RSU: Men’s issues group rejected over safety concerns

The unofficial Ryerson Men’s Issues Awareness Society has a Facebook page as well.

The unofficial Ryerson Men’s Issues Awareness Society has a Facebook page as well.

The Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU) rejected a men’s issues group for official status because it was afraid the group would become a campus haven for misogyny and radical anti-feminism.

Kevin Arriola, a fourth-year politics and governance student, applied earlier this term for funding and official recognition for a group called Ryerson’s Men’s Issues Awareness Society.

The RSU told Arriola last week his application was rejected, and on Friday a meeting was held to discuss the reasons why.

Arriola’s group did not have enough guarantees in its constitution to prevent it from turning into a violent men’s rights activism (MRA) group, according to a document handed out at the meeting.

“The (RSU student group committee) asked whether the concern of having this group turn into a violent MRA would be on the radar, and the group had no preventive measures or proactive approaches to ensure that this did not happen with future executives or members,” the document said.

The safety of women and feminist groups on campus was raised over the group’s association with the Canadian Association for Equality (CAFE), a controversial men’s rights group. The organization has been met with backlash on campus, and required security presence at a few events last year.

Any association with CAFE would be in direct conflict with RSU policies, which oppose “the exclusion, exploitation, and marginalization of women … sexism and discrimination against women … and violence against women in all its forms,” the document said.

Arriola told The Ryersonian his words and intention were misrepresented by the RSU’s response.

“They’ve misrepresented a lot of what I was saying to the point where they’re just saying things that I never said to begin with,” Arriola said.

During a meeting on Oct. 26, Arriola told the committee he had received some advice from CAFE on how to start the group, but insisted they were independent of one another.

“(Our group is) going to be by Ryerson students for Ryerson students,” Arriola said.

In his presentation, he said the group would focus on higher rates of suicide, homelessness and workplace injuries among men. He also cited a high number of boys failing in schools.

During the meeting, RSU members questioned Arriola for almost an hour, repeatedly raising concerns that the group would become a platform for radical men’s rights ideologies — the same accusation a previous men’s issues group faced before it was rejected in 2013.

“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 had been able to recruit almost an equal number of women and was open to everyone.

“The only thing we don’t allow is hate,” he said.

RSU president Andrea Bartlett told The Ryersonian the group still has an opportunity to form.

“We advised the group to consult with the equity services that exist at the RSU, to find out … a way to make a men’s issues and awareness group on campus so it doesn’t affect the safety of any of our students and doesn’t infringe on any of the policies,” Bartlett said.

But Arriola believes that the RSU would not change its mind even if the group made amendments to its constitution.

“We’re still discussing whether we should even appeal the decision,” Arriola said. “We don’t feel like the RSU is really going to change their mind. We think that the decision may have been made prior to even discussing the group with us.”

Under RSU procedures, rejected student groups can appeal student group committee decisions within 10 days, with the union’s executive making a final judgment.

Arriola said the group will continue to operate on campus without RSU group status.

“We are definitely going to start operating regardless,” Arriola said. “We already have our first meeting planned in November.

“The thing is that the RSU thinks that student voices need the approval of their committee, but we don’t.”

This article was published in the print edition of The Ryersonian on Nov. 4, 2015.

11 Comments

  1. It strikes me as odd that a group seeking certification would be denied said certification on the grounds that it could pose an unsubstantiated threat. That’s like saying “We should lock up all black people because they could rob us in the future.” Yes, actually it’s the exact same thing.

    There is absolutely no evidence that a group dedicated to looking out for the interests of males poses any threat in and of itself to anybody anywhere. In fact, it appears quite clear that RSU needs a heavy dose of anti-feminism if this is what feminism is about these days. Censoring dissent, disallowing alternative viewpoints, fearing the the unknown, punishing anybody for daring to speak up. Very totalitarian indeed.

  2. Thank you. The thought that these male extremists could get together and plan assaults or other hurtful actions is chilling.

    • But that quite literally never happens. It is curious how feminism has the largest platform at Ryerson, and the RSU is so afraid of that being challenged that they’re going out of their way to silence any group that opposes them. Let me be clear here, Feminism is an ideology, nothing more, nothing less. Ideologies are meant to be challenged whether you like it or not, just like religions, and just like political ideologies. Silencing any opposing idea or opposition is simply authoritarian, simple.

      Feminism is an ideology, and ideologies are meant to be challenged.

      Even if this group’s initial intention was to challenge Feminism, it is perfectly within their rights to do so, the fact that they are denied such access is absurd. But that’s not what this group is about, they simply want to have a discussion on the issues that are happening, nothing more.

      I find it even funnier that the RSU is denying the group on the grounds that it will evoke “radical anti-feminists”. The only reason radical anti-feminists exist in the first place is because there are even more radical feminists on campus. The difference being is that radical feminism and all the bullshit it spews is actually allowed.

  3. I have to say I find the idea of a mens rights group interesting and quite honestly overdue. I am and society in general is becoming rapidly aware of the censoring and overtly sexist actions of feminist groups both on campus and off. Its like looking at the early stages of the nazi party where they started to censor any views that they did not agree with and shut down any discussion that might threaten the narrative.

    Its hardly any wonder the term feminazi has become so popular when you see this type of childish and quite honestly sexist and what many would consider dangerous attitude at a university.

    Its about time someone removed these feminists who constantly seem content to cry victim of everything but at the same time try to protect that narrative to be only their own by ignoring everyone else that suffers.

  4. Basically “to prevent it from turning into a violent men’s rights activism (MRA) group we are going to act like a radical feminists and shut it down without giving them the opportunity to make their voice heard” because every time you disagree with a feminist you’re a woman hater, right?

  5. Evil Jellyfish says:

    > The Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU) rejected a men’s issues group for official status because it was afraid the group would become a campus haven for misogyny and radical anti-feminism.

    So a group was rejected because of what it MIGHT do? Wanna try that reasoning with any other group of people besides men? Black people? Muslims? Homosexuals? I doubt you’d get away without backlash.

    > Arriola’s group did not have enough guarantees in its constitution to prevent it from turning into a violent men’s rights activism (MRA) group, according to a document handed out at the meeting.

    They have to tell everyone they won’t be violent? Does every group have to do this? Or just men’s groups? What exactly would fulfill this requirement?

    > “The (RSU student group committee) asked whether the concern of having this group turn into a violent MRA would be on the radar, and the group had no preventive measures or proactive approaches to ensure that this did not happen with future executives or members,” the document said.

    Can you actually name a men’s rights group that has become violent? Most MRA sites I’ve been to will ban you if you even suggest something that can be seen as promoting violence.

    > The safety of women and feminist groups on campus was raised over the group’s association with the Canadian Association for Equality (CAFE), a controversial men’s rights group. The organization has been met with backlash on campus, and required security presence at a few events last year.

    I love how the author leaves out the fact that security was required because of the way feminists acted during the meeting. Convenient that s/he makes it sound like CAFE are the bad guys.

    What this is saying is that women feel unsafe because of the actions of feminists.

    What makes a men’s group unsafe for women? You know there are women in this group right? And if safety is based on the feelings of hypersensitive feminists, the group will likely never form.

    And what if I said that feminists make me feel unsafe? They are the ones trying to remove due process from men. They are also the ones breaking laws to protest men’s groups like at University of Toronto. Why do they get a pass from the “I feel unsafe with them around” malarkey?

    > Any association with CAFE would be in direct conflict with RSU policies, which oppose “the exclusion, exploitation, and marginalization of women … sexism and discrimination against women … and violence against women in all its forms,” the document said.

    http://equalitycanada.com/

    Nice libel there. There’s CAFE’s website. Please cite where you got the idea they do any of the things they are being accused of because I can’t seem to find any. That, or admit you pulled that from your rectum. Maybe I could put my feminist goggles on and see the misogyny every where.

    > “They’ve misrepresented a lot of what I was saying to the point where they’re just saying things that I never said to begin with,” Arriola said.

    Feminist “debate” 101 here. Welcome to the club, Kevin. Where comments like “men face issues as well” suddenly becomes “women are oppressing men”.

    > During the meeting, RSU members questioned Arriola for almost an hour, repeatedly raising concerns that the group would become a platform for radical men’s rights ideologies — the same accusation a previous men’s issues group faced before it was rejected in 2013.

    Who wants to take bets they were trying to get him to say something they could twist to be about how the group just hates women? And again with the “well, they might become [fill in the blank]” excuse. Why does what a group might do, and has no record of ever happening, mean they shouldn’t be allowed?

    I wonder if they would do the same for a feminist group? My bet is no.

    > In his presentation, he said the group would focus on higher rates of suicide, homelessness and workplace injuries among men. He also cited a high number of boys failing in schools.

    Obviously the highest form of misogyny. I can’t believe this woman hating misogynist thinks talking about real issues affecting real people who happen to be men means he doesn’t hate women. /s

  6. To take this a step further, it should be made against Ryerson Code of Conduct rules for more than five males to be in the same room together.

    That rule would go a long way towards defusing the intrinsic toxic masculinity and violence of male gatherings.

    Let’s keep Ryerson safe!

  7. ‘Equality’ according to feminists.

    Stop censoring, stop demonizing, stop forcing your ideology on everyone else. Start empathizing.

    Grow the hell up.

  8. There are no violent MRA groups. The student union is banning a group from having their voices heard because of the alleged fear of them becoming something which has never existed. If you look at reality instead, it has been men’s groups that have been disrupted and threatened when trying to speak on campuses. This is an example of the people in power restricting the ability of those they bully to speak back.

  9. I feel this is the beginning of Female group fear and hate of Males as a group. I feel with more and more women in power, this will lead to more openness of denials for such activities. I feel this more open fear and yes, hate for boys and men is already being expanded into our elementary, middle, and high schools. I feel this is creating more feelings of inferiority by boys, later men and more failure for boys and men. I feel this is sadly being coupled with more open derision, fear, and hatred for Male children and men by teachers, peers, and even us as girls and women. I fear such group hatred now being fostered will slowly hurt and turn those other, ninety percent of wonderful good Males to becoming more fearful, hurt, and also more angry toward women.
    We as girls and women are doing much better due to better treatment from a young age through adulthood. I feel this is also creating more freeness to our already protected freedoms of expression to deride boys and men. I feel our own protection and further success along with the increased failure of less supported boys and men will created a terrible outcome for everyone from our own increased freedoms of expression to hurt those boys and men who are less supported.

  10. It’s disappointing that the reason people are being denied assembly to discuss men’s issues is because of an unfounded stereotype. Why do people think men and women getting together to discuss the issues men face is going to lead to violence? If anything, it’s the opposite. Without a space of their own, men are more likely to suppress their difficult emotions or adopt the view that the University and society don’t care, or are even hostile towards attempts to discuss, raise awareness and achieve personal catharsis. That kind of isolating experience is what leads to the birth of extremism.

    Sadly, I don’t think reason or emotional appeals will change the line of thinking that is responsible for this situation. There is nothing left to do than to allow nature to take it’s course. The pendulum will soon swing back, to the shock and dismay of those who have been asleep.

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