FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Pro-Life Ryerson Student Files Discrimination Complaint with Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario

Ryerson student Talia Emanuel 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 claims that since 2016, she has been denied equal access to students’ union services, including Equity Service Centres, organizations created in order to combat discrimination. Emanuel is female, of a racial minority, and lives with a disability. In her complaint, she claims that she has been denied equal access to services for female, racialized students, and for students with disabilities. Emanuel, a survivor of rape, claims that she has also been denied equal access to students’ union services for victims of sexual violence.

Emanuel states, “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.”

The RSU and CESAR offer services to marginalized students through jointly operated Equity Service Centres. Emanuel claims that she has been denied equal access to these services because she shares her pro-life beliefs alongside others on public sidewalks at Ryerson University.

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.” Emanuel claims she attempted to attend an Equity Service Centre event, and was asked to leave upon entering the room. She met with Equity Service Centre staff, whom she claims 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.”

Before going to the Tribunal, Emanuel claims that she sought justice from Ryerson University, which she says failed to appropriately address discrimination and violence against pro-life students. Emanuel says that students who hold a pro-life belief are not treated evenly with those who hold a pro-choice view, in her complaint sharing that she experienced discrimination when she has hosted events on campus, and that she came up empty when she appealed to the University for equal treatment.

Pro-life students who exercise their right to freedom of expression at Ryerson have faced theft, property destruction, harassment, and assaults, often by students’ union employees. Violence against pro-life students at Ryerson University continues to escalate. Gabby Skwarko, at the time an employee of Ryerson University, is currently facing charges of assault and assault with a weapon for attacking two individuals during a pro-life demonstration near campus. Yet another Ryerson student is currently facing criminal charges for mischief and assault against a pro-life student at Ryerson as well.

The HRTO has accepted Emanuel’s complaint and has scheduled a hearing for May 15, 2019.

Emanuel states, “University campuses should be places where free speech is protected. I have not experienced that. I hope that my human rights complaint can help to change that so other students will be treated equally, no matter what they believe.”

Media Contact

Talia Emanuel
taliaemanuel+media@gmail.com

Talia Emanuel

2017 Executive Openings: Ryerson Team of TAA

New Executive Roles at Ryerson University

Our team at Ryerson is expanding to include three new executive roles (Assistant Team Leader, Outreach Coordinator, and Communications Coordinator). We’re looking for committed students and community members to help out in different areas of activism and team building. Are you passionate about human rights, and interested in getting involved with the pro-life community?  Your courage, compassion, and conviction could make a huge difference on the Ryerson Campus this year as we continue to defend pre-born children.
If you would like to find out more about the Ryerson Team of Toronto Against Abortion, please contact Talia (ryerson@torontoagainstabortion.org)

Openings: January 2017

Assistant Team Leader
  • Organize weekly activism, and connect with Speakers and Pro-life organizations as needed.
  • Implement strategies to most effectively make abortion unthinkable within the Ryerson community.
  • Coordinate with other Executive Team Members, and foster team development.
    Outreach Coordinator
  • Connect and form relationships with other pro-life clubs on campus
  • Help plan and coordinate larger outreach events, such as debates and special speakers
  • Use social media and our blog to reach more people with the truth about abortion.
Communications Coordinator
  • Help plan and facilitate weekly meetings.
  • Reach out to new team members and sign-ups
  • Communicate with team members about team activities, such as weekly meetings and activism.
  • Record Minutes during Executive and General Meetings.
If you’d like to find out more information about, or apply for, any of these roles, email ryerson@torontoagainstabortion.org

Take A Stand–A Volunteer’s Story

On December Thursday 8th, 15 courageous volunteers for the Ryerson Team of Toronto Against Abortion gave of their time to be a voice for pre-born children. Passersby questioned why we’d chose to spend over an hour outside, talking to strangers, on one of the coldest days of the year. This is the testimony from one of our volunteers,  on how taking a stand for truth can change hearts and minds:
“I was not new to the cause, or uninformed. My daughter, Talia is the Team Leader for the Ryerson team of TAA. We had heard the stories, good and bad.
But still, I was not prepared. I was not prepared for the camaraderie of the group. All ages, various backgrounds, but genuinely joined for a cause that takes precedence. A cause that takes precedence over comfort–it was freezing! And a cause that takes you out of your comfort zone.  It’s not easy being the sign bearer that others cross the street to avoid. Or to directly be singled out with a verbal barrage.
I was certainly not prepared for the blessing it was. For the heart-lift when someone gave a thumbs up. For the inner warmth at the whisper from a passerby, I’m with you.
I wasn’t prepared for the conversation with the young woman who wanted a pamphlet because she was “pro-choice” too.  After talking about simple facts of the life cycle of an pre-born child, she realized, “oh, maybe its not okay to end that life.”
Seeing a picture of the remains of a pre-born child killed before birth allowed us to talk about the atrocity of a life cut short. We agreed, despite our differences of viewpoint and conviction that, if the picture was true, something was very wrong with a society that allowed and even encouraged this expression of choice. Before we parted ways, she asked me, “How do I volunteer? This is wrong.”
Choice chain? Not for the faint of heart…but, don’t miss it. Don’t wait until you take an apologetics class or study about how to state your case. Just, volunteer.  Be there. Be present. Hold a sign.
If you don’t know the answers, someone in the group does. You just have to start others thinking about their own questions. Is that really what it looks like? Is that what happens in an abortion…. Is that really okay?
Take a stand, get involved. Take that small step and make a difference…. Saving one life is more than enough reason.”
-Teresa
Email ryerson@torontoagainstabortion.org  to find out how you can be a voice for preborn children  at the Ryerson Campus.