- Janice Winton Vice President, Administration & Finance
- Heather Lane Vetere, Vice-Provost Students
- Tony Conte, Executive Director Administration & Finance
- James Turk, Visiting Professor at Ryerson University and Director of Ryerson’s Centre for Free Expression
- Julia Shin Doi, Ryerson’s General Counsel and Secretary of the Board of Governors
Recently the campus newspaper, the Ryersonian, published an article on Wednesday, November 16th, 2016, in their respective issue (Ryersonian Volume 71, Number 9) about the anti-choice protesters that have been coming to campus.
These articles centered the voice of the Ryerson Student Union President Obaid Ullah, in which he states that he and President Lachemi have been addressing the issue of anti-choicer’s violent tactics and presence on campus since the beginning. Yet, we have clear documentation that this is not the case. Further, this came to us as a shock, as Obaid Ullah has never once been present to address these issues or students, face-to-face. President Lachemi, on his part, has not addressed the concerns of the numerous students who have been calling his office this past month demanding that these actions be taken seriously and stopped.
Since the first spotting of anti-choicers’ presence on campus, students have come together to organize, putting themselves on the frontlines to ensure their peers, as well as members of the Ryerson community, can feel safe on campus. Every week students have had to endure rude remarks, being filmed, and the inaction of the administration and our students’ union. Even when students have verbalized their discontent and non-consent of being filmed, and have voiced their concerns to Ryerson security, the initial response has been to call the police; a practice that further criminalizes, triggers, and traumatizes students from marginalized communities, rather than protecting and assuring their safety.
We the students, and for most part members of the Ryerson Students’ Union, have been mobilizing on this issue. We are quite offended and appalled to see that President Obaid Ullah, declares to “have had enough” of these demonstrations, when he has never been on the forefront of these threats, harassment, and vile images. And do we dare to point out the obvious: Ullah identifies as a cis-man, speaking on the issue without consulting the women and gender affected students, to whom these images and anti-choice misogynist rhetoric targets.
We welcome actions to ensure a safe campus, that the RSU Executives and President Lachemi are attempting to address; however, taking credit for the work that has been done by students is plainly wrong. Therefore, we demand that both parties, RSU Executives and President Lachemi, issue a retraction request of statements proclaiming this work, and correct the information.
We further demand that RSU Executives and President Lachemi include the students of our group, the staff of the Equity Service Centres, CESAR, and all other students who wish to share their opinion on this matter and how to move forward, in a form of a Town Hall, organized and facilitated by our group, by January 2017, and in no way in conflict with the Ryerson exam period.
Ryerson Reproductive Justice Collective