By Farnia Fekri
Alexander Switzer was bored with Ryerson’s campus experience.
So he decided to create the university’s very own Club Satan.
The fourth-year history student and his friends stood on Gould Street on Sept. 3, advertising the Legion of Academic Satanists to crowds of interested students.
“We grabbed some cardboard out of the garbage and just wrote a sign,” Switzer said, adding that they managed to collect 50 to 60 signatures in one hour.
With the list of signatures and student emails, Switzer hopes to give his application to the Ryerson Students’ Union soon in order to make the club official.
Tahseen Jiwani, the Ismaili Muslim Students’Association executive, said he doesn’t mind the creation of the club. Mainly, he doesn’t know what Satanism entails.
Archi Balakumaran, staff adviser to Ryerson’s Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship, shared Jiwani’s confusion.
“I’d be curious about what their purpose or vision for gathering together is,” she said. “It could be something that would come at opposition to some of the Christian groups on campus, so I’m curious to see how it would be able to exist without offending people.”
Like Jiwani and Balakumaran, initial confusion was what made students stop in their tracks on Gould Street. But Switzer is quick to tell anyone that Club Satan isn’t as extreme as it sounds.
“Satanism is more of like a provocative idea,” he said. “We’re just trying to find people that have similar mindsets to hang out with.” In fact, Club Satan will include activities such as punk-rock bingo, do-it-yourself tattoos, bowling and bake sales, according to Switzer.
First-year engineering student Syeda Zahra is Muslim. However, she believes Ryerson should place restrictions on new clubs that might antagonize students.
“A lot of people would be offended by this club,” she said, adding that she wouldn’t mind its existence “as long as it’s not out in the open.”
“But even actual Satanism shouldn’t be offensive,” Switzer insists. “It’s not necessarily opposed to any theologies or devil worship. It has more to do with Taoism than it does with Christianity.”
Any distaste toward the club arises from jumping to conclusions, in Switzer’s opinion. And though he’s not worried about it, he had to deal with it on Gould Street.
“A lot of people gave us a lot of shit,” he said. “A lot of Christians specifically got really mad.
They’d swear, they’d kick our stuff. I don’t know why. I can’t figure it out.”