Illustration: Samantha Moya

Students petition against ‘rude’ criminology prof

In Campus News, News /

By Raneem Alozzi

This story has been edited from its previous version.

Despite offering his resignation last term due to student complaints, a Ryerson criminology professor is still teaching classes this semester. The department didn’t accept his resignation.

Last term, about 50 students in Bryant Greenbaum’s violence and communities (CRM318) class wrote and signed a letter directed to the chair of criminology, citing an “unpleasant learning environment” and a “condescending and unhelpful” attitude toward students. After students presented it to the department prompting for him to be reviewed, Greenbaum offered his resignation.

But in a written response directed to the class, Greenbaum said the chair of the department indicated it was not necessary for him to terminate his one-year contract at the time. Given that the first term was nearly done, he was told that he should finish teaching the course. Students signed the petition anonymously because they were worried their marks would suffer as a result.

The Eyeopener spoke to six students to confirm these claims.

Cassandra Hines, a second-year criminology student, was one of two students who brought the petition to the chair of the department, Tammy Landau. The two sought clarification for some of the course content used, and expressed concerns with their professor.

According to student Sarah Smith*, the letter was signed by approximately 50 students in the classroom. The Eye obtained a digital copy of the petition. It outlined concerns and included allegations that Greenbaum was “rude” to students. The letter stated Greenbaum consistently “cut off students while they [were] answering or asking questions. If he does not agree with [students] he simply will not let you finish your thought.”


“I don’t understand why no one ever came into class and sat down to audit it”


The letter also stated that, “[He] leaves the students feeling powerless and hopeless as there is essentially no one to clarify the material as we are all struggling to understand.”

Landau refused to comment on the matter citing confidential human resources issues.

Greenbaum told The Eye in an email that the allegations against him are inaccurate. He sent positive reviews and comments he said he received from students’ course surveys. Names were not attached and The Eye could not independently verify the statements, some of which said the allegations against Greenbaum were false.

Greenbaum confirmed that he tried to resign a little over a week before the class’ final exam. Mike Waltz* said the class learned that his resignation was denied, and only then did they receive the proper format and outline for the exam. Waltz said the class was left with no explanation and very little time to prepare.

About two weeks after penning the letter, students pooled into the hall for their 8 a.m. exam on Dec. 7. While Greenbaum explained the exam at the front of the class, he noted that the class was already 10 minutes behind, said Waltz.

Waltz said he put his hand up to ask for clarification on when the exam would end, since they had started later than usual, “it was just a simple question,” he said.

According to Waltz, Greenbaum screamed “at the top of his lungs,” and banged his fists on the table, repeatedly saying, “Why would you ask that?”

Each of the students The Eye spoke to confirmed these events, but Greenbaum denies doing this.

“It was very uncalled for,” said Smith. “There was no need to personally berate [Waltz].”

Waltz said he didn’t know how to respond, and put his head down and tried to focus on his exam instead, but said the incident ruined his ability to write the exam. Waltz ended up failing the test.

Greenbaum did not respond to these complaints when The Eye presented them to him.

Hines said she felt like the department blamed the students for not bringing the issue up sooner, and that the students’ allegations did not lead to action.

“The reason we went to speak to Professor Landau was because we felt like we couldn’t talk to Greenbaum, like it wasn’t doable. It wouldn’t have gotten us anywhere. Quite frankly, even if I had went to talk to him, I would’ve preferred if another professor was there to witness it,” Waltz said.

According to Waltz, Landau told him she hadn’t received other complaints from students after the exam. Smith and Waltz both said many students contacted Landau with complaints, but still no steps were taken in response.

The Eye obtained emails and screenshots which show students did email Landau after the incident.


“We felt like we couldn’t talk to Greenbaum, like it wasn’t doable”


Neither Landau or Greenbaum responded to these complaints when The Eye presented them.

After their midterm, Smith said, she and a group of others wanted to speak to Greenbaum in a group so they could better prepare for their final, but their request was denied by Greenbaum who would only see them individually.

When the students spoke to Landau later, Hines said she asked them if they had spoken to Greenbaum about their concerns. Hines said they felt unsafe doing so because of how Greenbaum spoke to them in class and how he reacted to their questions.

“I would’ve preferred if another professor was there to kind of just witness it and I don’t understand why that never happened. Why no one ever came into class and sat down to audit [it].”

According to the Ryerson Faculty Association Collective, limited-term faculty (LTF) members are assessed once per teaching semester. The departmental evaluation committee is not to conduct any other assessments of LTFs and does not submit a year-end assessment of their performance.

Ryerson’s website outlined that when complaining about a course or instructor, students should try to resolve the issue with the instructor and then follow-up with the chair of the program or the dean if necessary.

Following the incident during the final exam, Smith said she felt like the letter had no impact. “[It] boiled over when he yelled at that one student and that was just completely unnecessary. I was scared,” she said.

“It was very immature that when students raised legitimate concerns about his teaching abilities, he just [tried to] quit. You shouldn’t be focused on your ego, but rather on how you can help students and improve on yourself,” Waltz said.

Greenbaum took medical leave before the end of the term and students were told to contact Landau for inquiries. Greenbaum is currently teaching classes this semester.

Smith said she thought the class would change but it didn’t.

“I honestly also expected them to maybe come and ask some of us what really happened in class. But they didn’t do that … No one told us if it was dealt with, how it was dealt with and again there was no apology for that happening or even an acknowledgement that that shouldn’t have happened,” she said.

*Names of Mike Waltz and Sarah Smith were changed to protect their identities.


  1. As a current student in Professor Greenbaum’s CRM 601 class, I find this publication extremely inaccurate and defamatory. Professor Greenbaum is without doubt one of the most professional, encouraging, and welcoming instructors I’ve had. His methods of teachings are enthusiastic and confident (which may be interpreted as arrogance to those who are not used to a professor with as much experience and self-assurance as him) Not only is he a great teacher, but he makes class enjoyable and personable by sharing stories and videos of him and his son, and his experience in South Africa.

    I believe this is sloppy reporting at best, especially considering the weak comparisons of the positive comments versus the complaints. Even a brief look at other reviews such as RateMyProfessor would support the notion that Greenbaum is an excellent teacher. In fact, a quick look at the reviews themselves would show that even most of the negative reviews are only based on the number of readings provided, rather than Greenbaum’s teaching itself.

    Professor Greenbaum’s class inspired me to pursue Law, and it is the first class of my university experience so far that I have genuinely looked forward to attending, and have not missed a single class. I truly hope this report is taken down, as it discredits a brilliant and kind man and a wonderful teacher.

    1. Rate My Professor is certainly the best source of information on professors, rather than examining emails and anecdotes from real-life current or recent students. (SARCASM). If you consider this reporting shabby, you should write your own, properly cited, “correct” account of the events that have transpired. It seems like you know better than a team of journalists, editors, copy editors and current students.

      “In fact, a quick look at the reviews themselves would show that even most of the negative reviews are only based on the number of readings provided, rather than Greenbaum’s teaching itself.” So, a quick skim of anonymous reviews + your own personal experience are the only “facts” you need to ascertain whether or not what these students are complaining about is true or not? I would not want a lawyer who thinks like that ever representing myself.

      Furthermore – the folks at the Eye are dedicated individuals with passion, care and a meticulous approach to their craft. The Eye has better shit to do than slander a perfectly fine prof. The Eye was established to be an independent voice for the Ryerson student body with the goal of providing accountability for those in the Ryerson ecosystem. I’m sure this teacher can have brilliant, kind and wonderful qualities. But if he is selectively demonstrating that to students and showing unsavoury, unprofessional qualities the rest of the time, that is certainly a problem well worth discussing in the public forum. Students pay their teacher’s salaries, they very much have a right to find a solution to a problem that is not being resolved. Sorry that going to the media can be unpleasant, maybe don’t be such a jerk to all the people employing you?

  2. That comment is clearly written by Bryant himself. He’s also taken to posting bizarre reviews of himself on rate my prof-the same ones he’s citing above. Scroll down on the page and you get to the honest student written reviews which are in stark contrast. It’s sad he feels the need to defend himself by impersonating students. It’s only made him more of a laughing stock for his childish behaviour. I was in CRM 318 and is anything, this article was too kind to him. He’s unhinged and I’m glad this was written to warn other students about his abusive behaviour.

  3. ^Dear current student in Greenbaum’s 601 class,
    You were not there when he inappropriately yelled at the top of his lungs at a student right before the commencement of an exam. You were not there when he rudely interrupted guest speakers and students who expressed thoughts that differed from his own, in a manner that made at least 50 people, who signed a petition, feel uncomfortable. What is inexcusable here is you discrediting the experiences of excellent students who excel in their programs, who barely got through with passing grades, based on a professors teachings— and this is coming from someone who actually did well in his class, so do not turn around and say our grades is what brought us here. Not a single person said that Greenbaum is unknowledgeable— he actually is incredibly knowledgeable and his expertise in his field was noted to Tammy Landau when complaints were being made (I would know, because I’m the one that said it)—but that is not the point here. The point is, he was not able to teach in an effective manner that was in line with his testing structures and expectations, which left students continuously misguided. His demeanor in the process, is what left students feeling uncomfortable. Students are not paying to be left with awful grades that feel out of their control, nor are they paying to feel uncomfortable and hesitant in a classroom environment. Unless his current teaching methods and attitude has changed, he is not fit to be a professor at Ryerson, period.

  4. The exam was shocking. He not only verbally assaulted this stuent, but was also dragging chairs across the room, shouting durring the exam, and making loud noise into the microphone which he refused to turn off etc. Hes a nightmare and it was insulting the criminology department never responded to our concerns. They should be ashamed. It highlighted how little they respect the experience, and frankly saftey, of students.

  5. I am a student in Professor Greenbaum’s CRM 308 class and I have to say that what is being reported here is in direct contradiction with any of my experiences with him over the last several weeks. I find him to be a pleasant and knowledgeable lecturer with a deep passion and love of the law. I have never witnessed him become short with a student or cut them off mid thought, when a student has a question it always seems addressed. Heck I would go further to describe it as a pretty welcoming learning environment with discussion being encouraged at every point.

    The reporting seems a little unbalanced and that’s troubling when you consider the potential impact of what is written here. He is being made out to be both a bad teacher and loose cannon, neither myself or anyone else I spoke to in class can reconcile either view with reality. Something is messed up here.

  6. I cannot speak for last semesters class as I wasn’t present for what may or may not have transpired, but I can speak from my own experiences this semester. As a student in Professor Greenbaum’s CRM601 course, I have only found this semester to be enriching and a safe learning environment. Any questions I’ve had, Professor Greenbaum has instantly helped me with, and has been more than willing to arrange time after and outside of class to go over essays and things. He asks for our opinions constantly, giving students a voice in the classroom. He seems to be very passionate about what he is teaching us, and has a louder personality – but neither has been a detriment to my learning experience. To say the least, I was shocked when I saw that such an article was written about him. He seems to be a genuinely kind professor, and many in my class seemed to reflect the same sentiment.

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