By Matthew Prescott Oxman
The Rye-O-Mat area in the basement of North Kerr Hall, also known as ‘the dungeon,’ has been the target of increased security in the past month due to a number of student complaints about drug sales and use in the area.
Students also report that they have been harassed by security when in or around the dungeon.
Security have received approximately seven to eight complaints from students this past week alone, says supervisor Imre Juurlink.
“A lot of students have reported they feel quite unsafe in the area,” she says. “We have had some concerns raised about drug-dealing in the bathrooms there, and people feeling very unsafe in the washrooms with that activity.”
There have been between 20 and 30 instances of security catching students dealing or using marijuana in the past few weeks in the dungeon area, says Juurlink.
According to security they have increased patrols in the area.
Third year science student Staas Toronov says he has been approached by security so many times he has lost count.
Toronov says he has never been “doing anything wrong,” when security has asked him for his student ID.
He says security has been disrespectful and unprofessional when approaching him, which is why he often refuses to show them his ID.
“That’s why I’m not interested in talking to them,” says Toronov.
“We haven’t received any complaints about that,” says Juurlink of students being harassed by security personnel. She encourages all students who feel they have been approached inappropriately to report it.
Regardless of security’s approach, Juurlink says students must always produce ID when requested by Ryerson staff. This obligation is based on the student code of non-academic conduct, as well as the Ontario Trespass to Property Act, which allows Ryerson to implement its own rules for behaviour on campus.
“If someone does not produce their identification, generally speaking, we would ask that person to leave campus until they have some form of ID to produce,” says Juurlink, adding that security services has guidelines and standards for when it is appropriate for staff to approach students and ask to see their ID.
According to Mickey Cirak, student conduct officer, they will assess any complaints given to their office and investigate the allegation before deciding what to do.
Security says there are cameras in the area of the dungeon. One student was caught putting tape over the camera. Security said it appeared to be more of a prank and the student profusely apologized.
A second-year business management student says he was once approached by police, not security, while sitting on a bench outside the dungeon.
“I was just relaxing,” he said, but the stranger next to him was smoking a joint.
The student says police asked him for his Ryerson ID, and if he was associated with the person on the next bench.
“They weren’t being assholes,” he says.
Toronov, however, says he thinks security is making a big deal out of nothing. “They act like smoking weed is the biggest crime in the world.”
Ryerson security report that so far no arrests have been made.
Photo by: Mohammed Omar