The Tamil Students’ Association (TSA) held a pub night which turned into a series of brawls and arrests involving Ryerson Security and Toronto Police. News Editor Carolyn Turgeon reports
What began as an orientation pub night for a Ryerson student group ended in a brawl on campus and three arrests.
The Tamil Students’ Association (TSA) Winter Orientation Pub Night was scheduled to begin in the Thomas Lounge at 7 p.m. and move to the Ram in the Rye pub at 10 p.m.
After midnight, Ryerson security was called for a fight in progress.
“We’re called out to fights in the pub for various reasons,” said Tanya Fermin-Poppleton, manager of security and emergency services. “I think this has been one of the biggest pub fights we’ve encountered.”
When security officers arrived at the pub they attempted to help the staff and pub security separate the parties and get the individuals to leave.
“Smaller fights were breaking out as they were trying to break up each fight,” said Fermin-Poppleton. “As they dispersed onto the patio and out onto the street, police were called in as well due to the sheer numbers of participants.”
Toronto police arrested three people, including one confirmed non-student who was injured during the altercation and received patient care, plus a number of tickets.
The security brief estimated that at one point, twenty people fighting on Church Street, but that was just one group that was identified and described.
According to Caitlin Smith, the president of Ryerson’s Student Union, students groups have the opportunity to book the pub for their own use up to once a month.
If they book their events on Thursday, the RSU will help them organize and run it. On a Friday or Saturday they have no part in planning, though Smith confirmed she and members of current Students United slate were in attendance that night. Smith said that she left before the fight broke out.
“It’s hard to tell if it’s related to the student group or if it was something that could have happened any other night,” said Smith.
“Anyone off the street can come into the Ram.”
Even on the event’s Facebook wall, the question was posed as to whether it was a student only event and one user replied that anyone could show up.
“The pub is an establishment like any other, it sees it’s fair share of conflict,” said Smith.
She added that though the Ram is public to more than students, usually groups aim their advertising for their events to their members.
“[Student groups] are not usually ones to break the rules or mess up that privilege because they can make money for their group,” she said.
Eric Newstadt, general manager of the Student Campus Centre, said he was not sure if extra security members had been put on staff at the pub that night.
“We evaluate each pub night based on how busy it’s going to be and we provide for security accordingly,” he said.
If their team feels they need backup they will call in Ryerson security, and even further, Toronto Police.
On the subject of stopping student groups with problems during their events from renting the pub, Newstadt said it is up to the Board of Governors (BOG) to address the issue at their next meeting.
“I notify the BOG, they review and if they feel it’s necessary they take action,” he said.
Newstadt said before he decides whether he makes the recommendation they have to finish their investigation, a procedure that occurs after every incident involving security and police.
The investigation is underway and it is unknown when it will be completed. Despite repeated attempts, the TSA could not be reached for comment.