Ryerson University removing ‘offensive’ White Students Union signs on campus
TORONTO — Ryerson University is reacting quickly to a group calling itself the “White Students Union,” with officials removing signs across campus and spreading the message that they are in no way connected to the university.
The group, which also calls itself the Students for Western Civilization, said on its website that it is based out of Toronto and is composed primarily of students and alumni of Toronto universities.
It also lists its mission statement as follows:
- To genuinely explore ethnic and cultural politics in a forum which does not exclude rightist or conservative perspectives.
- To organize for and advance the interests of Western peoples.
- To promote and celebrate Western Civilisation.
Ryerson University spokesman Michael Forbes said the group is in no way connected to the university, adding that he had not heard about the group before Monday morning.
“The group in question is not affiliated with Ryerson and we do not condone these offensive signs being placed on our campus,” he said.
“We are asking all members of our community who see a sign to notify the help desk at 416-979-5091, firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter at @RyersonFixit so that the offensive sign can be removed.”
Ryerson Students’ Union President Andrea Bartlett said the signs were against what the university stands for.
“The RSU definitely doesn’t advocate messages or signage like this being posted on our campus and they definitely were not approved by the RSU,” she said.
“In order to post any posters on campus they have to receive an RSU stamp of approval at our front desk and those were not on any of the posters.”
Bartlett said the RSU had reported all findings of the posters to Ryerson security and they’ve also contacted other student unions within the GTA to find out and asses the situation on their campus to then see what they’re going to do about the situation collectively.
“Ryerson University as a whole is one of the most diverse campuses in Canada and the [RSU] stands to advocate for social justice,” Barlett said.
“So it’s definitely not something that we condone and it’s not something that we support on campus or in the Toronto community as a whole.”
York University spokeswoman Joanne Rider York University said the university is committed to diversity and inclusiveness on their campuses.
“This is not a sanctioned student group or club at York University, and its members are unknown to us,” she said.
“There were eight posters found at our Keele Street campus that were removed immediately very early this morning.”
Forbes said that Ryerson security was investigating the matter and anyone with information on the signs is encouraged to contact Ryerson University Security and Emergency Services at 416-979-5040 or via email at email@example.com.
He added that if students observe an “incident in progress” they are reminded to call the university’s emergency “80” number from all internal Ryerson phones.
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