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Students are getting bug bites in the Victoria building

By Stefanie Phillips

Last semester, Ksenia Chpak was listening to her professor lecture inside room 205 of the Victoria building when she noticed small brown bugs crawling on her sweater.

The third-year media production student quickly removed her sweater and looked around for more. To her surprise, more of the same bugs were burrowing around in the crevice of her desk. She could not identify what type of bug, but said they looked like termites. 

Chpak didn’t think more about it until later in the day when the skin on her hands and arms started to itch.

“I would wake up at night scratching and they would burn,” she said. “The bumps were red … some were big and some were small. I had them all over, on my arms, on my back, on my stomach.”

Day one of Stefanie Phillips’ bug bites

She said she went to a doctor and he prescribed some cream which cleared up the bites and swelling.

Chpak said a few other students in the class noticed the bugs and told the professor, Robert Osborne. Chpak said he told the class he would report the problem to the university, but Osborne did not respond in time for publication, so The Eyeopener could not confirm if a report was made.

Chpak and her classmates remained in the same room for the remainder of the fall semester.

This semester, during an 8 a.m. lecture in that same room, I noticed a termite-looking bug on my right hand. Like Chpak, I brushed it off only to find more of them in the desk.

A few hours later, in the same place the bug had crawled, several itchy, red bumps appeared on my hand. After a day, the bumps swelled, covering the better half of my hand. Several days later, the swelling subsided and the bumps reduced to tiny scabs.

Day two

After the incident, I reported the bugs to Ryerson’s department of facilities, management and development (FMD). On March 6, FDM told The Eye pest control has been commissioned “to look for and eliminate any activity in this room” on March 9.

Dasha Pasiy, media relations officer at Ryerson, said the room in question and the Victoria building had been “investigated multiple times,” including with a K-9 unit trained to sniff out termites, but all results came back negative. She could not confirm what an investigation entails or exactly how many times the procedure was conducted.

Ryerson president Mohamed Lachemi said the university has not hired exterminators to remove bugs from the Victoria building. He said the university has only hired termite exterminators once in the last five years, the last time being in September 2014 when there was an infestation in the theatre building on Gerrard Street.

Day three

“The issue with termites in the theatre building was not hidden, everyone knew there was an issue with termites,” he said.

Chpak said she hopes the problem is solved so that other students don’t have to go through what she did.

“It affected my willingness to go to class,” she said. “I still went … but I would focus more on the bugs than on my lecture.”


  1. cathy hacker

    Report the bugs to public health and boycott classes until this is fixed.

  2. Tyler

    these are bed bugs. why are you talking about termites? bed bugs are a much more serious issue that needs immediate attention.

  3. Julie

    Those are bed bug bites! How could you ever think they were termites? The delay will lead to multiple infestations and they are soooo hard to get rid of

  4. Courtney O

    Termites do not have the ability to bite human beings, therefore this isn’t a termite issue on our hands. There is clearly an issue here that needs to be dealt with but false accusations or an improper use of words shouldn’t be used here or passed on to sites like Narcity. This is how rumours begins and quite frankly not a look Ryerson needs for themselves.

  5. Nhat Nguyen

    These are BED BUGS. Toronto has a problem with bed bugs in a lot of it’s apartment buildings and condo’s. Somebody has been careless and infested this room with them. It’s SERIOUS issue that needs to be addressed ASAP. Bed bugs are notoriously difficult to get rid off once you have an infestation. They will borrow into cracks and crevices and the only way to effectively kill them is through high temperatures. People have thrown out all of their furniture and clothes to fight them. They survive off your blood while you sleep. They carry diseases that can potentially make it into your body. This is a health hazard and it’s a very $$$$ problem to fix yourself. These are NOT TERMITES and the school must fix this now. I hope the author or journalist of this article is taking action. My class is two rooms down and I cannot risk myself or my belongings.

  6. Concerned Ryersonian

    This is a serious issue, anyone knows how to report to Public Health which is literally next to VIC building?

  7. Call Shaun Hallaran at Rollins Pest Control 770-289-0694. They are experts at Bedbug removal.
    That is my Spouse, (I am a contractor at Ryerson South).

    Jack Hallaran

  8. Radhi

    Yes I agree bed bugs are very serious
    This bugs they are very good in sucking ur blood where abt they can
    Indeed they are good in multiplication they go in a large figures.

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