A man who’s lived on campus at the University of Victoria since 1991, even though he hasn’t completed a course for credit since 1997, is on his way out after losing a court battle.
Alkis Gerd’son challenged a university eviction notice by arguing he was persecuted because of an unspecified disability. But B.C. Supreme Court Justice John Truscott didn’t agree, ruling this week that an updated tenancy agreement signed by the two parties in 2007 gave the university the right to quit renewing Gerd’son’s lease.
The university argued it needs Gerd’son’s room because there are not enough on-campus units for disabled students. Kim Hart Wensley, the university’s associate vice-president of faculty relations and academic administration, said Thursday that Gerd’son’s tenancy is being terminated but university officials are trying their best to help him find housing.
Hart Wensley didn’t know exactly when Gerd’son will vacate the student housing he’s called home for nearly two decades. She also couldn’t also say how he’s been able to stay for quite so long. “I can tell you that the university has over the years made various efforts to work with Mr. Gerd’son on a co-operative basis to try to assist him and have offered to provide him with support to transition to community services and to off-campus housing,” she said.
“Those offers and attempts have been resisted. I think the university has attempted to be as compassionate and supportive and patient as it could be in a difficult situation.” Gerd’son, who has enrolled in a diploma program in business administration, told the court he was under the impression his lease would continue to be renewed every year as long as he did nothing wrong.
He could not immediately be reached for comment. Gerd’son’s lawyer is on vacation until the end of the month. Gerd’son, who completed his bachelor of arts degree in 1993 and followed that up with a bachelor of education in 1997, has also filed a complaint with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal.
The Canadian Press