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By Amanda-Marie Quintino

Two weeks ago, Ryerson security caught an alumnus enjoying himself in the library, and he didn’t have his nose buried in a good book. He had a fast date with his right hand.

While it was only the second indecent incident in the library this year, Ryerson’s security presence there, which is low compared to other schools, may not be the whole reason masturbators and flashers enjoy the library.

Ryerson’s security manager Lawrence Robinson said the library is a challenging place to monitor because most visitors are so focused, they forget to watch their valuables.

The key to keeping the library safe is a balance between accessibility and locking the place down like Fort Knox, he said. “Locking a place down is not necessarily going to curb the issue.”

Across town at the University of Toronto, there is tight security, especially at Robarts, the university’s most popular library. Along with library security, U of T also has campus police who respond to calls. “The library here is pretty well public access,” said Sam D’Angelo, operations manager for the U of T police force.

“In some areas, though, you need a special research card. It’s difficult to keep people out because, like Ryerson, it’s located on main Toronto streets.” Library patrol help with day-to-day monitoring, but they call campus police when needed. At Ryerson, there are usually two guards set aside to only patrol the library each day.

D’Angelo said the reason Ryerson has been experiencing a number of indecent acts in the library could be because it is the last place someone would suspect masturbators to strike. “It’s funny the way that people operate. Sometimes people think that just because it’s quiet no one will notice them doing something they’re not supposed to be doing.”

Ryerson sociology professor Slobodan Drakulic said security may have nothing to do at all with jack-offs in the library. “The excitement is too great for them to resist,” he said. “The library has a certain quiet quality about it. It’s the allure.”

That allure may lead some people to show off in public, Drakulic said. “Masturbation in a public place, like a library, is not only considered exhibitionism, but deviancy.”

Julia Lewis, head of health and safety at Ryerson, said the key to curbing crimes is awareness of the environment. “Increasing the number of officers doesn’t decrease the risk of a crime occurring.”

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