By Laura Blenkinsop
A disgruntled student in the midst of the academic probation process may be behind Ryerson’s first suspicious powder scare.
Detective Ron Boyce, who is in charge of the case, said police have been in contact with a male student they think could be responsible for sending the powdered death threat that brought the Hazardous Materials Unit to the twelfth floor of Jorgenson hall on Sept. 17.
He may also be responsible for sending a threatening letter, without powder, to a Ryerson administrator over a year ago.
“A criminal offence has taken place and when we have reasonable probable grounds to lay a charge, we will lay a charge,” Boyce said.
But he said police didn’t identify him from a security video and they don’t have any other evidence that could build a case to make the student, or anyone else, an official suspect.
The student was identified with information from Ryerson security and for now is only a “person of interest.”
Julia Lewis, director of health and safety, said security could not talk about the case because it was under police investigation. But she said that Ryerson is a “big place” and threats to its administration do happen.
“It’s unusual enough that you pay attention,” said Ryerson spokesperson Bruce Piercey. But he said that in his 19 years here, he has never heard of a student being charged for mail-in threats.
He could not comment on whether the student was going through the academic probation process because of privacy surrounding that process.
Keith Alnwick, who has been registrar for 18 years, said he has never seen a case that brought HazMat to Ryerson.
“I think that what this has done is remind us all that safety is a priority and we’ve got to make sure that we’re doing everything that is appropriate to be safe,” he said.
He would not comment on whether or not a notification was given to registrar staff about a disgruntled student they should watch out for.
Diane Schulman, secretary of senate and administrator in charge of the academic probation process was unavailable for comment.
Linda Grayson, vice president administration and finance, cancelled an interview to discuss the incidents.
Boyce could not say if the powdered death threat that closed the Library Building on Oct. 27 was linked to the other two incidents he is investigating because he has yet to meet with the detective on that case.