The Eyeopener3 Wednesday, September 29, 2010NEWS
BY BRAD WHITEHOUSEASSOCIATE NEWS EDITORWhen the fre alarm blared in Khad-ija Boulatali’s apartment, the Ryersonstudent thought it was just a drill. Shedidn’t hear sirens or any sounds o emer-gency. Fire alarms went o or tests all thetime in the building. But when she lookedout her balcony, she saw ames leapingrom the twenty-ourth oor. This alarmwas very real.“When I looked up, then I saw thefre. It was a huge fre coming rom thebalcony.”The midwiery student rushed outsideto see what was going on. But when shestepped out o the Toronto CommunityHousing building, there was no goingback. And there’s no telling when she,and the 1,700 other residents, will beallowed inside to collect their belongings.“What I was wearing — that’s all thatI have,” she said. “You need your IDs,you need money, you need a changeo clothes. No, they don’t let anyone goback up.”She only has one set o clothes, whichshe washes every day.The fre broke out around 5 p.m. at 200Wellesley St. E., near Sherbourne Street.Firefghters battled the blaze until about3 a.m. Saturday morning, said David Sheen,Toronto Fires Services division Chie.Sheen said frefghters who have beenworking or orty years described the freas one o the hottest they’d ever experi-enced. Up to 150 frefghters were on thescene at the height o the fre, he said.As many as 10 had to be treated or heatexhaustion rom the six-alarm blaze.Fourteen people were hospitalizedFriday, including two children and a one-month-old baby.Other tenants were sheltered at theWellesley Community Centre across thestreet, where Canadian Red Cross handedout blankets and ood.Boulatali slept there Friday night whileshe awaited the ate o her cat, Iza. Ani-mal services carried her cat down rom thebuilding the next day.She’s now staying at a riend’s house ora couple o days, but doesn’t know whereshe’ll go ater that. She doesn’t haveapartment insurance and ofcials said it’stoo early to tell when tenants will be ableto move back in.“They told us at the beginning it’sgoing to be about ten hours to get back,but they start talking about 48 hours andnow there are some who are saying threeweeks,” Boulatali said. “To be homeless,that’s the hardest part.”Boulatali, who moved to Toronto inNovember 2008, has no amily in Canada.The 35-year-old was a certifed midwie inMorocco and practiced there or 10 years.But when she came to Ontario, her de-grees weren’t accepted and she had to bere-certifed. She enrolled in the Interna-tional Midwiery Pre-registration Program(IMPP) at the Chang School so she can startworking again.“You have to go back to zero, so I’mtrying just to ollow the ow.”Boulatali was able to convince fre-fghters to bring down some o her text-books, but these are the only belongingsshe has.“I want my laptop. I want my bag,” shesaid.Allison Gaul, program administrator orIMPP said that she met with Boulatali andprovided her with text books. She saidshe’ll help the student out any way thatshe can.“It’s a difcult situation or immigrantsin general, but to have something like this
Student homeless ater Wellesley blaze
Ofcials say it’s too early to tell when midwiery student and 1,700 others can return home and collect their belongings
Khadija Boulatali points to her apartment on the seventeenth oor (let). This temporary orm (right), is the only piece o identifcation Boulatali has.
PHOTO: MARTA IWANEK
BY EMMA PRESTWICHFor most students, access to online uni-versity resources is as easy as logging ontotheir my.ryerson account. But GeorgeBrown College students in the collabora-tive early childhood education (ECE) pro-gram don’t have that luxury. They’re notgiven a Ryerson online identity.These students do have wireless accessin the Sally Horsall Eaton centre, but onlyi they stay on the sixth oor or in thestudy area on the fth oor.“There’s too much technicality,” saidEmiline Evangelista, a frst-year student inthe ECE diploma program.George Brown students taking theearly childhood education diploma pro-gram at Ryerson are given a joint Ryer-son/George Brown OneCard, which givesthem access to Ryerson services like book-borrowing and printing in the AcademicResource Centre.But they can’t access online databasesor the wireless network.Brian Lesser, acting director o Cam-pus Computer Services (CCS), said he hasnever received a ormal request romRyerson to grant wireless access to GeorgeBrown students.“I don’t think it would be terribly di-fcult or us to provide access [or them],”he said.“It would just take us a little time — amonth or two — to set it up. There wouldalso be an incremental bandwidth cost tous in increased web trafc.”He said George Brown students don’thave an online identity because theydon’t use any inormation technology ser-vices, but i the two institutions made anagreement, CCS would set up wireless.“It’s not like moving a big mountain oranything,” said Lesser.For Lisa Veber, a frst-year ECE student,the lack o online accessibility posedeven greater problems. Veber was toldto go through Ryerson instead o GeorgeBrown to fll out her OSAP contract. Butwhen she went to set up an appointment,she was asked or a my.ryerson login. Sheound the whole process conusing, andwasn’t able to get any help, she said.Even something as simple as borrow-ing a book can be complicated or GeorgeBrown students. First-year ECE studentMeghan Rose, said when she went to thelibrary, the representative was conusedby her Ryerson/George Brown studentcard and had to create a special fle orher.“They don’t understand that we exist,”said Rose.Other George Brown students saythey’re not given enough inormation onhow to use the Ryerson resources avail-able to them.Currently, the only study space orGeorge Brown students on campus is theAcademic Resource Centre on the sixthoor o the Sally Horsall Eaton building.But the space consists o only one roomwith 27 computers accessible to thosewith a George Brown ID and six comput-ers reserved or those with a my.ryersonaccount.Even this limited space isn’t entirelytheirs though, according to frst-year stu-dent Elizabeth, who declined to give herlast name. She said that, during busy pe-riods, Ryerson students come in and usethe centre because their login gives themaccess to the George Brown computers.“They’re George Brown students whopay their tuition to George Brown andthat’s their home site,” said Linda Cooper,Interim Associate Director CollaborativeDegree Program.“When they are third and ourth-yearstudents they pay tuition to Ryerson andare registered Ryerson students. Thenthey have access to all the acilities.”
George Brown-Ryerson students left out of university services
They don’t understandthat we exist.
— Meghan Rose,rst-year ECE student
happen is pretty tough.”Boulatali was concerned about howshe would continue her studies, but saidaculty have been supportive. IMPP acultyemailed Boulatali to oer her money andhelp to fnd housing. Gaul told her not toworry about her studies or the moment,and that she would email Boulatali’s pro-essors to explain her emergency situation.Gaul directed Boulatali to CESAR (Con-tinuing Education Students’ Association Ry-erson) or help, but she was too exhaustedto wait in the long line up outside.Boulatali has been going to thecommunity centre everyday or updates onthe situation.Police said there may be water damageand damage to the building’s electricalsystem and, according to the Fire Marshal’sofce, it may take months to determine thecause o the fre. The apartment where thefre started was described as belonging to ahoarder. Ofcials say it’s too soon to esti-mate the cost o damage.“You just have to deal with it and be pa-tient and thank that we don’t have loss olie,” said Boulatali.
It’s a difcult situationor immigrants in gen-eral, but to have some-thing like this happenis pretty tough.
— Allison Gaul,Program Administrator
To be homeless, that’sthe hardest part.
— Khadija Boulaftali,midwifery student