By Eric Lam
After staying strong in the wake of attacks in student residences across the province, Ryerson has reversed its position, announcing a review of security in all residences.
Last Friday, in an e-mail to Ryerson students, Security and Emergency Services declared among other things “a security audit of Ryerson residences is underway, including a review of perimeter CCTV systems.”
The e-mail came out two days after the Eyeopener published a story in which two editors walked into Ryerson residences with nary a word from security.
Asked if the e-mail was a reactionary move to student concerns, Julia Lewis, the assistant director of the Centre for Environmental Health, Safety and Security management, said no.
“[The review] began at the time we were aware of the situation at York,” Lewis initially said, referring to the recent York University rapes.
However, Lewis then changed her mind, saying, “We started investigations when the situation at Carleton happened.”
Pressed further, Lewis appeared to change her mind a third time: “I would say daily we take a look at security. It’s daily we have incidents.”
Lewis also stated several times, “This is standard practice.”
After reading the e-mail, Ahmed Jama was not surprised at Ryerson’s handling of the situation.
“It’s obvious. People usually react after something happens, not before,” the second-year public health student said.
“By sending this letter, it’s not saying we’re improving…they’re not saying what they’re doing to protect you.”
“You have to be open to criticism and to review your procedures on an ongoing basis,” President Sheldon Levy said.
“You review all your policies…you look at the most up-to-date technology because you have a responsibility to make the campus as safe and secure as possible.”
Lawrence Robinson, manager of Security and Emergency Services, told the Eyeopener last Tuesday security would choose not to increase its numbers but focus on community awareness.
However, security will not only be conducting a community awareness campaign, but residence assistants and staff have been instructed to review all safety practices with students.
“I’m really confident in security and emergency services, with respect to residences,” said Lewis.
For now, the security review is “ongoing.”
“This is something of great importance to us, so it won’t take too many more days,” she said.