Photo of the 501 streetcar in Chinatown. CC Flickr by Don Gunn.

The annual Woodsworh College Students’ Association (WCSA) Halloween Streetcar Pubcrawl was cancelled one day before it was scheduled to take place. The cancellation was announced on the WCSA website on October 26 and cited low-ticket sales as the reason behind the cancellation. According to WCSA’s statement, students who bought tickets will be able to obtain a refund.

WCSA did not state whether allegations of sexual assault and rape at previous WCSA pubcrawls were related to the cancellation of this year’s event.

Lisa Meyer, a fourth-year Woodsworth College student, co-organized a boycott of the pub crawl.  “[The] Streetcar Pubcrawl has been a best-seller event for WCSA for the past five years. The fact that it did not sell out the year that students were finally informed of the previous assaults is very telling,” Meyer said.

Meyer said that she was pleased the event did not take place but expressed disappointment that it was a lack of ticket sales that prompted WCSA to cancel. “I am glad that the event was cancelled [but] it is somewhat frustrating that it was cancelled due to poor sales (as a result of the boycott) rather than WCSA deciding to do what was right,” she added.

Both Meyer and Celia Wandio, founder of Student Against Sexual Violence U of T and fellow boycott organizer, expressed their gratitude for WCSA’s co-operation with them. However, both students said that they have some recommendations on how WCSA can make their events safer.

“Olivia Hauck, the WCSA president, and Teeka Cookson, the  vice-president internal, seem to be on the right track regarding promoting safety at their events, but they have a long way to go, which is why I stand by my recommendation for them to have dry events for the remainder of the year or longer, if necessary, to prove their commitment to making WCSA events safer,” said Meyer.

Wandio hopes the cancellation of the pub crawl makes a impression on other student societies. “I am happy that WCSA cancelled the event; I am even more happy that members of WCSA have been eager to speak with us about how to make future events safer. I hope all college councils have paid attention to this and understand that it is their responsibility to ensure that events they host are safe for all students,” she said.

WCSA had planned to make changes to make this year’s pubcrawl safer, which included  an increased number of “sober leaders,” starting the event earlier, and a streetcar to take students back to campus at the end of the night.

WCSA did not release any public statements regarding the alleged history of sexual assaults at the WCSA Streetcar Pubcrawl events.

As of press time, WCSA did not respond to requests for comment.

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