You may remember Ryerson University from that time a heart was found in a trash can on campus. It’s pretty much the only exciting thing that has hit the Toronto school ever. But the Canadian university is back in the news — with a lawsuit.
According to Vice, Ryerson’s Men’s Issues Awareness Society (MIAS) is suing their school after allegedly being denied legitimacy by the Ryerson Student Union (RSU). In short: they feel excluded and just want students to recognize them as a serious organization.
“As members and executives of MIAS and students of Ryerson University, we feel excluded from the Ryerson community. The allegations leveled against us by RSU have caused us to be ostracized by fellow students and have sabotaged our confidence and desire to engage with our fellow students,” an affidavit from Arriola reads.
It continued with, “We feel marginalized and discriminated against by RSU simply because we want to host discussions about issues affecting men and boys.”
That’s legitimate. If everyone else can have a group on campus, why can’t they? It’s only fair. Unfortunately for MIAS, the issue of being deemed “official” has been a long-standing debacle.
The Ryerson Men’s Issues Awareness Society (MIAS) has been embroiled in a battle for recognition and approval as a legitimate student group by the university’s student union since being rejected as group last October. MIAS filed an appeal to be reexamined, but was rejected again in January.
The RSU has argued that the issues addressed by MIAS—particularly male homelessness, suicide, and incarceration—are already being tackled by groups such as the Women’s and Trans Collective, and critics have argued that the group would open the door for anti-feminist dialogue on campus.
The latter is a natural response for feminist groups, particularly those at the university. In December campus feminists started a petition against the approval of MIAS.
“These groups have actively promoted aggression towards marginalized communities such as, but not limited to, women-identified people, trans people and racialized communities on campuses across the country including at the University of Toronto, Ryerson University, and York University,” it stated.
However, group leader and founder Kevin Arriola insists that the group isn’t anti-women at all.
“There’s nothing in our mandate and nothing that we’ve done toward that opinion. All of our events have concentrated on men’s health, so I don’t know why they would think that. Really, it sort of comes out of ignorance, it paints everyone with the same brush. It comes out of this idea that all men’s right groups [are the same].”