The University of Toronto Mississauga Students’ Union (UTMSU) prohibited media from filming its Annual General Meeting (AGM) on November 14.
The Medium, UTM’s campus newspaper, was allowed to photograph and write about the event, but were not permitted to take video. “I got an e-mail on Wednesday, the day before the AGM, from Raymond Noronha, the president of the UTMSU, to tell me that we would be banned from taking video,” said Luke Sawczak, editor-in-chief of The Medium.
“There were some students who brought up concerns to myself that they did not want themselves to be part of any videos during the Annual General Meeting,” explained Noronha. He and Sawczak met to discuss possible solutions to the situation, but could not come to an agreement. Noronha suggested that The Medium do interviews with students after the AGM so that it could receive consent, and privacy concerns would not be a problem.
News editor Larissa Ho’s bag was searched before she was allowed into the meeting. Ho explained that Shane Madhani, manager of the Blind Duck Pub, asked if she had any cameras before asking her to put her bag down so he could look through it. “I said there is a laptop in there, and then he physically searched through the stuff in my bag to see if I had any recording devices in there,” she stated. “To my knowledge and as far as I could tell, no one else’s bags were being searched.”
Sawczak noted that the UTMSU has recently been barring The Medium from filming many of its events, such as pub nights and some events during this year’s Frosh Week. “There’s a sense to me that there’s a stance of just trying to bar any new access that we could have,” he stated.
According to Sawczak, Walied Khogali, executive director of UTMSU, had apologized for the searching of Ho’s bag and promised it would not happen again.