By Sonja Puzic and Maurice Cacho
Threatening graffiti in Pitman Hall have sent a first-year student packing to return home this week.
Business management student Redwan Haj-Tovam, the target of hateful scribbles on walls in residence since October, is dropping out of Ryerson and leaving Toronto.
The situation escalated on Nov.12 when a “Die Redwan” message appeared on Haj-Tovama’s door on the 11th floor. Police were called in to investigate along with Ryerson Security. Haj-Tovama was spending the weekend at home in London.
Last week, the Ryersonian reported that threatening messages targeting Haj-Tovama appeared on the stairwells of Pitman Hall. “Redwan is going to die,” one of them read. The graffiti first appeared on the weekend of Oct. 28. Haj-Tovama said he has “no clue” who is behind the scribbles.
He said he is not happy with the way Ryerson Security has handled the situation. “They never called me,” he said, referring to the aftermath of the first investigation in October. “I’m the one who has to call them.”
Last week Haj-Tovama told the Ryersonian the first interview with security officials felt like an interrogation. He said security indirectly accused his friends of being responsible for the graffiti. Security and Safety Manager Lawrence Robinson could not comment on the situation because it is an ongoing investigation involving the police.
Rebecca Tucker, a first-year journalism student who lives in Pitman Hall, said she saw Haj-Tovama’s friends “tagging” people’s doors, but she has no idea who could be responsible for the graffiti.
“At first we all thought ‘This is silly’ and ‘What a huge joke,'” she said. “I didn’t realize that it was a serious issue.”
Glen Weppler, manager of student housing services at Ryerson, said student staff supervisors at Pitman are trained to deal with situations like Haj-Tovama’s. They file incident reports and determine the seriousness of each case.
Perpetrators can be subject to warnings, limitations or punishments, depending on the incident. Eviction is the last course of action for serious or repeat offenders. Haj-Tovama said he has filed a withdrawal form with Pitman Hall’s housing management and is waiting to see if his residence and meal plan fees will be reimbursed.
His roommate and longtime friend, first-year politics student Said Yassin, said management asked Haj-Tovama to write a letter explaining “what he’d gone through.”
“That’s fucking ridiculous because they know what he’s gone through,” Yassin said. “They’ve seen (the graffiti).” Haj-Tovama said he plans to continue his education at a post-secondary institution in or near London.