At university, you explore new ideas or you become a jerk | Toronto Star

At university, you explore new ideas or you become a jerk | Toronto Star

A group of Duke University students have declined, for now, to participate in one such heady activity. Students in the incoming class are refusing to read Alison Bechdel's graphic narrative Fun Home because they consider it insensitive to conservative Christian values. They have protested its “pornographic” nature (there are drawings of breasts, and of sex between consenting adults in one or two panels), as well as its depiction of homosexual realities.
Fun Home is a complex, deeply literary memoir that uses work by Proust and James Joyce as narrative scaffolding for a layered examination of family secrets, from Bechdel's father's death (a probable but not certain suicide), to his mostly hidden sexuality, to the author's own development as an artist and asa
lesbian. The book and its author have both won many awards and are highly regarded in cultural and artistic circles. The university no doubt included it as part of a recommended summer reading list because of its provocative themes, as well as for its literary merit and cultural relevance.
The shocked, negative reactions many people are having to the students' refusal to read it is both justified and touchingly naive. College is meant to be a place to try new things! critics have said. It's where you go to have transformative experiences, to learn new perspectives, to see things from the point of view of the Other and learn empathy and tolerance. That is to say, university is where you get to do these things, because heaven knows you won't get to do them anywhere else.
As much as the ideal of university-as-beacon-of-progress-and-free-thought is wonderful, it is just that: an ideal. As many professors, administrators, and students will tell you, the university experience increasingly resembles a four-year trip to Ikea: shopping for those things that fit your personal brand, rejecting the ones that don't match the sofa. It shouldn't be surprising, then, that students feel completely justified in cherry-picking ideas that feel right to them and leaving others on the shelf. They're simply preparing for life as savvy intellectual consumers in a world where empathy costs more than a bedroom set, and is worth less.

Tell Nestlé to leave our water well enough alone. |

Tell Nestlé to leave our water well enough alone. | SumOfUs

Nestlé conditionally purchased a water bottling facility in Ontario that can draw 1,300 litres of water a minute from a well so deep it punctures the bedrock. Residents are rightly worried -- an environmental science professor is calling it "the stupidest, short-sighted, most criminal use of water" he's ever seen.

We already scored a major victory against Nestlé in BC this summer -- let's make sure Elora, Ontario isn't next.

Tell the Ontario Government to ban corporate water permits until the township can produce a water plan.

The residents of Elora will need this water. The town currently uses 1.7 million litres of water a day -- and Nestlé will take 1.6 million litres a day under this plan.

Queer Orientation 2015, Schedule of events - Sexual & Gender Diversity Office

Queer Orientation 2015 - Sexual & Gender Diversity Office

(see comprehensive list of activities at the link above)

Queer Orientation is an annual tri-campus week-long series of events that provides opportunities for new and returning students, staff and faculty to make connections, engage in activities and have discussions related to LGBTQ+ communities.

With over 39 events over the course of just 7 days, this is our biggest Queer Orientation yet!

Queer Orientation is brought to you by a dedicated team of students and staff from: OUT@UTM, SC:OUT, LGBTOUT, Woodsworth Inclusive, Rainbow Trinity, VicPride!, LGBTQase, Rotman Commerce Pride Alliance, LGBT Dance, Que(e)erying Religion, Centre for Women and Trans People, Equity Studies Students Union, Sexual Education Centre, Centre for Community Partnerships, Move U, University of Toronto Mississauga Student Union, University of Toronto Students Union, CUPE 3902, Sexual & Gender Diversity Office, UTM Equity & Diversity Office, Centre for International Experience, Sexual Diversity Studies, Hart House, Kinesiology and Physical Education, Family Care Office and University of Toronto Libraries.
If you have questions about any of the above events, please contact the organizer of the event or the Sexual & Gender Diversity Office.


Humanists for Social and Environmental Action: UN council holds first-ever meeting on LGBT rights

Humanists for Social and Environmental Action: UN council holds first-ever meeting on LGBT rights
UN council holds first-ever meeting on LGBT rights

UN Security Council members on Monday opened their first-ever meeting on LGBT rights to hear Syrian and Iraqi gays tell of terror under Islamic State rule.

“It’s historic,” US Ambassador Samantha Power told reporters ahead of the meeting. “It’s about time — 70 years after the creation of the UN — that the fate of LGBT persons who fear for their lives around the world is taking center stage.”

UN envoys were to hear accounts from Adnan, an Iraqi who fled northern Iraq after being targeted as gay and from a Syrian, Subhi Nahas, who escaped persecution and now works for a refugee organization in the United States.

Since July 2014, the Islamic State group has released at least seven videos or photos online that show the brutal executions of people accused of “sodomy,” according to the International Gay and Lesbian  Rights Commission.

Jessica Stern, the director of the commission, was also to address the meeting, hosted by the delegations from the United States and Chile.