The ASSU Executive expresses grave concern over the situation of 43 students from Ayotzinapa Teacher Training College in the Mexican city of Iguala, who have been reported missing after attending a protest against proposed changes to the education system. Students, across the world, have the right to freedom of speech and the right to protest. It is the actions of students like these, that have defended accessible, affordable post secondary education throughout history and across the globe. We stand in solidarity with the students and teachers of Ayotzinapa Teacher Training College, and our thoughts are with the families of those missing. We join Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International among others, in demanding that the students be safely returned to their homes.
Earlier this week, it was brought to the attention of the executive of the Arts and Science Students’ Union (ASSU) that a large banner associated with the group Canadian Association for Equality was prominently hung in the Sidney Smith Hall lobby. ASSU does not control what goes up in the lobby nor who uses the space as it falls under the jurisdiction of the Faculty of Arts and Science.
This banner is currently allowed to be displayed because CAFE operates on the U of T campus under the guise of a student group called “Men’s Issues Awareness at University of Toronto”. While the names of these groups may seem to imply that their goals include equality and engaging in public discourse, this is not the case. CAFE has in the past invited speakers who have denied the impact of rape culture, over-exaggerated the rate of false-allegations made by female victims of sexual assault, engaged in transphobic and misogynistic rhetoric and questioned the very existence of the patriarchy. Broadly, the Men’s Rights movement claims that feminism has gone beyond improving the position of women in society, suggesting that feminists are part of a system which actively oppresses men. It has become clear that these groups use talks about legitimate issues facing male-identified members of our society as a means of legitimizing their sexist ideology.
CAFE and its affiliate on campus have been linked to a Texas based website called “A Voice for Men” (AVfM) that has actively targeted and harassed female members of the University of Toronto community, posting photos of them online along with threatening and derogatory comments. The well respected Southern Poverty Law Center has called out AVfM for misogyny and threats, overt and implicit, of violence. When these groups are allowed to circulate their hateful materials on our campus, our peers are exposed to triggering and violent rhetoric.
In recognizing students’ diversity of lived experience, ASSU is committed to supporting our members in addressing the systemic oppression they face –including sexism. While universities play an important role as sites of societal critique and free speech, we must strive to ensure that they are safe(r) spaces for all members of the university community. Issues facing men and boys, and critiques of feminist theory and feminist praxis are important topics that should be debated openly, but this discourse must not be allowed to devolve into hateful and threatening rhetoric.
We must not forget that the horrible massacre at École Polytechnique de Montreal a mere twenty-five years ago was perpetrated by an individual espousing an anti-feminist logic. We cannot forget that women are harassed, sexually assaulted and raped on our campuses. We cannot ignore this group’s complicity in the victimization of women here – on our campus.
The University of Toronto is our home. The ASSU executive calls on the administration to reconsider the policies which allow groups to circulate such material, with the aim of ensuring that all community members feel safe.
– The ASSU Executive
The UofT Statistical Sciences Association of Students (UofTSSAS) is holding elections next week for President, VP-Internal and VP-External. The President and VP-External positions have been acclaimed. There will only be an election for the VP-Internal. The candidates statements are listed below.
The polling station will be open from 10-3 on Monday, September 29th and Tuesday, September 30th in the Study Area of Sidney Smith (St. George Street side).
Please make sure you bring your Student ID card – only full-time Arts & Science students who are either enrolled in an ACT/STA course or those who are enrolled in an ACT/STA program are eligible to vote.
Here are the candidates and their statements:
Candidates for Vice-President Internal
Michael Jun Ki Yoon
I would like to run for vice-president internal for UofT SSAS.
I have past leadership experiences and commitments at other clubs at this university such as the vice-president of St Michael’s College Korean Students Association and as a finance and governance committee member of Global Student Network.
SSAS has been very successful with hosting various events such as social events, career networking and etc. My goal as a vice-president internal is to help the club run smoothly and follow the rules and regulation. Considering my experience of working for several clubs, I’ve found that I do my best when I’m in the back side of the team supporting the team members with governance and finance.
I reserve rather conservative ideas in terms of ideas for this club since, the club’s been running very successfully for the past years and there’s no need to fundamentally change the ideas of the club. My commitment should be supporting the club to run smoothly and seek for improvements. One particular thing I would like to focus on is hosting more career networking opportunities for the students.
I believe that my past experience and passion to help out this club will contribute greatly for this upcoming year. There, I believe that I am a very eligible candidate for VP internal.
My experiences in applied statistics began with a satellite tracking project affiliated with NASA in high school and continued with two clinical research internships at Harvard Medical School. From these, I gleaned that statistics and big data is very useful in a wide variety of fields. I want to share my passion for statistics with the student body, and as VP internal I intend to foster a community where students will have the opportunity to network and hear from experts in the field. Also, I understand that a vibrant social scene is vital for student satisfaction, as I currently serve as social coordinator of my residence. Lastly, my leadership experience as the editor-in-chief of the new global affairs magazine, The Foreign Observer, has prepared me to lead with enthusiasm and focus. Vote for me, and I promise you an amazing year!
PLEASE COME OUT AND SUPPORT YOUR COURSE UNION!!