By Abbey Kelly
A Ryerson philosophy professor has allegedly discovered the secrets of the universe and included it in his course syllabus.
Professor Acer Rust, a specialist in multiverse theory and ontology, first shared their course syllabus in early January. This was seen in an email forwarded to The Eyeopener by student Idina Carr:
Hey Eyeopener or whatever i know u don’t check ur email since u never responded to my pitch of an animated web series reality show of my life but get a kick out of this lol
>> Hello Winter 2021 Students,
>> I am excited to have you join my class “PHL338 Finite Infinity” this semester!
>> In addition to what is covered in the course I have left the secret answers to the truths of the universe in my course syllabus.
>> Hopefully more of you will read it than last year.
>> Send me an email if you have any questions.
>> Professor Rust, PhD
The Eye’s masthead was busy hunting down members of the students’ union, so my reluctant 33-year-old roommate and I were on the case.
Our first step was to hack into the course enrolment list and contact each student. No students who were in the course could confirm if it was on the syllabus; no one had read it.
“What’s the point?” said Chase Engrades, a third-year politics student in a phone interview. “If I show up, Ol’ Rusty is going to tell me what we’re covering that day anyway.”
When Engrades was reminded of what else might be on the syllabus, he was silent. Moments later, he said, “Oh, sorry, I shrugged.”
Other students had similar answers. We had to dig deeper.
Rust has been teaching philosophy courses at Ryerson for four years, according to Ryerson’s philosophy faculty page. However, there is little to no record of where they taught before.
When Ryerson president Mohamed Lachemi was asked how Rust became a professor, his eyes glazed over and he walked out of the room. We stayed on the Zoom call for another 10 minutes since he didn’t exit the meeting, but he never returned.
It looked like we were finding more questions than answers.
But then, a former teaching assistant (TA) of professor Rust caught word that we were doing this story. The 24 callouts I had posted on multiple Ryerson Facebook groups caught her eye.
One of her students had read the syllabus. “I didn’t even read it,” Rheeda Signment said. “I mean, I skimmed it of course, I’m a TA—was a TA—but that’s besides the point. The guy looked like he’d transcended.”
The student in question was Daveed Brown, a first-year undeclared arts student. In fall 2020, he read the PHL 338 Finite Infinity syllabus in its entirety while professor Rust was going over it in class.
“He stood up suddenly in the middle of lecture,” Signment recalls. “Made direct eye contact with the professor for a whole 42 seconds.”
They held each other’s gaze as they both nodded in tandem. Brown sat down as Rust continued.
“And then [Brown] started floating and glowing. The invisible waves that surround us in life suddenly became visible, shaking and erupting until, like, ripping apart, carving through into the fabric of our existence, y’know?” Signment said.
The tone of her voice climbed higher as she continued: “Portals were tearing open around him with blinding colours and patterns totally beyond comprehension. Rippling waves of energy wove around him, winding tighter and tighter until-” she cut off as the 40-minute meeting limit for free Zoom calls ended.
Signment was unable to be reached afterwards despite multiple requests for comment. Even stranger, there isn’t an existing birth certificate with the name Rheeda Signment on the planet. Brown has not been heard from since PHL 338 ended last December.
We could understand more if we read the course syllabus, but I don’t think we will. Probably nothing in there that we don’t already know anyways.