Photo: Keith Capstick

Ryerson Jewish student group says anti-Semitism was present at the RSU’s SAGM

In Campus News, News by News Editor1 Comment

By Alanna Rizza

A Ryerson Jewish student group has brought forward complaints about acts of anti-Semitism at the Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU) Semi-Annual General Meeting (SAGM) on Nov. 29 after a motion for a Holocaust education week event was brought up for discussion.

Members of Hillel at Ryerson, the home for Jewish student life at Ryerson, accused members of the Ryerson Muslim Students’ Association (RMSA) and Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) for making inappropriate comments and organizing a walk-out when the motion was presented.

Samantha Cooper, a member of Hillel at Ryerson, proposed the motion for the RSU to organize a Holocaust education week event. Cooper also made an amendment to her motion to have the event be focused solely on the education of the Holocaust and its survivors.

Another amendment was proposed by a different speaker to have the event focus on all genocides and not have the event focus on just the Holocaust specifically.

“Members from [RMSA] and [SJP] tried to create an amendment that equivocated conflict in Israel and Palestine to the Holocaust, which is actually extremely anti-semitic,” Hillel at Ryerson social justice chair Aedan O’Connor said.

O’Connor also said that members from RMSA and SJP were allegedly “snickering and jeering” when Cooper was presenting her motion and that comments were made about there being too many Jewish students speaking and that they should all sit down.

Quorum was lost before any voting on the motion could begin. O’Connor and Cooper said they think quorum was lost as a result of members from RMSA and SJP purposefully leaving so the motion couldn’t be voted on.

“It was evident people were walking out as an act of silencing this motion,” Cooper said.

She said she saw over 100 people walking out. “At no other time during this meeting [was there] any call for quorum other [than] during the discussion of the motion for Holocaust education week.”

However, RMSA president Mariam Nouser sent a statement via email which read that the association had no part in planning a walk-out.

“As one of the largest students groups on campus with a very active constituency, the RMSA wholeheartedly believe that leading by good example is in our mandate let alone our religious beliefs.”

“Allegations that we organized or directed the loss of quorum are completely false and hurtful.”

The statement also said RMSA would be declining any further media requests.

The Eyeopener reported that a significant amount of students were walking out immediately after the motion failed for the call for the resignation of RSU vice-president education Victoria Morton and that quorum was re-counted. This motion was before Cooper’s motion for a Holocaust education week.

 

 

 

“[Students] did leave right after that motion … but they also did leave after we had been presenting for a little bit,” O’Connor said.

The Eye also reported that quorum was re-counted twice during Cooper’s presentation of the motion.

SJP posted a statement on their Facebook page that read, “SJP did not engage in any manner in the ‘planned’ walkout. Whether certain groups facilitated a walkout does not reflect our beliefs or what we stand for. Executive members who attended the SAGM did not attend with the purpose of targeting a specific motion.”

“SJP does not in any shape, way, or form, support any kind of hate, including anti-Semitic hate speech, nor will we ever engage in it or support it.”

The RSU also made a Facebook post yesterday acknowledging the incident.

“Motions of this nature can invoke many views and we are thankful to our chair and anti-harassment officer for their support and we want to reach out to any students who would like to debrief about the meeting overall,” the post read.

“We recognize that Anti-Semitism is an ongoing problem in our society and it is not something the RSU tolerates so please reach out to us so that we can take action on this.”

RSU president Obaid Ullah said that an investigation is underway for the alleged anti-semitic comments. “This is something we are going to start looking into proactively and how to address this amongst the students.”

“Students are welcome to bring their ideas to [RSU executives] before they go to the SAGM. We would be glad to support initiatives like this, and unless we are unsupportive, go to the SAGM,” Ullah said.

RSU vice-president equity Tamara Jones also said that she doesn’t think the request for a Holocaust education week needed to be presented as a motion. “I would have been happy to have done a Holocaust education week whether it had passed or not.”

“If those students who felt targeted say it’s anti-Semitism then we need to acknowledge that and we need to provide them with as much support as possible,” she said.

The motion for organizing Holocaust education week and the remaining motions on the SAGM agenda will be addressed in the next RSU board meeting.

Comments

  1. I used to donate monthly to Ryerson as an alumni.

    It’s exactly hard-leftist crap like this that compelled me to stop my donation to Ryerson.

    I have a six figure income and Ryerson won’t be seeing any of it. I don’t feel like subsidizing SJWs who are utterly intolerant of opposing viewpoints and borderline anti-semitic.

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