On December 20, 2012, after a four month wait during which dozens of emails and phone calls went unreturned and unanswered, the University of Toronto Students Unions (UTSU) finally sent a single response – to reject – the application to ratify a Men’s Issues Awareness Society. The UTSU opted not to take the student leaders up on their multiple offers to attend UTSU meetings to answer any questions or concerns they might have.

Here is the letter sent by UTSU President Shaun Sheppards (the text version follows). We’re providing this now in response to requests for evidence of the coordinated prohibition by the Canadian Federation of Students and its Student Unions to block the important activities of Men’s Issues groups.



December 20, 2012

To the attention of:

Men’s Issues Awareness

This letter serves as a notice that the Clubs Committee has reviewed the Men’s Issues Awareness club recognition application. The committee wishes to inform the Men’s Issues Awareness club that your application has been denied for the 2012-2013 fall and winter semesters for the following reasons:

• There have been several concerns that the group has hosted events in contravention of the University of Toronto Students’ Union policy on Discrimination on Campus. The policy is available in full at www.utsu.ca.

• The membership of the organization does not meet the requirements outlined under Article 6 of the Recognition Guidelines of the UTSU Club’s Policy as determined by the attendance of recent events and the received application package.

• There have been several concerns that the group has been in contravention of the Ontario Human Rights Code by creating, fostering, and otherwise associating with spaces, both physical and online, which perpetuate harassment towards women.


Shaun Shepherd President

Notably, no arguments are provided to justify the claim that the campus activities violate either the University of Toronto Students’ Union Policy on Discrimination on Campus, or the Ontario Human Rights Code, while the point about attendance is ironic considering the UTSU itself was responsible for impeding the attendance of the student group’s largest event, the talk by Dr. Warren Farrell. Meanwhile, CAFE has argued that the UTSU has led a coalition of groups that have been directly responsible for harassment , vilification and the breaking of University of Toronto policies, as documented in the following posts:

Media Advisory & Statement: Groups Promise “Militant” Response to Thursday’s Building Dialogue on Sexism Event at U of T

The New Hegemony: CAFE Responds Against Student Union Oppression, Harassment, and Policy Breaking

Hypocrisy on Campus: Hate Speech, Safe Space and the Vilification of Dissent

To provide some fairness, this is the public statement circulated by the UTSU


We leave it to our readers to consider all sides and then judge whether an educational group focused on the health and welfare of boys and men should be prohibited from existing within a Canadian university.