The Ryerson Men’s Issues Awareness Society (MIAS) wants to apply again for student group status.
MIAS’s new president Sarah Hafizi spoke about the club’s current status at the Canadian Association for Equality (CAFE)’s event on the importance of men’s mental health.
“I definitely appreciate the help that CAFE has given us and we will not be able to do events really in the future without them. They’ve offered us an amount of help that I cannot begin to express to you how grateful I am for,” said second-year social work student, Hafizi.
“The only thing that’s difficult is that in order for us to operate on our own we do have to eventually separate ourselves from CAFE.”
Originally, Hafizi tried to secure a room for the event but learned that since her group was not recognized, they would have to pay.
In October of 2016, the group was denied student group status on the grounds that its focus on men’s issues ran contrary to the student government’s “equity values.” Their subsequent appeal last January was also unsuccessful.
Previously, Kevin Arriola was president of MIAS but he has now shifted to events co-ordinator. Last year Arriola filed a lawsuit against the Ryerson Students’ Union to reassess the group.
CAFE organized the entire event and invited MIAS executives to speak.
The event highlighted McGill psychiatrist Rob Whitley’s work examining mental health services utilization, the high rate of men committing suicide and solutions.
As the night progressed various speakers from community service organizations at Ryerson and in Toronto spoke.
Justin Trottier, the executive director at the Canadian Centre for Men and Families and CEO of CAFE, connected MIAS’s new president with fellow Ryerson student, Kathryn Wallace. They share an interest in men’s health.
Wallace is now a financial executive with MIAS.
“You’re allowed to ask questions. You should be allowed to, it’s a university. If discourse can’t take place here then where can it take place? Even if it is challenging and against the norm, we should still give people a place to speak, “ said Wallace.
Trottier said he believes it would be optimal if there were a ratified group on campus that could organize these events in the future.