By Matthew Chung
Four Ryerson Students’ Union election candidates have reported vandalism to their campaign posters around campus.
Vice-presidential student life and events candidate Alam Ashraful, presidential candidate Muhammad Ali Jabbar and board of directors candidates Fahad Nadeem and Rida Iqbal appeared to have been targeted. Some of the candidates and their volunteers replaced missing posters as many as four times.
The posters were repeatedly removed. “It’s been a constant cycle in that building,” said Jabbar, who reported the incidents to the Office of Discrimination and Harassment. Vice-President Education Nora Loreto, who is running for re-election, said the actions appear to be targeted at members of the Muslim Students’ Association.
“Posters get torn down in any election,” she said. “But this was systemic… they didn’t discriminate against who was running, but they were aiming it at a specific group.” Discrimination and Harassment Prevention Office Education and Equity Advisor Andre Goh could not confirm or deny that a complaint had been made.
But any kind of behaviour that “potentially compromises or marginalizes students or the experience of students on campus” is taken very seriously by the university, he said. Usually, the Harassment and Prevention office, security and a specific department in the building where the complaint originated, as well as campus planning would all be notified, he said. Nadeem said he first noticed that his posters were missing on Wednesday.
They had been removed from five different locations in Kerr Hall East and Kerr Hall South. At first Nadeem thought someone had randomly removed the posters. But he was later surprised to see that replacement posters had vanished shortly after he put them up. “I would notice that some of them were missing before I went to class,” he said.
“When I came out of class some of them were missing again.”
Nadeem said he was shocked to see some of his posters torn from just above the head and just below the neck on Friday. Each damaged poster had been ripped in the same way, he said. Iqbal said she was the only one whose posters were removed from Eric Palin Hall. She didn’t bother to replace them.
“There was no point because… they are tearing them off and this goes on and on,” she said. Jabbar said he was also troubled by the vandalism.
“The poster itself doesn’t matter but the mentality of the people definitely scares me,” he said. “There’s still a lot of Islamaphobia going around.” But he said he won’t allow the incidents to bother him.
“The only thing we can do is move on… and educate people,” he said.