More Details Emerge Of Antisemitism At Ryerson University Meeting

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Lex has been all over the Ryerson University antisemitism scandal, starting with the Holocaust education week motion walkout, followed by the disturbing Ryerson Student Union statement on the matter.

Now via the Eyeopener, Ryerson University’s independent student newspaper, comes more details of antisemitism allegedly on display at the meeting at which the motion was brought – beyond the student walkout already reported.

Photo: Keith Capstick
Photo: Keith Capstick

A Ryerson Jewish student group has brought forward complaints about acts of anti-Semitism at the Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU) Semi-Annual General Meeting (SAGM) on Nov. 29 after a motion for a Holocaust education week event was brought up for discussion.

Members of Hillel at Ryerson, the home for Jewish student life at Ryerson, accused members of the Ryerson Muslim Students’ Association (RMSA) and Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) for making inappropriate comments and organizing a walk-out when the motion was presented.

Samantha Cooper, a member of Hillel at Ryerson, proposed the motion for the RSU to organize a Holocaust education week event. Cooper also made an amendment to her motion to have the event be focused solely on the education of the Holocaust and its survivors.

Another amendment was proposed by a different speaker to have the event focus on all genocides and not have the event focus on just the Holocaust specifically.

“Members from [RMSA] and [SJP] tried to create an amendment that equivocated conflict in Israel and Palestine to the Holocaust, which is actually extremely anti-semitic,” Hillel at Ryerson social justice chair Aedan O’Connor said.

O’Connor also said that members from RMSA and SJP were allegedly “snickering and jeering” when Cooper was presenting her motion and that comments were made about there being too many Jewish students speaking and that they should all sit down.

Quorum was lost before any voting on the motion could begin. O’Connor and Cooper said they think quorum was lost as a result of members from RMSA and SJP purposefully leaving so the motion couldn’t be voted on.

“It was evident people were walking out as an act of silencing this motion,” Cooper said.

She said she saw over 100 people walking out. “At no other time during this meeting [was there] any call for quorum other [than] during the discussion of the motion for Holocaust education week.”

In the meantime, both Ryerson Muslim Students’ Association (RMSA) and Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) are denying their part in all of this.

However, RMSA president Mariam Nouser sent a statement via email which read that the association had no part in planning a walk-out.

“As one of the largest students groups on campus with a very active constituency, the RMSA wholeheartedly believe that leading by good example is in our mandate let alone our religious beliefs.”

“Allegations that we organized or directed the loss of quorum are completely false and hurtful.”

The statement also said RMSA would be declining any further media requests.

SJP posted a statement on their Facebook page that read, “SJP did not engage in any manner in the ‘planned’ walkout. Whether certain groups facilitated a walkout does not reflect our beliefs or what we stand for. Executive members who attended the SAGM did not attend with the purpose of targeting a specific motion.”

“SJP does not in any shape, way, or form, support any kind of hate, including anti-Semitic hate speech, nor will we ever engage in it or support it.”

Notice how both these statements sound like denial of taking part or organizing a planned walkout – but not necessarily an unplanned one.

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