By Aleysha Haniff
Ryerson security threatened to call the cops on students who were struggling to complete assignments on the night of Nov. 15.
Sarah Gatenby, a third-year interior design student, had been working on a project in a third floor Kerr Hall East computer lab when security arrived and asked her to leave.
“Usually security is pretty nice about it. I know that they’re just trying to do their job,” she said. But she’s irritated she doesn’t have access to the programs she needs to finish her assignments.
After Gatenby refused to leave the lab, she said security threatened to revoke their computing privileges. When the students refused to produce valid Ryerson ID, the supervisor threatened to have the police charge and arrest them, said Gatenby.
Imre Juurlink, security supervisor, said the student code of conduct states people on campus must show their IDs when requested by security. If people don’t have a OneCard, guards assume that they’re non-community members and ask them to leave.
But she doubts that the police would have been involved in Gatenby’s conflict.
“The police can’t act on something unless it’s a criminal offence,” Juurlink said.
Although interior design students don’t have clearance to use that particular lab, “they’re open,” said Gatenby. And most importantly, the programs she needs are installed there.
Only a handful of computers at Ryerson are equipped with Autocad and Viz — software important to interior design students — so students like Gatenby are forced to sneak around for weeks to work on their assignments.
“I told her that was pretty much our only option,” said Gatenby.
Third- and fourth-year interior design students have few computer labs available to help them complete their assignments. They have access to 24-hour labs in their lower years, but those privileges are revoked when students stop taking computer classes.
Interior design students use specialized programs, said Jana Macalik, a professor in the department.
Macalik said there are added complications for those who use the general FCAD computer labs.
“I know that certain labs we have access to are shared between other FCAD programs,” she said. The shared FCAD labs are often used by fashion and theatre students.
But some instructors may not be willing to let students from other programs in, and interior design students need a lot of time, Macalik said. Rendering files can take hours, and it’s difficult to estimate how long the process will take, so students often work overnight.
However, the 24-hour computer labs in the basement of Kerr Hall West are only open during the school week, said Gatenby. The labs close at 5 p.m. on Saturdays, and 8 p.m. on Sundays. Plus, the computers reboot at about 2:30 a.m. Gatenby knows students who have been in the lab for three consecutive days, trying to save their massive image files.
Soon after the Eyeopener began to investigate the computer lab problem, Annick Mitchell, the chair of interior design, said she would look into the issue and the departmental secretary would arrange appropriate lab access for all interior design students in KHW 63. Mitchell said interior design students now have 24-hour access everyday except Sundays for the rest of the year.
“I am in total agreement with these students that they should have 24-7 access to their labs.”