By Shannon Higgins
The Ryerson Students’ Union broke its own rules last week when political posters violating policy guidelines were stamped and posted across campus.
The ads have now been taken down. “I’m not surprised a bunch of Tory tots would refuse to acknowledge putting these ads up,” George Smitherman, Liberal candidate in Toronto Centre, said Tuesday.
Ibrahim (Abe) Snobar, VP Student Life and Events, approved ads for the Ryerson Campus Conservatives.
“It’s my fault,” Snobar said. “I was just trying to help the group out…and for the record I’m not a Conservative.”
The RSU policy states posters must clearly show the name of a “sponsoring course union” and can only advertise events. The poster was missing both.
As well, posters of a political nature can only be approved by Campus Groups Administrator Leatrice O’Neill or RSU President Nora Loreto.
Snobar said he approved the poster because neither were in the office that day, and he received permission from O’Neill on the telephone.
O’Neill did not remember approving the poster — Brian Petz, president of the Campus Conservatives, said he heard Snobar speak to O’Neill on the phone — but she said “a mistake could have been made.”
Snobar said he only stamped the posters because they were already photocopied when brought to him, and he didn’t want the student group to lose money.
“He helped me out,” Petz said. “He gave me the stamp and I stamped them all.”
“I’ve been really astonished by the Conservative campaign. Tory has said how he’ll be different, but at the heart of it he’s really one of the dirtiest practitioners [of negative ads] around,” Smitherman said.
Petz put the posters in the Rogers Communications Centre, Kerr Hall and the engineering and business buildings.
Loreto asked Snobar to take the posters down, but said she can’t do much else if he refuses to follow RSU policy.
The posters were printed by the Ontario Progressive Campus Conservatives (OPCCA), a group that organizes campus conservatives across the province.
Identical posters were seen at the University of Toronto.
“We don’t have policy guidelines for posters at U of T,” said Alex Chreston, president of the U of T Campus Conservatives. “We put them wherever we want.”
The ads are still up at U of T.