problem or it may not be,” said Craig. If a building is overcrowded, he said, the fire department will issue a notice not to go over the maximum capacity. If the building doesn’t comply then the fire department fines them.

However, one theatre employee who refused to be named said she had seen students sitting in the aisles.

“Yesterday I saw two students sitting in the aisles, but there were still a few seats available,” she said. Meanwhile, according to Ryerson students, there are still problems.

Second-year nursing student Tanya Aguiar, whose nursing research class is in theatre three, said she can’t stand sitting in there.

“There’s nothing to write on, the aisles are so squished that you can’t get out,” she said. One student at the back of the theatre dropped her coffee and, because the floors are slanted, it dribbled to the front of the class. Lee Andrew makes a point of getting to his math fundamentals class held in the theatres, but the second-year mechanical engineering student said getting there can be difficult.

“It’s a pain but we can make it on time. We cut through people’s backyards, ignore the no trespassing signs,” he said. Although their class has nearly 100 students, they have always found seats.

Nursing student Kate Kerrigan said having classes in the theatres is a bad idea.

“I find it surprising,” she said. “Did the school run out of classes or something? This might even affect people coming to class.”

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