SPECIAL REPORT ⓘ
Keren Dray is a single mother alone in Canada with two young children, and because of what some students call a “parking crisis”, she nearly had to drop out after only one year of studies at Humber College.
Despite a new parking garage opening up on Jan. 2, dubbed the Commuter Hub, the college’s North Campus is fraught with the same issues of not enough spaces for semester-long access, according to several students.
Dray is one of those students. Last academic year, the Chinese Medicine student had a permit for all eight months so that she could park in the lots after dropping her children off at school.
When she checked the status of the permit this summer, it read “active”, leading Dray to believe that she would be renewed for the incoming semesters. When she reached out to confirm this, she learned the school was out of semester permits.
For her, this meant Dray would have to drop out, telling The Post that “no parking for me means stopping school.” She lives in Richmond Hill and has to take care of her kids, work and attend classes, something that would be impossible without parking.
When Parking Services suggested that Dray get a day pass, she explained that the $4 to $6 cost of the pass would be too expensive on a daily basis as she has classes six days a week.
“They should have enough parking spots, it doesn’t make sense to have so little and to have them all sold within an hour,” Dray said in frustration, explaining she had no options. This was on Monday.
On Tuesday, however, Dray had an update. She told The Post that the parking department was able to find a space for her considering her circumstances, allowing her to stay enrolled and continue her studies.
“It was very nice of them,” she said, but added that she hopes “it will not be repeated next year.”
“I’m happy from the result, but this is not the way it should be managed,” Dray added, emphasizing how much this parking spot meant to her and her family and that she would like to see the college have options in place for those in her situation or similar.
Humber College’s North Campus has long dealt with parking issues, as have most post-secondary institutions in Toronto.
The new Commuter Hub was touted as an improvement for the campus when it was announced in early 2017, but the Humber Et Cetera reported at the time it would only add a net 200 spaces. The Post reached out to verify this with Humber but has not yet received a response.
In response to a request for comment from The Post about Dray’s experience, Communications Director Andrew Leopold gave a blurb of information on the new parking garage, saying that it added 1,000 new spots. Leopold did not address the concerns directly.
However, the Et Cetera reported in 2017 that it would only add an increase of 200 net parking slots. None of those spots are open for permit and are only accessible via the day tickets.
In discussions that took place in the comment sections of social media posts on the topic, some students said that the way Humber runs the parking system is the best they can do and offered solutions such as renting a parking spot near the campus, a popular alternative.
Constantine Sardelis, another student in the traditional Chinese medicine program, told The Post that he learned the hard way last year as a freshman that the parking passes are sold out “instantly”, typically in a matter of hours.
“I ended up having to use Queensplate parking,” he explained, an alternative lot just south of North Campus. That first day in 2018, Sardelis waited with around 60 other students for a bus that was late.
The next semester, he acquired a $10 per day parking pass. He was happy to have the spot but lamented the $200 per month he was paying just to attend his classes.
“I began to resent Humber,” the second year continued, as he drives approximately two hours from Greektown “only to arrive to a boastful campus that cant accommodate my vehicle.”
Now, Sardelis parks 30 minutes away off-campus walks to classes “just to avoid the BS”.
For Nancy Mongrain, the biggest fault with Humber’s parking system is that the permits are for a full academic year and summer. She gave an example of a student only going to Humber for one semester having to pay for the full academic year.
The second year law clerk student explained that when she tried to reserve a parking spot when they came up for grabs in early July, she lost her reservation as she could not pay for the pass until she received Ontario Student Assistance Program funds.
Permits usually sell out in a matter of hours at Humber College’s busy north Toronto campus. Mongrain suggested to The Post that the administration should open up the majority or all of the parking spaces up for permit parking, including the parking garage.
Those that attend the University of Guelph-Humber have about 160 parking spots set aside in the parking garage, about the amount they lost when the garage was built, according to a report from GH360 in fall 2017.
“It’s quite obvious with the huge amount of daily parking available, and the limited amount of pass parking, that the school wants to make money and not help keep students’ costs down,” Mongrain added.
“Four to 10 dollars a day really adds up quickly.”
Humber installed new parking kiosks on Wednesday in the Learning Resource Commons building in the front of North Campus that will accept cash, an option that was not available previously.
Several candidates for IGNITE have in the past called for improving the commuting experience for students, including improving parking and adding Presto machines to campus. Humber College is one of the only major campuses in Toronto without a Presto machine.
The Post has reached out to IGNITE executives and the Board of Directors for comment.
Have you had an experience with parking at Humber, good or bad, that you would like to share? Contact us: TheAvroPost@gmail.com or on social media. ■
Rainn Wilson visit postponed
Any updates will be posted by IGNITE.
A 2020 visit to Humber College by Rainn Wilson — who played Dwight Schrute on The Office — originally scheduled for January has been postponed due to an “unforeseen conflict with his production schedule”, IGNITE said in a statement posted on Friday.
“We appreciate your patience as we work towards a new date,” the student union, which has scheduled the actor as a guest for its Real Talks series, posted to its Instagram Story, adding that any updates will be published on IGNITE’s social media and on its website.
Although The Office has been off the air for a few years at this point, the legacy of Dunder Mifflin Paper Co. still has a strong grip on pop culture and television as a whole.
The jokes of Dwight Schrute, Michael Scott, Jim Halpert, Pam Beasley and all of the wild and wacky employees from Scranton, PA can still be heard quoted both in-person and online.
Wilson won the SAG award for Performance in an Ensemble Cast for comedy series for The Office in 2004, 2007 and 2008 which he shared with his costars of the show.
In the time since The Office left TV, Wilson has founded the website and YouTube channel SoulPancake. The channel tackles the human experience and focuses on those who have the ability to change the world.
Wilson has also been part of numerous movements that focus on the betterment of the planet and has recently switched to a vegan lifestyle. He was involved with Justin Wu’s UN Climate Change project in order to bring aware to the crisis that the global community is facing for the foreseeable future.
Tickets for the event were to go on sale on Jan. 2 and would have been $5 for Humber and Guelph-Humber students and $15 for non-Humber students and guests. Only one guest would have been allowed per Humber or Guelph-Humber student. ■
Reporting by Nicholas Seles;
Editing by Eli Ridder.
Andrew Scheer resigning as Conservative Party leader
He will remain as an MP.
After failing to claim a win in the federal election and amid revelations that he used party money to pay for his children’s private schooling, Andrew Scheer said on Thursday he will resign as leader of the Conservative Party.
Scheer said he will remain as leader until a replacement is chosen in remarks to the House of Commons after the news broke, adding that he will ask the party to start the process of a leadership contest. He will remain the member of parliament for Regina–Qu’Appelle.
“In order to chart the course ahead in the direction this party is heading, the party needs someone who can give 100 per cent,” Scheer, who led the Conservatives in winning the popular vote. Because the Tory ballots were concentrated in prairie provinces, the party was unable to win the most ridings.
His resignation comes as a direct result of new revelations that he was using party money to pay for his children’s private schooling, according to Conservative sources who spoke with Global News. The money was spent without permission from the Tory fund board.
Though the decision to resign was not made lightly, Scheer cited conversations with his loved ones, and said he “felt it was time to put my family first”.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau thanked Scheer for his service in parliament and said “I wish him all the very, very best in his next steps” while acknowledging the sacrifices made by the families of politicians. ■
Once again, reporters barred from IGNITE Board meeting
The meeting takes place at Lakeshore Campus.
Two student reporters from The Avro Post were told they could not enter a Board of Directors meeting at Lakeshore Campus on Wednesday evening by Chairperson Neto Naniwambote, once again breaking the student union’s own bylaws.
The bylaws state that Board meetings are open to members — all students — unless the directors then and there pass a motion to exclude the members from the meeting.
Because reporters arrived at what was scheduled to be the beginning of the meeting, it is clear there was no such vote for Wednesday. Minutes released from September and October show no such vote took place.
IGNITE broke its own bylaws when an official told a student journalist in September that she could not enter what turned out later to be a critical Board meeting and continues to do so each time it blocks students without a vote.
In October, four reporters from The Post attempted to find a meeting scheduled to take place in North Campus. Despite being early to the location of where they typically occur, the reporters were unable to find any directors.
The November meeting was scheduled to take place in the University of Guelph-Humber. It appeared as though it was taking place inside a conference room on the first floor of the Atrium but reporters were unable to verify.
The organization also removed the exact times and meeting locations that were posted in the summer sometime between Aug. 14 and Sept. 11 — another violation of its bylaws that they have not addressed.
As pressure mounts from student journalists and those that follow student politics to create more transparency, IGNITE has been holding Board of Directors meetings without allowing access.
The Board meetings were set for 6 p.m. before the time was deleted from the IGNITE website. Room numbers were also given and can still be previewed via a website cataloging service. ■
Reporting by Kristy Lam, Eli Ridder.
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