U of T will not permit use of campus for Toronto Nationalist Rally...

Humanists for Social and Environmental Action: U of T will not permit use of campus for Toronto N...:

The University of Toronto has notified organizers of the Toronto Nationalist Rally, in writing, that they are not permitted to use space on its campuses. 

Earlier this week, the university learned the organization had indicated in a Facebook post that it would hold the rally on U of T’s downtown Toronto campus in September. The organization did not have permission to hold the event at U of T.
The university reported the erroneous claim to Facebook and followed up with a ‘cease-and-desist’ letter to the organization, requesting that it discontinue using the name of the university or any “other practices which may lead to the perception that your September 14th event is located, sponsored, hosted, or endorsed by or has any relationship to, the University of Toronto.”
The Canadian Nationalist Party subsequently sent U of T an email asking how to book space. Although no formal request was ever made, the university has told the organization in writing that U of T will not permit it to hold events on campus “because of concerns about the safety of students, faculty, staff and the public.” 
The university's policy on booking space explains that the university “reserves the right to control access to its campuses, and to the use of its space and facilities.” The policy makes it clear that the use of university space must abide by U of T's principles, including freedom of expression, mutual respect and civility, and that safety concerns will be taken into consideration.
The move comes against the backdrop of violence, racism and anti-Semitism in the United States that culminated last weekend in a rally by white supremacists in Virginia that left three dead, including an anti-racism protester.
“Bigotry, hate, intolerance and violence have no place on our campuses,” President Meric Gertlersaid. “The recent use of Neo-Nazi and Ku Klux Klan slogans and symbols in Charlottesville, Virginia must be condemned in the strongest terms.  We must be clear that this is never acceptable. At the same time, the events in Virginia have justifiably increased concern about safety in our community and elsewhere.”

Read the president's statement

Read the Globe and Mail article

Read the Toronto Star article


The Hart House Global Commons:March 22

The Hart House Global Commons: Interview with Two... - Hart House, University of Toronto

Hart house is hosting the first-ever Hart House Global Commons on March 22. Students from Sciences Po in Reims, France, and Indiana University Bloomington in Indiana, USA, will join U of T students virtually in a discussion about the rise of nationalist movements around the world. We have already heard from two U of T students and one IU Bloomington student about their involvement in this much needed global conversation, and now we turn to Sciences Po students Katarina, and Sebastian.Why did you choose to get involved? K: I was made aware of this initiative through a specific class that I am taking at Sciences Po, Citizens and Politics. I was motivated by this particular subject, in light of recent events, and wanted to understand how they came about from a practical and theoretical framework, their repercussions, and get my fellow peers’ take on the events through discussions.SM: I chose to get involved in this project because this semester I am taking three classes in political sciences, two of which focus especially on political representation.
In your opinion, how is the topic of nationalism relevant to students today?K: New nationalism is relevant to all segments of society due to the pervasiveness of the issues as well as its successful rise in prominence and power. As students from all around the world, new nationalism is a phenomenon that we will have to address from multiple standpoints and contexts.
SM: I think Nationalism is a currently relevant topic to students since it is reviving in many states around the world. Let’s think about America First, or the racist statements of Marine Le Pen in France and Matteo Salvini in Italy. As a European, I feel moreover that nationalism is nowadays strongly linked with the EU, since indeed nationalist (and many times populist) movements blame the EU as a scapegoat for contemporary economic and political issues, and advocate for the return of a more nation-centered political agenda, independent [of] international trends and institutions. 
What would you say to a fellow student who was unsure about attending Global Commons?K: This conversation is a unique opportunity to exchange views between students from multiple universities and develop these views, and should therefore definitely not be missed.SM: I would tell her such a possibility […] can open her eyes concerning such a hot topic, and that it would be a unique opportunity to listen to different points of view and ideas to better understand what she thinks herself.  
How do you feel about students from universities abroad getting involved? What would you ask them if you could meet them in person?K: As a student currently studying at a university not in her native country, I have seen how enriching it is to talk to students from different backgrounds as it adds much more to a conversation than simply if everyone has had the same experiences. I would ask if there is a specific way that nationalism has impacted their personal lives directly or indirectly?SM: I think that having students of different nationalities from different universities makes such a project more far-reaching and ambitious. I think that it will be really interesting to listen to other students and to understand what they think in order to better define what I think myself too. If I were to meet them in person I’d ask them why they decided to participate in this project and whether they think nationalism will gain importance and power in the future. 


OHS Statement on Quebec Mosque Attack | Ontario Humanist Society

OHS Statement on Quebec Mosque Attack | Ontario Humanist Society

The Ontario Humanist Society (OHS) sends condolences to the victims of the terrible act of violence perpetrated at the Centre Culturel Islamique de Quebec yesterday. Our thoughts are not only with the victims, but also their families and friends, the Muslim community and the people of Quebec. We stand united with all who denounce this horrendous act and join in calling for unity, tolerance and respect in a time when so many try to divide us.
Freedom of religion is a fundamental human right, and everyone, everywhere should be free to practice their religion, or lack thereof, as they see fit, without fear of discrimination or persecution. Intolerance, fear and division are not the way forward for the human race and we must unite against any effort to promote those misguided efforts.
If we all choose to live with compassion, empathy, reason and respect, we will not be divided.

Statement of Solidarity February 1, 2017 The Campus Chaplains’ Association

Statement of Solidarity February 1, 2017
The Campus Chaplains’ Association
The Campus Chaplains' Association at the University of Toronto are horrified and angered by the heartbreaking loss of life at the Centre Culturel Islamique de Québec City on January 29. We express our deepest grief. As leaders of ethical and faith communities, we are deeply saddened that a place of worship and gathering for the Muslim community was the centre of violence.

As campus chaplains, we understand diversity of belief and cultural background as a gift to our community. Each of the religious and ethical groups represented by the campus chaplains is searching for new ways to live peacefully with its neighbours. We commit to walking the path of peace together, in solidarity with our Muslim students, colleagues and friends. This path is a way forward, in the hopes that we can build a loving diverse society together.  

Dr Homa Hoodfar at Earth Sciences tonight at 6:30

Tomorrow night, Friday February 3rd at 6:30 pm, former prisoners of conscience Dr. Homa Hoodfar, Mohamed Fahmy, Hamid Ghassemi-Shall and Mostafa Azizi will be joining Alex Neve, Amnesty International's Secretary General, along with human rights experts and Members of Parliament for a panel in support of Saeed Malekpour

Saeed Malekpour is a Canadian permanent resident originally from Iran who has been imprisoned in Iran's Evin Prison since 2008 for creating an open source software for uploading photos to the internet. The Iranian authorities said the program was used to upload photos to pornographic websites, which Saeed maintains were made without his knowledge. Amnesty International is calling for his immediate release. Dr

Friday, February 3, 2017
6:30 - 8:30 pm
Earth Sciences Building, University of Toronto (5 Bancroft Ave)

You can find the full details on Facebook >>

Registration is not required, but feel free to let us know if you will be attending so we can look out for you and also thank you in person for your support. You can reach Sara at

Thank you for all you do for human rights in Iran and around the world!


Women's March on Washington: Toronto March, Jan 21, 12pm

Women's March on Washington: Toronto
Across Turtle Island (North America) we have seen a rise in acts of hate coinciding with the American election. On Saturday, January 21, join us for a march to unite our communities in Toronto and to speak out.
We come together to say we will not be silent in the face of the hate that has threatened, demonized and insulted so many of us – Muslims, Jews, racialized people, Indigenous people, migrants and those with precarious or no legal status, members of the LGBTTQQ2SI communities, differently abled people and women.
In the spirit of saying no to hate and yes to justice, equity and social change, people around the world will be mobilizing and resisting as Trump is inaugurated. The lived experiences of colonialism and anti-black racism, xenophobia, homophobia and transphobia, sexism and oppression has existed long before Trump, but we worry that the recent US election has provided a new wave that normalizes and makes hate acceptable.
Now is a critical moment to come together to send a united message. We cannot afford to be silent or idle. Let us continue to push for justice for the most marginalized and oppressed among us.
All allies are welcome.


Blanket Exercise, Hart House, register for Thurs Jan 19, 10am

Blanket Exercise: Lessons in Canadian History from Indigenous Experience
10 am – 12 pm, Thu Jan 19, Hart House
Join an interactive story telling experience that explores the history of Indigenous Peoples that we’re rarely taught. Register at For details, please visit: 

MFCentre, Brown Girls Yoga, every thursday @ 5

good idea! every thursday!
Brown Girls Yoga
5 pm – 6 pm, Main Activity Hall, Multi-Faith Centre
For self-identified Black, Indigenous and People of Colour, who currently or formerly identify as woman/girl. Queer- and trans- positive space. All bodies, sizes and levels welcome. Bring your own yoga mats. Some yoga mats available on site. No registration required. Join us every Thursday! For details, please visit:


Science for Peace: The Ethics of Immigration, Jan 11, 7pm UC

Science for Peace: The Ethics of Immigration
Wed, Jan 11, 2017: The Ethics of Immigration

Free public lecture on January 11, 2017 from 7-9pm in Room UC 144 of University College (15 King’s College Circle, Toronto, ON M5S 3H7 ) at the University of Toronto’s St George campus

The Ethics of Immigration, by Joseph Carens
Professor of Political Science at University of Toronto
Facebook event page:

This event is part of a weekly series of talks entitled: Vital Discussions of Human Security .
Please see for details on all of our upcoming events. Please see our YouTube channel for videos from past events: .

Death and dying: Grief sharing circle Jan 17

Grief Support Sharing Circle
 5:10 – 7:30 pm Tues Jan 17
Faculty of Social Work, 246 Bloor St W (Bedford and Bloor)
Everyone grieves in their own way. When someone you love dies, you may feel angry, isolated, sad, guilty and lonely. The Grief Sharing Circle is an informal drop-in support group for students who have experienced a death of someone close to them. Facilitated by Shauna Corbin, Counsellor, Health and Wellness and Macro Mascarin, Buddhist Chaplain. Please register at:


Amnesty International Canada - Action for Aleppo

Amnesty International Canada
Update(December 16, 2016): Thousands of people are now trapped in freezing temperatures as evacuations have stopped.

Right now, people in East Aleppo are posting their final goodbyes online as government forces gain full control of the city. Instead of being given a safe path out, they face being trapped, tortured or executed.

In a matter of hours at least 82 civilians, including children, were shot on the spot by government and allied forces who entered their homes, or at gunpoint in the streets. A tentative ceasefire has now fallen apart again.

The lives of tens of thousands of people are in the hands of the Russian and Syrian governments.

Join our urgent call for the safe evacuation of the people trapped in Aleppo and the deployment of UN monitors to protect people from harm.



Tuesday, December 6, 2016
11:45 am – 2:00 pm
Main Activity Hall, Multi-Faith Centre (569 Spadina Avenue)
NEW LOCATION: Hart House (7 Hart House Circle)
Staff, students and faculty are invited to join us for the December 6th National Day of Remembrance & Action on Violence Against Women. We will hear from various speakers and work on an interactive activity together to commemorate this day and to look ahead to the important work that we can all do to take action on violence against women.


Tweet for Write for Rights on Human Rights Day! | Amnesty International Canada

Tweet for Write for Rights on Human Rights Day! | Amnesty International Canada
This Human Rights Day, December 10th, people around the world will be joining Amnesty to write for rights. In this blog post, we are going to share with you how to engage the world and your country in celebrating the power of letter writing and defending human rights. If you have not yet registered with Write for Rights, visit our website and be sure to sign up. You’ll find our featured 2016 cases, and ideas on how to host your own letter-writing parties.
This year, Amnesty International will be using Twitter to create an online wave of speaking out for human rights through YOUR tweets about Write for Rights. Let’s show the world that human rights matter, by making the 2016 Write for Rights hashtag #W4R16 and #Write4Rights appear in conversations online throughout the entire day.


World Aids Day at UC Dec 1

Today  University College will be lit up red. This has become an annual tradition for UC during World AIDS Day every December 1st. World AIDS Day is an opportunity to show support to and solidarity with the millions of people living with HIV and AIDS. Historically, HIV/AIDS has had a huge impact on LGBTQ+ communities and it continues to affect our communities. Today is an opportunity to talk about HIV and to continue raising awareness, fighting stigma and improving education. World AIDS Day serves as a great opportunity to bring attention to these issues, and it serves as a reminder of why it is important to continue this work all year round.

There are many organizations in Toronto and the GTA that focus specifically on providing support to and raising awareness within LGBTQ+ communities affected by HIV/AIDS. Here are just a few that we have had the pleasure to work with.

-          ACT (AIDS Committee of Toronto)


Vigils for Orlando

In light of the tragic deaths in Orlando on Sunday, two vigils are being planning on campus:

U of T Orlando Memorial: An Act of Solidarity
Wednesday June 15, 2016
Wednesday June 15, 12:00-12:30pm
Memorial Benches in front of Hart House

Vigil for Pulse Nightclub Tragedy (organized by LGBTOUT and APUS)
Tuesday June 14 at 9pm
King’s College Circle


Science for Peace: Drones and Robots, Canada's Policy. Free, UC, June 15

Drones and Killer Robots: Canada's Policy

Military operations have increasingly included precision guided munitions and unmanned aircraft known as drones. Under development are unmanned fully autonomous armaments, or ”killer robots’’ that destroy or kill without a human in the decision loop. Now is the time to debate what Canada plans to do about this.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016, 7 pm
Room 261, University College, 15 Kings College Circle, University of Toronto.
All are welcome. No charge.


  • Michel Duguay, Professor in Electrical and Computer Engineering, Laval University and chair, Science for Peace Working Group on Drones
  • Walter Dorn, Professor of Defence Studies, Royal Military College and Canadian Forces College
  • Cesar Jaramillo, Executive Director, Project Ploughshare

Noam Chomsky Defines What It Means to Be a Truly Educated Person

Noam Chomsky Defines What It Means to Be a Truly Educated Person | Open Culture

Chomsky, whose thoughts on education we’ve featured before, tells us in the short video interview at the top of the post how hedefines what it means to be truly educated. And to do so, he reaches  back to a philosopher whose views you won’t hear referenced often, Wilhelm von Humboldt, German humanist, friend of Goethe and Schiller, and “founder of the modern higher education system.” 

Humboldt, Chomsky  says, “argued, I think, very plausibly, that the core principle and requirement of a fulfilled human being is the ability to inquire and  create constructively, independently, without external controls.” A true education, Chomsky suggests, opens a door to human intellectual freedom and creative autonomy.

To clarify, Chomsky paraphrases a “leading physicist” and former MIT colleague, who would tell his students, “it’s not important what we cover in the class; it’s important what you discover.” On this point of view, to be truly educated means to be resourceful, to be able to “formulate serious questions” and “question standard doctrine, if that’s appropriate”…. It means to “find your own way.” This definition sounds similar to Nietzsche’s views on the subject, though Nietzsche had little hope in very many people attaining a true education. Chomsky, as you might expect, proceeds in a much more democratic spirit.


Paid Internships at the MFC centre for 2016/7. Deadline April 27.

Paid Internships: Sept 1, 2016 to March 15, 2017
Multi-Faith Centre
Application Deadline: 11:59 pm, Wednesday, April 27, 2016.

Application requirements:
The application is comprised of two parts: (1) cover letter and (2) resume.

Your cover letter should outline the following:
• Your interest in working at the Centre, and how your academic background, experience and skills would allow you to make a unique contribution to the work of the Centre and through the particular internship you are applying for
• Confirmation that you will be a full-time student in 2016 – 2017. The internships are only open to full-time students.

Your resume should outline experience that is current and related to the position description.

Submit your complete application by email to Richard Chambers at In the subject field, enter whether you are applying for a:

General Internships (6 positions)
Environmental Internship (1 position)
Queering Religion Internship (1 position)
Communications Internship (1 position)

Applicants will be contacted regarding an interview the 1st week of May. All applicants will be contacted regarding the status of their application as soon as possible.

About the Multi-Faith Centre
The Multi-Faith Centre offers educational opportunities for students, staff and faculty to engage in personal and collective processes of discerning life purpose and meaning, as well as opportunities to engage in inter-faith cooperation for social justice. The Multi-Faith Centre serves all students, staff and faculty, including those who identify as “agnostic,” “atheist” or “secularist.” In addition the Centre offers guidance on religious accommodation, religious pluralism and spiritual life on campus as well as a physical space where students, staff and faculty can gather for worship, meditation, yoga and other spiritual practices.

About the Multi-Faith Centre Internship Program
The Multi-Faith Centre Internship Program provides undergraduate and graduate students structured learning opportunities to examine the role of religion and religious actors in society; explore questions of identity, culture and community; and engage in personal and collective processes of discerning life purpose and meaning through sustained study of the interconnections between spirituality and social justice. Interns will have an opportunity to develop a related project under the guidance of Multi-Faith Centre staff.

The Multi-Faith Centre for Spiritual Study and Practice is offering 6 general programming internships, 1 environmental internship, 1 internship exploring sexual orientation, identity and faith, and 1 communications internship consisting of 10 hours a week at $12.73 an hour from Sept 1, 2016 to Mar 15, 2017 to full-time students (during that academic year) on the St George campus.


Multi-Faith Centre interns are responsible for the following:

• Supporting Multi-Faith Centre staff- and intern-led programming
• Planning, developing, promoting, implementing and leading a minimum of 3 projects
• Supporting student clubs with joint programming engaged in questions of religion, faith, spirituality and social justice
• Attending weekly meetings with Multi-Faith Centre staff and interns
• Holding weekly office hours at the Multi-Faith Centre

• Currently enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate program in any discipline at St. George Campus
• Excellent organizational and time management skills
• Excellent project development skills
• Excellent verbal and written communication skills, including public speaking skills
• Excellent interpersonal skills
• Ability to work independently and collaboratively
• Understanding of equity and social justice theory and practice

Additional requirements for Eco-Spirituality Internship applicants
• Knowledge of ecological justice theory and practice. Knowledge of Indigenous land-based pedagogy is an asset.
• Demonstrated experience planning and implementing ecology-focused events and projects
• Experience with participating in environment and sustainability-focused clubs on campus, and environment focused organizations and movements

Additional requirements for Queering Religion Internship
• Understanding of LGBTTQQ2SIAA issues
• Understanding of issues of sexism, racism, homophobia, bi-phobia transphobia and other forms of oppressions
• Experience with participating in and/or creating supportive spaces for LGBTTQQ2SIAA identified peoples
• Interest in examining intersections of gender, sexuality, race, faiths, religions, theologies and spiritual practices

Additional requirements for Communication Internship applicants
• Demonstrated experience with HTML, CMS, MS Office
• Demonstrated experience with social media (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, Instagram)
• Courses taken or skills acquired in graphic design, web 2.0 and social media are an asset
• Short-listed candidates will be required to provide work samples

April 6, UC: Science for Peace: Windows of Opportunity: How Women Seize Peace Negotiations for Political Change

Science for Peace: Windows of Opportunity: How Women Seize Peace Negotiations for Political Change
Please join us for a free public lecture on Wednesday April 6th from 7-9pm in Room UC 144 of University College ( 15 King’s College Circle, Toronto, ON M5S 3H7 ) at the University of Toronto’s St George campus:
Dr. Miriam Anderson is Assistant Professor in the Department of Politics and Public Administration and a member of the Yeates School of Graduate Studies at Ryerson University. She holds a PhD from the University of Cambridge (2010) in Politics and International Studies, an MA in Political Science (2004) from the University of British Columbia, and a BA in International Relations from the University of British Columbia.

Dr. Anderson researches peace processes, post-conflict reconstruction, and transnationalism in war and peace. She currently holds (as the principal investigator) a SSHRC Insight Development Grant entitled “Sustaining Women’s Gains Made During Peace Negotiations” (2014-2016) and a SSHRC Connection Grant (2014-2015), “Transnational Actors in War and Peace.
Miriam Anderson teaches courses on women, war and peace; global governance; and women and politics.

From 1999-2002, Anderson served as a human rights monitor for the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) in Croatia. During this period she also monitored elections in Bosnia-Herzegovina and in Croatia for the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR). Anderson has also volunteered with grassroots organizations in Nicaragua and El Salvador.
This event is part of a weekly series of talks entitled: “Vital Discussions of Human Security”. Please see for details on all of our upcoming events. Please see our YouTube channel for videos from past events.


URGENT: Email Minister of Immigration McCallum to stop next week's litigation

URGENT: Email Minister of Immigration McCallum to stop next week's litigation 

Despite our best efforts, the Canadian government is going ahead with  litigation that was initiated by the Harper government against U.S. Iraq War resisters. The Federal Court hearings are scheduled for April 5 and 6.
  • We are asking every supporter to immediately email Minister of Immigration John McCallum,  at and (model message below)
  • Under your name, please include city and province
  • Please cc Prime Minister Justin Trudeau:
  • Please also bcc the War Resisters Support Campaign at
Here is a model email message you can copy and paste into your message (or feel free to personalize it)

SUBJECT: U.S. Iraq War resisters – Stop litigation initiated by Harper government
Honourable John McCallum
Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship
Dear Minister McCallum,
I am writing to ask that you immediately cease the litigation initiated  by the former Conservative government against U.S. Iraq War resisters. Our new government should not defend decisions made under the previous  government and re-litigate matters the Court has already found on in  favour of these conscientious objectors. As you know, Canadians  overwhelmingly opposed the Iraq War and the Liberal government under Jean Chrétien made a decision not to participate in it.

The cases to be heard by the Federal Court on April 5 and 6 should be settled, and the matters sent back to be re-determined by new  immigration officers.

I thank you for your consideration and look forward to your response.

cc: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau