Update: The University of Toronto needs to implement proactive security measures
Aug 23, 2017 — Dear Supporters,
On August 14, the UTGSU Executive Committee discovered a Facebook event created by the Canadian Nationalist Party (CNP) promoting a “Toronto Nationalist Rally” on September 14 at The University of Toronto King’s College Circle. The CNP has a clear platform that undermines the equity and advocacy efforts of the UTGSU and our Members. As part of the CNP's original platform statements, they ask for: the support to create a national citizen militia, to eliminate a minimum and fair wage, to abolish democratic institutions, and to cancel support for Indigenous people. The University of Toronto has stated that they will deny this group from using The University of Toronto’s campuses to host an event like this now and in the future. But, the University has failed to follow-up with responses to organizations, both internal and external to the University, that work closely with students on campus through academic and advocacy work what safety measures will be put in place to protect members of the University.
We have seen violence on The University of Toronto’s campuses as recent as of October 2016, where The University of Toronto and campus police failed to keep students safe. We do not want to see this happen again. Following the campus protests in October 2016, President Meric Gertler made the powerful statement at Governing Council that, “academic freedom has responsibilities.” The University of Toronto administration consistently fails to act on an issue until it reaches their doorstep. There has been no further conversation on whether the University will increase security measures for students if CNP, or groups like CNP, decide to use the University of Toronto's space in spite of their dis-invitation. Also, there has been no follow-up from the University with key stakeholders on campus to strategize solutions for the future.
The violence that took three lives and injured countless others during the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia was a reminder that racism is not a dying trend. Across Canada, we are consistently seeing white supremacist organizations begin to mobilize and attack people with their hate speech. The University of Toronto cannot take chances and gamble with their community's safety. The University of Toronto needs to put proactive measures in place, should any group of this nature move forward because it is the responsible thing for the University to do.
We are asking all graduate students, members of The University of Toronto community and concerned members of the public, to sign this petition to let the University know that they need to do more than issue a press release.
The UTGSU Executive Committee