By Lee Richardson
Campus security is in difficult times.
When students are being mugged inside university buildings (specifically the RCC) during weekday lunchtime hours, there is a problem for security. When public eyes are focused on our campus as a result of media reports of Ryerson-based sexual assaults, there is a problem for security.
And when student feedback to incident reports disregards the briefings as fearmongering, there is a problem for security.
However, there is a new problem for security. During a weekly meeting with security representatives, The Eyeopener’s news team learnt that “the university is huge,” according to the director of Ryerson’s Centre of Environmental Health, Safety and Security Management, Julia Lewis.
Understandably a large campus is a problem when reacting to incidents. Except there’s a problem within that newly announced problem – the university is not huge.
Students know that their university is not huge – they are the ones crammed into the food courts of 10 Dundas East and the Eaton Centre as an alternative to spending their free time on a campus with no study space.
Even the university itself knows it is not huge. In an online summary of the Master Plan – the school’s manifesto – there is acknowledgement of
“Ryerson’s extremely limited land and the small and valuable properties on and around the University.” It is no surprise that Ryerson is struggling for space. That is the reason why Sheldon Levy is expanding the physical presence of the school with such enthusiasm.
But as of now we are not a large campus by any means.
Consider the University of Toronto and its sprawling Romanesque 180-acre campus, and York University, recognized as the largest campus in Canada at 457 acres. Then consider Ryerson, which according to Campus Facilities stands at 21 acres.
While we have to understand that Ryerson is unique in terms of campus buildings interwoven with the city, the campus is not large, and certainly not huge.
For security to say that there are issues is acceptable – crime is simply an aspect of being a part of central Toronto. However, the reasoning that the campus is too large to handle is unacceptable, especially considering the planned expansion further up Jarvis Street.
It’s inevitable that Ryerson will get bigger. If security is having trouble handling its current boundaries, let’s hope a few extra buildings will not be too intimidating. If that is the case, security will be rendered useless.