By Lyba Mansoor
On-campus eateries at Ryerson University are being forced to close their doors after the house elves that run them move to strike.
The Hub Café, the Ram’s Café and the Ram in the Rye were the first to close their doors early Friday morning, but the persistent strike on part of angry house elves threatens to force the closures of all on-campus restaurants, kiosks and cafés.
“It’s simple really, all us house elves are looking for is some name recognition and an increase in our meager salaries,” said Hokey, the head of the house elves union at Ryerson.
House elves have served silently as chefs and caretakers at Ryerson since it was established in 1948. The university has gone to great lengths to hide their existence, hiring human actors to play servers and caretakers to keep up the illusion.
“The fact is so many people still think our species is a myth. We don’t want much, just a simple thank you and a couple of extra galleons (house elf currency) bi-weekly would be enough to get us back in the kitchens,” said Yumbo, one of the elves spotted protesting on Gould Street.
“We took to Gould Street because we thought, ‘Hey, people will finally see us and have to believe that we’re real and support our strike,’ but nobody even seemed to care,” said Hokey.
Students walked idly by the protests, some stopped to snap some photos, but it seemed as though students were largely unmoved.
“Honestly I thought they were just high school kids on one of those campus tours,” one student said.
Despite the lack of interest their first few days of striking has stirred up, the house elves union refuses to give up until their demands are met, and their existence acknowledged.
“People may not care right now, or may not even notice, but as the school year goes on and people get hungry and have nowhere to eat, they will care…they will all care,” said Hokey.
University officials declined to make a statement at this time, a tactic the house elves believe is a way for them to continue denying their existence.