Talia Emanuel, a Ryerson Univiersity student, has filed a complaint with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (HRTO) against Ryerson University, Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU), the Continuing Education Students’ Association of Ryerson (CESAR), and two individuals for discrimination in services on the basis of her pro-life belief or creed.
In her complaint, Emanuel alleges that she was denied equal access to student unions services, including a number of Equity Service Centres, organizations which exist to advocate for marginalized groups on campus.
A female and racial minority, who lives with a disability, Emanuel claims that she has been denied equal access to the campus groups that exist to aid women, racialized students, and students with disabilities because of her pro-life views.
Additionally, as a rape survivor herself, Emanuel claims she has been denied equal access to students’ union services for victims of sexual violence.
In a statement released by Toronto Against Abortion (TAA), Emanuel stated “I filed this Human Rights complaint because I don’t want any other students to be discriminated against because of their beliefs, treated unfairly by those in authority, or denied equal access to services—especially services as essential as support for survivors of sexual assault.”
Emanuel claims she is being denied equal access to the services offered by the Ryerson Student Union (RSU) and Continuing Education Students’ Association of Ryerson (CESAR) because of her pro-life activism on campus in her role as TAA’s Ryerson Team Leader.
In her complaint, Emanuel stated, “It distressed me to find out that I could not access the five Equity Centres….I am not able to get the assistance I need, on the same basis as other students. This demoralizes me. I believe I should be treated with dignity, despite if others agree or disagree with my creed.”
While attempting to attend an Equity Service Centre event, Emanuel claims she was asked to leave upon entering the room. When she met with the Equity Service Centre staff, she claims they informed her, “even if there’s not going to be a discussion around that topic [abortion], that it’s still an unspoken conversation that’s really limiting people’s ability to express themselves.”
The Post Millennial reached out to the RSU for comment, but at the time of publishing, had not yet received a response.
The Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario has agreed to hear Emanuel’s complaint with a hearing scheduled for May 15, 2019.
This isn’t the first time TAA anti-abortion activists and RSU pro-abortion activists have clashed on Ryerson’s campus. This YouTube video, released by TAA, shows over 10 different incidents of anti-abortion activists facing harassment and even assault from various RSU members.
Most notably, this video contains footage of an attack by Gabriela Skwarko, 2017-2018 Faculty of Arts Director for the RSU, on TAA member Katie Somers. Skwarko was charged in November 2018 with assault and assault with a weapon and her case is currently making its way through the judicial system.
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