Exams cancelled, residence students relocated after York fire

Exams are cancelled and students have been evacuated from residences after a fire cut the heating at York University’s Keele campus, wrote the Toronto Star Dec. 13.

The Monday afternoon blaze damaged steam boilers and generators used to heat most campus buildings, so the University was forced to postpone exams and send students to alternate accommodation.

“We’re unsure how long this will take,” said Alex Bilyk, York’s director of media relations, adding the University does not know what caused the blaze.

Firefighters were called around 1pm to the Central Utilities Building, also known as the “chimney stacks”.

First-year student Tom Larkin got an unexpected break from his exams and was headed home to Newmarket Monday night. “It’s just an inconvenience,” said Larkin. “They’re ethically not allowed to let us write exams in cold lecture halls.”

His roommate, George Qi, was on his way to a hotel arranged by York. “I think it’s cool,” said Qi, adding he hoped damage from the fire would take long enough to repair that all exams would have to be cancelled.

“Some people are really mad,” said first-year student Ian Stonebridge as he left his residence room. He has only one exam left, but is concerned rescheduled papers could interfere with his holiday plans.

First-year theatre student Philip Turkiewicz said he wasn’t too stressed about the cancellations. He was using the nights away from residence to go home to Mississauga and get some laundry done.

  • News of the fire and closure of the Keele campus was also carried on all major broadcast media.

G20 protesters outnumbered by police

Unbeknownst to citizens who had gathered for a peaceful march through downtown Toronto – similar to marches frequently held without incident in the city – the provincial cabinet had resurrected police powers from the 70-year-old Public Works Protection Act, enacted when the country was at war with Nazi Germany, wrote Linda McQuaig in the Toronto Star Dec. 14 in an opinion piece about the G20 protest.

The war measures powers only compounded the problem created by the massive police presence assembled by the federal government. Harry Glasbeek, professor emeritus at York’s Osgoode Hall Law School, notes that, with almost 20,000 police to monitor some 10,000 demonstrators, there were two “guardians of the peace” for every unarmed demonstrator.