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Actions, Not Mere Words, Are Needed at U of T

The University of Toronto’s Scarborough Campus (Facebook)
TORONTO – B’nai Brith Canada is demanding that the University of Toronto act decisively following an egregious act of antisemitism by a student union earlier in the week.

On Thursday, the Scarborough Campus Students’ Union (SCSU) passed a motion at its annual general meeting to ban speakers who “support the military occupation of Palestine” from campus, “Boycott Israeli and settlement goods from being sold by Student Union entities,” and even ban kosher food from organizations that “normalize Israeli apartheid,” subject to possible exemptions if no alternatives are available.

U of T’s Scarborough Campus has a much smaller Jewish population than its downtown St. George Campus. Because the SCSU controls clubs funding, room booking and many other aspects of student life at the Scarborough Campus, the motion threatens to effectively shut down Jewish life.

On Friday evening, the U of T administration released two separate statements condemning the SCSU resolution, but failed to commit to any particular response, other than “following up with the SCSU to address our concerns.”

“The University of Toronto’s President and Scarborough Principal were right to condemn this latest act of persecution against Jewish students at the Scarborough Campus,” said Michael Mostyn, Chief Executive Officer of B’nai Brith Canada. “The SCSU was emboldened to act as it did because the U of T administration has failed, time and again, to end antisemitism on campus.

“Actions speak louder than words. U of T must now comply with its Policy for Compulsory Non-Academic Incidental Fees and withhold funding from the SCSU until it rescinds this resolution and apologizes to Jewish students.”

Thursday’s motion was the second scandal involving kosher food access and antisemitism at U of T within two years. Back in November of 2019, the University of Toronto Graduate Students’ Union (UTGSU) achieved global notoriety after it opposed a drive to expand kosher offerings on campus due to its association with “openly pro-Israel” groups.

In February of this year, following efforts by B’nai Brith Canada, a student panel ruled that the UTGSU was engaged in prohibited discrimination and recommended that is fees be withheld, but U of T has yet to act on the recommendation. The University is set to release the report of its Antisemitism Working Group in early December.