Grad residence to stay open because students 'more mature'?

Woodsworth College is one of four University of Toronto residences that will close ahead of the G20 summit. (Pras Rajagopalan/CBC News)

By Prasanna Rajagopalan, CBC News

pras-52.jpgThere has already been much bluster over the University of Toronto's decision to close large parts of its downtown St. George campus as a precautionary measure ahead of the G20 summit.

But little has been made about why at least one residence (The Grad House, home to 424 predominantly graduate students) will be open, while four others (New, Innis, University and Woodsworth colleges) will stay shut from June 23-27.

Well, the University of Toronto Graduate Students' Union has one theory.

 Daniel Vandervoort, external commissioner for the union, says university officials have said the residence can stay open because graduate students are "more mature" than undergraduate students - and by extension, are less likely to get hurt or in trouble.

"I take from it a very patronizing attitude from the university towards undergraduates. If they're actually concerned about safety, then they should be concerned about the safety of all of the students in residence whether we're graduate or undergraduate," said Vandervoort.

"I think there's really actually something else going on here the university isn't telling us."

Muhammad Lila, my colleague at CBC Toronto, asked University of Toronto spokeswoman Laurie Stephens why the Grad House will remain open.

She says some colleges - like St. Michael's and Victoria - have more control over their own buildings and land because they are federated. So they can decide to stay open even when the rest of the campus is closed.
The Grad House may be in the same boat, she added, which is why it is able to stay open.

When I called her Friday morning to ask specifically about whether the university had determined the Grad House could stay because they consider graduate students "more mature," she replied: "I can't confirm that. I have no idea.

"We are simply not commenting any more."

It has not yet been determined if St. Michael's and Victoria Colleges will be open.