A date auction in aid of the Central Neighbourhood House, a settlement house in Toronto, was abruptly cancelled last week after the charity withdrew from the event.

The auction was organized by the University College Literary and Athletic Society’s (UC Lit) Equity & Outreach Commission and was originally intended to raise money for Walk With Me Canada Victim Services, a charity that provides resources and support to survivors of human trafficking.

After some University College (UC) students criticized the event, the UC Lit decided to change the charity and the UC community voted to support the Central Neighbourhood House instead.

A statement on the UC Lit’s Facebook page announced the cancellation of the event just a few hours before it was due to begin. The statement cited the charity’s withdrawal as the reason for the event’s cancellation.

“[Since] we do not have enough time to allow for our constituents to pick a new benefactor for the proceeds from this event, we have decided to cancel the event,” the statement read.

Eric Schwenger, president of the UC Lit, expressed his disappointment that the event did not take place. However, he says that the UC Lit plans to hold additional fundraisers in the coming weeks.

“[We] hope to benefit both of the charities we originally planned to work with. It is unfortunate that we had to cancel after the Equity Commission put so much work into planning,” Schwenger says.

“[It] was really [our] only choice: we couldn’t well hold a ‘charity date auction’ without having the secured involvement of a charity to begin with,” Schwenger says.

Despite the disappointment, Schwenger says that he is “immensely proud of the UC community for ensuring that all perspectives are considered when engaging in a potentially controversial endeavor such as the auction, and making sure that the Lit maintains its emphasis on prioritizing equity and inclusivity in all our events & other work.”