By Sydney Brasil
Despite cancelling its special constables initiative after students expressed concerns about police presence on campus, Ryerson has decided that having some cops on campus is fine, as long as they guard the statue of Egerton Ryerson.
The Eyeopener’s news team confirmed this when they first saw cops standing in a pig pen set up beside the statue. By absolutely no coincidence at all, they seem to show up on days where demonstrations happen elsewhere in Toronto.
Following at least two incidents this summer where activists defaced the statue with paint, the school has decided it loves to waste taxpayer money, as the cops guarding the statue get paid more per day than it would cost to remove the racist relic.
On one occasion, Ryerson president Mohamed Lachemi was seen shaking hands with one of the officers. An ambiguous wad of paper was seemingly transferred between their two palms.
“To be honest, we didn’t think anyone would realize we let cops on campus since we moved classes online,” said Lachemi. “It’s also part of the reason we didn’t lower tuition fees during the pandemic. If students can’t afford to commute to campus, they won’t notice a police presence.”
In June, Lachemi announced that the university would not move forward with the special constables program, which would allow constables to beat up students they catch vaping in the quad. When asked if he considered how a police presence on campus may affect marginalized groups, he said “Look, if we didn’t care about our BIPOC students, we wouldn’t post the pride flag with the black and brown stripes on social media every pride month.”
The last time officers were spotted guarding the Egerton statue, a member of The Eye’s news team approached them and asked why they were there. After an incredibly long pause, they responded. “There was an incident in the parkette, some loser was caught puffing on a dab pen,” said one officer through a mouthful of honey cruller. “It’s been taken care of now, though.”
Later, they were seen going back to the Tim Hortons on Victoria Street, ticketing street-involved people for sleeping under the awning nearby.
Ryerson community members have started to feel this aforementioned presence. Oakham Cafe responded by advertising an “ACAB breakfast special so cheap you’ll think it was defunded,” which comes with extra ham, sausage and, of course, bacon. They say the special is available all day except the hour of noon, “because fuck 12.”
Ryerson’s mascot, formerly known as Eggy the Ram, has changed his name to “Keith” after being called out via Twitter thread last month, saying he is “ashamed to have not done adequate research on his namesake.”
It’s a Ryerson tradition every year during frosh for drunk frat bros to dress up the statue with mardi gras beads and put a copy of Das Kapital in its hand. This has continued throughout the many controversies surrounding the statue in recent years. Though the school claimed the plaque erected beside the statue acknowledges its racist history, it has since been replaced by one that reads “Vandalism by white kids in the name of school spirit is permitted, POLITICAL DEMONSTRATIONS WILL RESULT IN IMMEDIATE ARREST.”
Students on campus are feeling as though they aren’t being heard—literally. “You know, it didn’t really start to sting until Lachemi put his fingers in his ears and sang ‘LALALA I can’t hear you!’ to my face,” said fourth-year communications student and activist Allie Hawkins. Hawkins’ petition to replace the statue with one of Megan Thee Stallion has more than 1,200 signatures so far.
Though uncertainty looms over the presence of both the police and the statue, one thing remains certain: when the head of the statue inevitably falls to the ground, it’ll be able to finally lick the boots of the cops guarding it.