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Black Liberation Collective protests UTSU

Group demands union drop its lawsuit against Sandra Hudson
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The exterior of the UTSU building, covered in the BLC's posters.LISA POWER/THE VARSITY
The exterior of the UTSU building, covered in the BLC's posters.LISA POWER/THE VARSITY

Members of the Black Liberation Collective (BLC) are calling for a boycott of University of Toronto Students’ Union (UTSU).

The group occupied the union’s office at Hart House Circle with microphones and speakers and called on the union to drop its ongoing lawsuit with former Executive Director Sandy Hudson, increase funding for black student groups, and hold a town hall for black UTSU members to address what they call systemic anti-black racism within the union.

The interior and exterior of the UTSU office were also plastered with posters that list the BLC’s demands. Some of the posters call out former President Ben Coleman, former Vice-President, University Affairs Pierre Harfouche, current President Jasmine Denike, and current Vice-President, Internal & Services Mathias Memmel by name.

“BEN, WE SEE YOU,” one poster reads. Others read, “UTSU your antiblackness is SHOWING,” “UTSU IS ANTIBLACK PERIOD,” and “#IMWITHSANDY.”

The UTSU is currently in the midst of a lawsuit with Hudson and accuses her of improperly arranging severance payments for herself totalling $247,726.40, or approximately 10 per cent of the union’s budget. The union also alleges that Hudson deliberately destroyed confidential documents and improperly logged 1,974.5 overtime hours that were recorded in a single entry.

Current UTSU Executive Director Tka Pinnock declined to comment. The Black Liberation Collective could not immediately be reached.

This story is developing, more to come.