By Amit Shilton
A first-year urban planning student says he was strangled by a Pitman Hall residence advisor last Friday night, leaving visible marks around his neck. Michael Davis, a third-floor resident, says he was visiting his friend on the fifth floor when an RA pulled on the back of his shirt, choking him.
“She was really aggressive,” Davis said, adding the attack was unprovoked. “There’s a line which was clearly crossed.”
The 19-year-old Owen Sound native believes that the advisor might have thought he was a guest because earlier he had picked up a visitor’s wristband and dropped it on the floor.
“I started going the other way against it and she just kept reefing on [my shirt],” said Davis, who was wearing a zip-up sweater and a white t-shirt underneath.
Davis went back to his room after the incident, where he says he was followed by the RAs and asked to show his residence ID. “I love rez but stuff like that doesn’t need to happen,” he said.
Although he couldn’t comment on this specific case, manager of housing Glen Weppler said RAs are supposed to contact security or act as mediators if any situation escalates.
“Student staff in residence are not to initiate physical contact with anybody,” he said. “We don’t want anybody to be harmed.” John Black, a first-year arts and contemporary studies student, says he was right behind Davis when he was choked.
He said that he’s had previous run-ins with the RA and described her as a “loose cannon.” “They don’t have any right to touch us, grab us,” he said. “It’s not like we’re fucking kids anymore.”
Weppler said that the school takes different measures in dealing with residence advisors who step out of line. The punishments range from discussions to termination, depending on the severity of the incident.
Three other incidents led Security to Pitman on Friday night. There were reports of a vandalized lighting fixture and two fire extinguishers being discharged. Davis said he wasn’t involved in those instances.
The choking is the latest in a series of attacks at Pitman Hall this year. On Oct. 3, a student was stabbed in the stomach by a female floormate.
Two weeks later, six women were groped by a male Ryerson student at a floor party.
Also, during December exams, Adele Turcotte died unexpectedly in her room. Despite the recent events, Weppler says that this year hasn’t been too different from others.
“At this point, I don’t have any inclination to point to things as abnormal,” he said.