RSU president-hopefuls weigh in on controversial men’s rights group

RSU's three opposing presidential candidates.

The presidential candidates for the 2014 RSU election. (Arti Panday/Ryersonian Staff)

A men’s issues group was denied funding from the RSU last March, but chose to continue with support from the Canadian Association for Equality last semester.

RSU presidential candidate Rajean Hoilett — currently the vice president of equity with the RSU — agrees with the RSU’s decision to deny the group, but his opposing presidential candidates think the union could have listened to more student voices.

“The group applied under the guise of working toward gender equality, but was affiliated with a couple of groups that we had seen do some problematic things on other campuses,” Hoilett said.

“It’s troubling to see that people will go ahead and have these conversations in ways that marginalize people,” said Hoilett. “I think it’s important that we work towards challenging some of those conversations and not creating spaces that are potentially very unsafe and very troubling.”

Hoilett’s opponent Roble Mohamed disagrees with the way the RSU handled the group’s proposal.

“There should have been a better process, they should have got a better chance to argue their case in front of a group of students” said Mohamed. “I think it’s completely wrong for the RSU to just shut down a case without hearing from students on both sides and having a vote.”

John Scott, another RSU presidential candidate also wishes the decision to accept or deny the group included more students.

“I would love it to be a whole student body decision,” he said. “Barring any negative connotations against another group, it would be great for men to get together and talk about if they’ve had certain instances of sexual assault or prostate cancer, or just to hang out and be guys.”

Hoilett said the whole student body is considered when decisions are made.

“I think it’s important, especially with this case, that students’ money is not being used to create unsafe spaces on our campus.”

The men’s issues group will hold an event at Ryerson on Thursday, Feb. 6 featuring men’s issues activist Karen Straughan.

This story was first published in The Ryersonian, a weekly newspaper produced by the Ryerson School of Journalism, on February 5, 2014.

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