The B.C. Human Rights Tribunal has decided that the University of Victoria was right to evict Alkis Gerd’son, a 43-year-old man who lived on campus for more than two decades, but who left six months ago.* Gerd’son started at the school in 1988 and earned two bachelor’s degrees by the time he stopped taking classes in 1997. He then continued to live in residence until B.C. Supreme Court court ruled in late 2010 that he must leave his his one-bedroom apartment —- for which he had paid $655 a month until he stopped paying his rent altogether. The university told the tribunal that they allowed him to stay after graduation in 1997 “out of compassion,” because he has a mental disability, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder and allergies. But they changed their minds and asked him to leave multiple times before taking him to court. Last week, the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal heard his argument that he was discriminated against because of his disabilities. Barbara Humphreys, a tribunal member, concluded simply that his complaint “is not justified.” Either way, Gerd’son should have been able to afford to pay his rent — he has received disability and housing support cheques since 2004.
This article has been updated from an earlier version that incorrectly stated that Gerd’son was still living in residence at the time of the Human Rights Tribunal’s ruling.