Two years ago, the Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU) turned down a men’s issues group applying for official student group status.
The fear was the group would attract misogynists and was connected with radical groups targeting feminists.
On Monday, RSU executives found themselves voicing those same concerns to a student requesting student group status for what he calls a men’s issues group.
With RSU approval, the group would receive funding paid from mandatory student fees, eligibility to book meeting space, postering privileges, and a mailbox.
“We are operating under an egalitarian framework, which is just the general view that everyone should have equal rights,” Arriola told the committee, made up of RSU members and executives.
He said the group would focus on higher rates of suicide, homelessness and workplace injuries among men, and cited a high number of boys failing in schools in his presentation.
RSU members in the meeting questioned Arriola for almost an hour, repeatedly raising concerns the group would become a platform for radical men’s rights ideologies — an accusation that the last men’s issues group faced.
“Is the issue that this might turn into (another) men’s rights group on your radar?” asked Rabia Idrees, RSU vice-president equity.
“It would undermine everything we are trying to do,” Arriola replied.
Despite the scrutiny, Arriola said he is hopeful “this RSU” would not “judge a book by its cover.”
“Based on what the new RSU campaigned on, they said they weren’t going to delve so much into social issues so as to divide the community,” Arriola told The Ryersonian. “They seem like they are more balanced and so I hope they will see us for what we truly are.”