Association of Political Science Students hosts panel on gun violence in Toronto

Discussion centres on root causes of violence, role of policing

Association of Political Science Students hosts panel on gun violence in Toronto

The rise of gun violence in Toronto and its connection to the United States was discussed and debated in a panel hosted by the Association of Political Science Students on November 16, with panelists agreeing that increased policing is not a solution.

The panel included Sureya Ibrahim, a community leader from Regent Park; Julian Tanner, an Associate Professor of Sociology from UTSC; and Marcell Wilson, co-founder of the One-by-One Movement, a non-profit organization founded by a group of former gang and organized crime members to create effective social programming for youth.

The panelists discussed the root causes of the Toronto gun problem and potential remedies for the crisis, beginning with the rate at which gun usage has been increasing in the city.

Tanner, whose research explores youth gangs, youth culture, and criminality in Toronto, credited the rise in guns to “our proximity to the United States.”

Wilson, a reformed gang leader, refers to his past history as the ex-leader of one of Canada’s most notorious gangs, “the Looney Toons.” He echoed Tanner, saying that “guns are not produced in the ghetto. Someone has to bring them here.”

“For as long as there is a lack of financially stable and realistic inclusive social programming, violence and gangs — gun culture — will continue to thrive. I believe that others like myself… with lived experience will make important contributions to the development of these programs,” said Wilson.

Ibrahim followed this by suggesting that the city implement a “multitude approach” to address the increasing violence. Drawing from her experiences as a liaison with Toronto Police Service 51 Division, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and the Children’s Aid Society, she said that the approach “has to be hand in hand, working with the school system, social workers, and the police.”

All three panelists agreed that Toronto Police need to find alternative approaches to handle the gun problem.

Tanner pulled findings from his research, saying, “Many of the young people that we talked to feel stigmatized by the community they live in and they feel profiled.”

Ibrahim referred to the presence of liaison officers in her area, saying that police “need to learn from the community, not just come and invade the community.”

“You may live in a polarized community and be labelled as a dangerous person simply because you come from this community. Police play a role [in] feeding into that,” said Wilson.

Wilson did not openly dispute the potential benefits of having officers in polarized areas. Instead, he offered more proactive alternatives, such as monetary investments from police into programs like the One-by-One Movement.

“What I would suggest for our local government is to talk to people like us, who are in the community, who have the experience. We are receptive to working with our local government and bridging the gap between polarized communities and the police,” said Wilson.

At the core, said Tanner, “gun violence is a consequence of social and economic inequality and disadvantage.” The panelists agreed that the best route for reducing gun violence would be putting money into social programming.

From statistics and his own research, Tanner confirmed, “Policing by itself is not going to solve the problem.”

7-Eleven at Bloor and Spadina robbed

Police say incident not of public interest

7-Eleven at Bloor and Spadina robbed

Police and emergency response personnel were called to the 7-Eleven at Bloor Street West and Spadina Avenue this afternoon in response to an apparent robbery.

Police arrived at the scene at around 1:20 pm, blocking a portion of Spadina for investigation.

According to the Toronto Police Service, the incident is not of any public interest and police are still securing the scene.

There is no word on any possible suspects or people of interest. Details have not been released on possible weapons charges.


Men wanted for allegedly causing life-threatening injuries to 27-year-old man near the Madison Ave. Pub

Police release surveillance images of suspects

Men wanted for allegedly causing life-threatening injuries to 27-year-old man near the Madison Ave. Pub

A group of men are wanted by Toronto police after allegedly causing life-threatening injuries to a man near the Madison Avenue Pub by UTSG.

The incident occurred shortly after 2:00 am on September 23 when police say two groups of men got into an altercation over a spilled drink. Both groups were asked to leave, after which one group followed a 27-year-old man and his friends to a parking lot.

According to police, someone in the group stabbed the victim, while the others allegedly repeatedly punched and kicked him in the head. While the victim was lying on the ground, another man allegedly slammed a large boulder on him.

The victim was rushed to hospital with life-threatening injuries.

Police are investigating the incident as an attempted murder and have released surveillance images of the suspects.




Anyone with information is asked to contact police at 416-808-5300 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-TIPS (8477).

Verdict in trial of U of T student: guilty of assault causing bodily harm, not guilty of sexual assault

Samuel Marrello convicted in crime against fellow U of T student

Verdict in trial of U of T student: guilty of assault causing bodily harm, not guilty of sexual assault

Content warning: descriptions of sexual violence.

U of T student Samuel Marrello has been found guilty of assault causing bodily harm against a female U of T student, but not guilty of the more serious charge of sexual assault.

Marrello was charged in connection with an incident that took place on the night of April 1, 2017 near UTSG. The verdict of the months-long trial was delivered on September 25.

The complainant, who cannot be named due to a publication ban protecting her identity, alleged that Marrello hit her and sexually assaulted her while she was intermittently blacked out from intoxication and could not consent to sex.

The complainant used ‘blacked out’ to refer to a lack of memory but not necessarily a lack of consciousness.

Justice C. Ann Nelson ruled that Marrello was not guilty of sexual assault because there is a reasonable doubt about whether the complainant did not consent to it.

However, the sexual activity that they engaged in was rough sex that was found to have caused extensive bruising to the complainant, and Nelson found that Marrello “was reckless when he applied physical force towards [the complainant] not caring whether she consented or not.”

The complainant and Marrello had met when they went on a date in 2016 but had not remained in touch afterward. On the night of April 1, 2017, they both separately went to Einstein’s bar near UTSG and happened to meet again. They spent several hours together at the bar, and during that time, they both became intoxicated.

It was after they left the bar and went to the complainant’s apartment that the assault took place.

Charge of sexual assault

A large portion of the trial centred on the fact that, due to her intoxication, the complainant was unable to remember much of the time when the assault and alleged sexual assault occurred.

“I am of the view that [the complainant] tried to be an honest witness,” wrote Nelson. “Her state of intoxication on the night in question, however, interfered with her ability to accurately recall events.”

However, the complainant testified that she did have some flashes of memory, including that she remembered feeling blunt forces on her body, and feeling as if she was being physically manipulated.

The complainant testified that she was “jolted back to her senses” when Marrello allegedly asked if he could take off his condom, to which she claimed to respond: “I can’t consent to this. I am too drunk.” Marrello confirmed that she said this, but said that she had done so suddenly. They both testified that he immediately stopped and left at her request.

In her decision, Nelson wrote that, “While [the complainant] suffered from significant effects of alcohol consumption during her sexual interaction with Mr. Marrello, I am not satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that she was so intoxicated that she lacked capacity to consent to that activity.”

This was based on, among other things, Marrello’s testimony that the complainant was a conscious and active participant during sexual activity, and it was possible that she consented but could not remember.

However, Nelson added, “A final note: A reasonable doubt as to an absence of consent is not an affirmative finding that [the complainant] consented to sexual activity in the bedroom.”

Charge of assault causing bodily harm

The morning after the assault, the complainant woke up to find extensive bruises on her face, neck, collarbone, inner thighs, and legs.

Nelson questioned whether the complainant’s lack of consent to hitting also meant that she had revoked her consent to sexual activity.

The judge ruled that since it was previously established that the complainant may have consented to sexual activity, finding Marrello guilty of assault causing bodily harm did not mean that he was guilty of sexual assault.

Marrello’s defence on this was his claim that he and the complainant had discussed their preferences for rough sex on the walk to her apartment.

Nelson said that was “implausible” because the complainant had testified that she did not have that preference; only Marrello “admitted that he [had] a preference for rough sex.”

Furthermore, while Marrello did admit to gently slapping the complainant on the face twice, which he claimed to do so at her request, that did not explain why there were bruises elsewhere on her body.

As such, based on, among other things, the complainant’s memory of being hit, her lack of preference for rough sex, and the bruises on her body, Nelson ruled that Marrello was guilty of assault causing bodily harm.

The court will reconvene on October 4 to decide on a date for sentencing.

If you or someone you know has been affected by sexual violence, you can call:

  • Assaulted Women’s Helpline at 1-866-863-0511 (Toll Free), 1-866-863-7868 (TTY), and 416-863-0511 (Toronto)
  • Support Services for Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse at 1-866-887-0015
  • Toronto Rape Crisis Centre: Multicultural Women Against Rape at 416-597-8808
  • Good2Talk Student Helpline at 1-866-925-5454
  • Gerstein Crisis Centre Crisis Line at 416-929-5200
  • U of T Health & Wellness Centre at 416-978-8030.

The Varsity has reached out to the defence and the complainant for comment.

Crown prosecutors declined a request for comment.

Man wanted after sexual assault at Madison Avenue Pub

18-year-old woman assaulted on patio

Man wanted after sexual assault at Madison Avenue Pub

Toronto Police are asking for the public’s help in identifying a man accused of sexually assaulting a woman at Madison Avenue Pub. The assault occurred at approximately 2:00 am on May 19. Pictures of the suspect have been released.

The man is described as being around 21–25 years old, between five feet 10 inches and five feet 11 inches, with a fit build.

Madison Avenue Pub is a popular spot among students located near Spadina Avenue and Bloor Street West.

Anyone with information is asked to contact police at 416-808-7474, Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-TIPS (8477), or online at

$600 missing from Undergraduate Earth Sciences Association locker

Campus Police investigating disappearance

$600 missing from Undergraduate Earth Sciences Association locker

Around $600 in cash was reported missing from the Undergraduate Earth Sciences Association (UESA) on January 17. The disappearance was reported to Campus Police, who are currently investigating the incident. 

According to a source with knowledge of the matter, only the 10 UESA executives have access to the locker where the money was held. The funds were last seen by UESA President Aldo Fusciardi on January 15, and they were discovered to be missing by Vice-President Shantel Turna on January 17. Fusciardi resigned from his post on February 3.

The incident has reportedly not been mentioned in UESA meetings since the disappearance. According to the source, it is very hard for students to accuse anyone of theft due to the close-knit nature of the Earth Sciences Department.

The money taken was likely the whole of the profits the association had made since its last deposit, according to the source, and would have likely gone toward hosting events for the department’s undergraduate students.

The disappearance of the funds occurred days after the resignation of UESA Treasurer Michael Neinhuis, who reportedly left a note in the locker announcing his departure. The Varsity is not aware of any evidence to suggest that Neinhuis is responsible for the disappearance of the funds. 

U of T spokesperson Althea Blackburn-Evans said that Campus Police aren’t able to share any further details about the ongoing investigation.

As of press time, there were no updates as to the disappearance of the funds. Fusciardi and Neinhuis did not respond to The Varsity’s requests for comment.

Editor’s Note (February 8): This article has been updated to clarify that The Varsity is not aware of any evidence to suggest that UESA Michael Neinhuis is responsible for the disappearance of the funds. 

Suspect wanted in break-and-enter case at UTSG

Surveillance video and photos released to the public

Suspect wanted in break-and-enter case at UTSG

The Toronto Police Services and U of T Campus Police are asking for the public’s help identifying a man wanted for an ongoing break-and-enter investigation near the intersection of Spadina Avenue and Sussex Avenue.

A man was reported to have broken into Daniels Studio Commons in the early morning of July 26 and stolen two LED televisions. The Daniels Studio Commons, located on 665 Spadina Avenue, functions as a workspace for undergraduate architecture students.



The suspect was captured on security cameras wandering the building attempting to cover his face while searching for items of value. The man is described as having a thin build; medium, brown hair; and appears to be in his in his 30s. He was wearing a black T-shirt with a grey hat.

Anyone with information is asked to contact police or Crime Stoppers.

Campus police reports show crime decrease at UTM, UTSC

Little change in crime reports at UTSG

Campus police reports show crime decrease at UTM, UTSC

Campus Police from all three campuses have released their annual reports for 2015. Compared to 2014, crime occurrences have dropped 20–30 per cent at UTM and UTSC; numbers remain steady at UTSG.

Property crime, which makes up the majority of reported crimes, has largely decreased. Sexual assault reports remain low: two at UTSG and one at UTSC.

The statistics do not reflect theft that was not reported or reported to other authorities.

Decline in reports of property crime

At UTSG, property crime accounts for approximately 85 per cent of reported crimes. The biggest contributor is theft of student property worth less than $5,000. This accounts for about half of reported property crimes and has minimal change in frequency since the 2014 report. Damage to university property is the second most reported property crime.

Property crime is also the most reported crime at UTM and UTSC, although their annual reports show significant decreases from 2014. At UTM specifically, there was a 30.25 per cent decrease in reports of theft under $5,000, which contributed to an overall drop in crime by 30.41 per cent. Instances of mischief or damage to property remained mostly unchanged at the campuses.

The reports do not show how many of these crimes are resolved. UTSG is the only campus to release the number of arrests made in the annual report; details of recovered property is not included.

The reports also emphasize crime prevention with a focus on policies like the ‘Stop Campus Theft’ campaign.

Community policing model

When asked about the disparity between campuses, Althea Blackburn-Evans, Director of News & Media Relations, stressed that crime occurrences at UTSG are relatively low compared to the population. She added that the location within downtown Toronto places it in a unique context.

UTM has also hired a patrolling team recently, which means the addition of “six new building patrollers and two new constables” to ensure an increased “presence of campus police officers,” according to Blackburn-Evans.

UTSC implemented two strategies that have proved to be successful: the officers are actively taking part in the community by hosting events like pancake breakfasts and movie nights; and the campus created a more extensive awareness campaign at the library, in the hopes of preventing theft.

Multiple theft rings have successfully been shut down at UTSC and UTSG. These rings were targeting libraries and bikes.

Althea Blackburn-Evans also told The Varsity that campus police will be “very focused on awareness, mostly among students and mostly in library settings.” Their aim is to reinforce the safety of the students and the presence of the campus police, Blackburn-Evans said.