Opinion: The Ryerson-RSU split undermines student union autonomy, faith in institutions

Unions should be reformed by the students, not universities

Opinion: The Ryerson-RSU split undermines student union autonomy, faith in institutions

In light of Ryerson University’s split with the Ryerson Student Union (RSU) late last month over their mismanagement of funds over the past two years, it’s natural that some people may begin to doubt the ability of student unions to advocate for student rights.

When student representatives spend an alleged $250,000 in student funds on things like drinks at the Rec Room, even the most indifferent students will start to take notice of what that may mean for their wallets. It’s not just Ryerson students that should be concerned; other universities, like our own, can learn from the fallout between Ryerson and the RSU. Universities should have a vested interest in maintaining accountability within their own student unions, should learn from Ryerson’s actions, and recognize that reformation is a preferable choice to cutting ties.

The act of splitting from the RSU inevitably has certain implications for Ryerson University as well. After all, I personally didn’t pay much attention to the difference between the union and the university and I don’t think the average student does either. Perhaps that conflation is justified; unions do have a large impact on campus atmosphere and environment, which is a considerable factor when deciding where to continue your education.

If both of these bodies are connected — at least in the minds of their clients — then the university should want to keep student unions accountable.

Ultimately, there are a number of ways in which the actions of a student union represents its university to students and the rest of the world. Student unions are partially funded by student fees, but in the eyes of a student, these fees often become just another cost of university, lumped together with all the others. As a result, student unions don’t just harm their own reputation when they mismanage funds, they also harm that of their university.

When dealing with mismanaged student unions, the rationale of a prospective student may be that a different school will provide a better experience — one without any concerns of financial foul play.

This is one of the possible reasons for why Ryerson University terminated its agreement with the RSU. The decision was framed as a response to the university’s “‘lost confidence’ in the RSU’s ability to serve and represent students.” In other words, it was an attempt to punish and hold the union accountable for its actions in an admittedly drastic way.

However, the incentive that prompts universities to interfere in the first place is also the very reason they should attempt to improve student unions and not dismantle them: reputation. Student unions offer a range of different services that aim to make campus life more enjoyable for students, and are often important in making people feel safe and comfortable on campus, which can be a deciding factor when choosing a school.

How those services are provided without student unions is unclear.

Case in point, Ryerson University didn’t mention what would happen to the seven Equity Service Centres that the RSU provides on campus. The university did, however, mention that it will continue to offer these vital programs to students, though, it has yet to actually provide an outline for this.

Ryerson has encouraged students to create a new student union, but building all of the infrastructure from scratch seems like a significantly harder task than trying to fix the current one.

Whether these arguments would hold up if this were to happen at U of T is questionable. The issue becomes a lot more personal when it’s your own funds being mismanaged, and your own rights being misrepresented. I’m sure my sense of disappointment, betrayal, and resentment would be considerably stronger if the University of Toronto Students’ Union (UTSU) was under fire.

That being said, I’m still not sure if I would agree with a stance of disbandment. Despite scandals and issues, student unions are still there to represent student rights and act as a proper counterbalance to the university.

In fact, we can compare this situation to the Sandra Hudson lawsuit that spanned from 2015–2018. Hudson, alongside two other UTSU executives were accused of civil fraud when Hudson was fired from the union by those two other executives, and parted from the union with a $277,726.40 severance package. The union responded with a lawsuit that was ultimately settled in court, and released the 2017–2018 financial audit as planned, maintaining the level of transparency that they claim to value.

If the university had felt that the UTSU couldn’t reform or handle its own problems, then I would’ve expected them to act. But in this case, any interference would’ve been misguided given the controversial nature of the lawsuit and the fact that there were already other student bodies, like the The Varsity‘s coverage, paying attention to the union’s actions. The university didn’t take any drastic action in favour of, or against the union, but the situation still resolved itself and as such, the union is free to keep on providing services and reforming in whatever way that it deems fit.

Ryerson’s choice to cut off its student union seems abrupt since there were other easier and more logical ways the situation could have been handled to hold the RSU accountable. Forcing a student union to offer forensic audits and implement reforms is the system by which we expect autonomous bodies to keep each other accountable — what we don’t expect is for them to get rid of opposing bodies they don’t like.

Marta Anielska is a first year Social Sciences student at University College.

UTSU severs ties with Ryerson Students’ Union, strengthens ties with Black students

New vice-president position created, to be approved at Special General Meeting

UTSU severs ties with Ryerson Students’ Union, strengthens ties with Black students

At the University of Toronto Students’ Union’s (UTSU) January Board of Directors meeting, committee members and directors passed a motion to effectively end relations with the Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU), collaborate more closely with the Black Students’ Association (BSA) in the run up to Black History Month, and minted a new executive vice-president position that will combine the external affairs and university affairs portfolios. The new position will be brought to next month’s Special General Meeting (SGM) for final approval.

Much ado about RSU

Recent events at the RSU have prompted the UTSU to adopt a new resolution outlining which external organizations it will work with moving forward. Passed unanimously, this resolution commits the UTSU to cease collaboration with organizations that fail to meet the standards and values set out in the UTSU’s Board of Directors Code of Conduct and Anti-Harassment Policy. The Executive Committee and Board of Directors will continually evaluate their relationships with external partners on a rolling basis, so that members can address issues as they arise.

Ryerson University recently announced that the RSU will no longer be recognized as an official form of student government following its failure to address accusations of financial mismanagement. The Eyeopener reported last January that over $250,000 in expenditures were charged to RSU credit cards, with payments being made to nightclubs and bars.

The resolution holds that “recent events at the Ryerson Students’ Union have raised serious concerns around the harmful work environment perpetuated by its Executive officers,” in reference to accusations of discriminatory behaviour among the executives.

UTSU President Joshua Bowman commented that while this derecognition of the RSU is a good step from an oversight perspective, it is still a loss for student unions across the country. However, he rejected the assertion that Ryerson’s decision is counter to the principles of student democracy, highlighting over 1,000 student voices that called for change within the RSU in an online petition.

UTSU and Black community collaboration, funds allocation

The UTSU unanimously passed a memorandum of agreement with the BSA in a move that the BSA’s President Anyika Mark called “history in the making.” Per the agreement, the UTSU will allocate $15,000 to the BSA, waiving the $9,000 maximum for clubs funding.

In addition to the funding increase, the memorandum of agreement will strengthen ties between the UTSU and BSA by ramping up their project partnership throughout the year. In order to “foster collaboration and community building,” the UTSU and BSA will cooperatively organize at least one event per year.

The UTSU will also seek the opinion of the BSA on equity-related matters. The Executive Committee of the UTSU will meet with the BSA at least once per semester, and it will reflect at the end of each term on the UTSU’s progress concerning “allyship, collaboration, resources, and equitable services.”

The BSA has been granted a seat on the UTSU’s Clubs Committee and Equity & Accessibility Committee in the capacity of “Community Member.” The Equity & Accessibility Committee includes the Indigenous Students’ Collective and Queer Students’ Collective, among others. The BSA will be one of three community members to also take part in the committee. The Clubs Committee is made up of executive committee members, directors, and community members — of which the BSA will be one of four.

Vice-President position decision

The UTSU has moved to combine the Vice-President, University Affairs and Vice-President, External Affairs portfolios in order to create a new position: Vice-President, Public and University Affairs.

The impetus behind this motion is that “the roles of Vice-President, University Affairs and Vice-President, External Affairs share a significant overlap in duties and responsibilities” and “[deal] with issues that can complement [each others’] work.”

In view of the fact that the Vice-President, University Affairs and Vice-President, External Affairs are both part-time positions, the UTSU has put this proposal forward claiming its “need for a dedicated full-time Vice-President in order to better represent students in lobbying efforts and other forms of advocacy.”

The motion passed unanimously, but will be subject to approval at the SGM, set to be held on February 12 at 5:00 pm at the George Ignatieff Theatre. If passed, these amendments will take effect after May 1. This will avoid removing Lucas Granger and Avani Singh from office, the current Vice-President, External Affairs and Vice-President, University Affairs, respectively.

If this new position is approved, next year’s Executive Committee will be limited to six executives, rather than the current seven positions.

The UTSU attempted to combine executive positions in September 2017, when the resignation of then Vice-President, University Affairs Carina Zhang prompted discussion on merging the university affairs and external affairs portfolios into a new Vice-President, Advocacy role. However, fierce opposition from directors, executives, and general members caused the motion to fail at the 2017 Annual General Meeting.

Women’s hockey defeat Ryerson, men lose overtime affair against Western

Both teams gave up two-goal leads, but women held off Ryerson’s momentum

Women’s hockey defeat Ryerson, men lose overtime affair against Western

Women’s game

The Varsity Blues women’s team won in a high-scoring affair against the Ryerson University Rams this Thursday with an early 11:00 am start time.

Toronto opened the scoring with a little over six minutes left in the first period, after captain Stephanie Ayres was tied up in the faceoff circle. They managed to regain possession, deke past the Ryerson defender, and backhand it into the back of the net. Shortly after, Taylor Trussler picked the pocket of the Ryerson defender attempting to break out of the zone, skated to the high slot, and let go a shot that would deflect off the pants of Cristine Chao for the 2–0 goal.

However, Ryerson would respond with two quick goals of their own. The first was a powerplay goal from Lauren Nicholson, and soon after, Nicholson found herself alone on a breakaway, and made a nice forehand-to-backhand move to put it past Blues goalie Erica Fryer.

Toronto stayed composed, and after a great forecheck to keep the puck in the Ryerson zone, they were able to create a chance in front of the net, which was put home after Laura Ellis shot a puck that trickled past the Rams’ goalie. The Blues’ excellent forechecking would pay off again, as Gabrielle De Serres created a turnover right in front of the Rams’ net and found her sister Mathilde De Serres, who sniped it into the back of the net to give Toronto another two-goal lead.

Keeping their momentum going in the third period, Toronto scored just eight seconds in, with Ayres scoring her second goal of the game. Ryerson wasn’t ready to give up, and only a few minutes later they were able to score off a rather innocent-looking shot that was tipped in front of the net.

Afterward, Nicholson again found herself with tons of space in front of the net and put it past Fryer to cut Toronto’s lead to just one and give herself the hat trick.

However, Ryerson was not able to channel this momentum into another goal, and the De Serres sisters scored Toronto’s final goal, with Gabrielle making some nice moves to get the puck on net, and Mathilde picking up the rebound, giving her sister a no-look pass to ice the game for the Blues.

Toronto’s next home game will be against Western on Friday, January 31 at 7:00 pm.


Men’s game

The Varsity Blues men’s hockey team lost in a 3–2 decision in overtime on Wednesday to the University of Western Ontario Western Mustangs.

The Blues opened up the scoring when a turnover from the Western defense found the stick of Kevin Lavoie behind the net, who then passed to Ross Krieger for the 1–0 goal at the 9:55-minute mark of the first period.

Early in the second period, the Blues’ leading point-getter David Thomson had control of the puck at the half-wall of the Mustangs’ zone. He made an excellent stretch pass across the ice to find Oliver Benwell in the slot, who made a quick move and sniped the puck bottom corner to give the Blues a 2–0 lead.

The Blues would go into the third period with the lead, with goaltender Alex Bishop making some key saves to keep the Blues up a pair. However, the Blues were much less fortunate in the third period.

Midway through the frame, the Mustangs were able to create a great chance with three men entering the zone. The initial cross-ice one-timer was saved by Bishop, but Toronto’s back checkers were not able to get back in time to prevent Western’s Kenny Huether from tapping in the rebound.

Then, in the dying seconds of the period, and with their goalie pulled, Western created a scramble in front of the net. The Blues were unable to cover it or clear the puck out of the crease, as Stephen Desrocher tied the game with just eight seconds remaining.

Western carried this momentum into overtime, with Franco Sproviero ripping a shot from the high slot into the back of the net to give Western the come-from-behind victory. Alex Bishop made 37 saves, but it was ultimately not enough to prevent the Mustangs’ onslaught in the third period and overtime.

The Blues’ next home game will be against the University of Windsor Lancers on Saturday, February 1 at 7:00 pm.

The Breakdown: Victoria College renames “Ryerson Stream” to “Education Stream”

Changes made following criticisms over Ryerson’s involvement in the residential school system

The Breakdown: Victoria College renames “Ryerson Stream” to “Education Stream”

The Vic One Education Stream was, until 2019, named after Egerton Ryerson. It was changed last summer after Victoria College students protested the name due to Ryerson’s involvement in the creation of the residential school system.

Ryerson, a prominent nineteenth-century Methodist minister, had been honoured by Victoria College for his role in establishing the college and the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, as well as a free and compulsory public education system in Canada.

Ryerson also created blueprints for the residential school system, which forcefully relocated an estimated 150,000 Indigenous children between 1880 and 1996, with the purpose of assimilating them into Euro-Canadian culture.

Students were isolated from their culture and community, and many experienced physical and sexual abuse. As a result, intergenerational trauma continues to negatively and severely impact Indigenous communities. In 2015, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission concluded that this policy amounted to “cultural genocide.”

This legacy is what inspired last year’s Victoria University Students’ Administrative Council (VUSAC) to call on Victoria University’s Board of Regents to rename the Ryerson Stream. Its report on the matter stated that, “The man [Ryerson] was has no place being celebrated in this age of truth and reconciliation.”

The decision to rename passed with little fanfare by the board before the beginning of the academic year.

Why rename?

Ira Wells, Victoria College’s Academic Programs Director, wrote to The Varsity about renaming, noting that staff at Victoria had been “considering the appropriateness of the name of the Vic One Ryerson stream for some time,” and that they welcomed VUSAC’s report. He expressed that the renaming was “one part of a larger conversation that will continue for some time” between Indigenous communities and Victoria University.

Vibhuti Kacholia, Vice-President External of VUSAC, echoed this sentiment, saying that the union is looking into “other initiatives that we can put into play that are [going to] make Victoria University a better space for Indigenous people.”

Kacholia ultimately thinks renaming is important because “language is very powerful in the way that we not only have our institutions here but… students who are coming into our campus and their impressions of it and their feeling of comfort and home… are tied to the language that we use here.”

Jonathan Hamilton-Diabo, Special Advisor to the President of Victoria University on Indigenous issues and a member of the Kahnawà:ke community, said that these discussions serve to “[get] people thinking about the [issues around reconciliation].”

“This is not about blame anymore… There’s no one here alive who [is] part of [that history], but… they’re part of this institution. They’re part of the structure. And so it’s to say, ‘okay, we’re here today as this group. How do we recognize what’s happened, and then how do we move to… open up the spaces?’”

Hamilton-Diabo called the relationship between Ryerson and Indigenous peoples “complicated.”

Ryerson’s recommendations of segregated, religious, and industry-based boarding schools for Indigenous populations did, in large part, shape the residential school system. However, he also spent some time with the Ojibwa people at Credit River as a minister, where he befriended Kahkewaquonaby, a chief of the Credit River Mississaugas otherwise known as Peter Jones. Jones also supported a schooling system similar to the one that Ryerson advocated for, though one that was on “native… controlled terms,” according to Hamilton-Diabo.

He argued that at times, historical figures are thought of as “heroes and villains,” which reduces the complexity of historical relations. Renamings, he thinks, should not be done automatically, but should be undertaken through consultation with and for the benefit of Indigenous communities.

Ryerson’s support for the residential school system was not the only reason for the switch. Wells wrote that his name had been problematic during recruitment events, like the Ontario Universities Fair, since prospective students would mistakenly assume that the stream was affiliated with Ryerson University.

Why “Education Stream”?

According to Wells, the name “Education Stream” was chosen because it “most closely captures the academic purpose of the stream.”

This choice is contrary to the original name suggestion provided by VUSAC’s report.

VUSAC hoped to name the stream after Cindy Blackstock, a notable Indigenous and children’s rights activist who earned her doctorate at U of T, and has been described by The Globe and Mail as “Canada’s ‘relentless moral voice’ for First Nations equality.” Excluding the Education Stream, five of seven Vic One streams are named after white men, with no racialized or Indigenous members.

Though the name was potentially a placeholder at the beginning of the year, pending further discussions with the board, Alexa Ballis, President of VUSAC, wrote to The Varsity that the college has no intention of changing the stream name from “Education.”

Kacholia noted that VUSAC was not made aware of the decision to rename the stream, and continued by saying that “[the board] would have loved to be consulted in that process.”

Criticisms surrounding the renaming

Recent scrutiny over statues, institutions, and plaques honouring contentious historical figures garnered some pushback. Critics say that renamings constitute “historical revisionism,” which oversimplifies the complicated morality of Canada’s historical figures.

Kacholia said that VUSAC has “definitely [seen] a critique [that the renaming is] somewhat erasing history and embracing the legacy that Ryerson has here,” but remarked that “Ryerson is not forgotten in… the Vic One stream.”

Ballis hopes to add a description of Ryerson’s legacy on the Vic One website, and ensure that there are discussions in the Education Stream’s classroom surrounding its previous namesake.

An explanation about the stream name is not present on Victoria College’s website as of time of publication, and VUSAC does not yet know if these discussions have been implemented for this year’s cohort.

Moving forward

Kacholia stressed that VUSAC sees the renaming as a starting point for reconciliation. According to her, the union hopes to return to the report and avoid putting “the settler narrative onto whatever we think is best for the university because as settlers, we don’t really know what that is.”

A main priority going forward will be on consultations with Indigenous groups and the general student population through a consultation form. The consultation form has seen 187 responses, according to Ballis, who also provided The Varsity with some sample responses, which have been supportive of VUSAC’s report.

Kacholia said that she’d like to bring an updated report to the Board of Regents by the end of the year.

Reflecting on reconciliation efforts at U of T, Hamilton-Diabo said that he has seen improvements in relations with Indigenous communities. He added that, “It’s just become a wider discussion… [people] are now paying attention to it and wanting to engage in figuring [out] how to do this.”

“Reconciliation’s not a feel-good project. It’s not meant to make people feel good,” Hamilton-Diabo said. “It’s actually about understanding the stories and how Indigenous people… have come to a particular place collectively.”

Blues win high scoring affair against downtown rivals

Nathan Hodgin scores overtime goal as Toronto outlasts Ryerson

Blues win high scoring affair against downtown rivals

The University of Toronto Varsity Blues men’s hockey team defeated their most fierce rival this Saturday in a thrilling fast-paced matchup. This win gave the Blues a 3–2 record, and vaulted them a point above Ryerson University in the Ontario University Athletics standings early in the season. 

Early in the first period, forward Oliver Benwell made a cross-ice pass to Toronto’s leading scorer David Thompson and one-timed the puck past Ryerson goalie Troy Timpano for an early 1–0 lead. The play got physical fast, and after a scrum in front of the net, Toronto forward Scott Kirton, and Ryerson’s Holden Cook were assessed offsetting roughing penalties, while Blues defenseman Riley Bruce was given an extra slashing penalty.

Though Toronto was able to kill off the Ryerson powerplay, Ryerson got a quick goal shortly after, as a shot from Cavin Leth was tipped in by forward Marcus Hinds. After Ryerson’s Matt Mistele was given a minor penalty, Toronto struck right back when a point shot from Toronto defenceman Evan MacEachern soared over the glove of Timpano to give Toronto a 2–1 lead. However, Toronto was unable to stay disciplined, as penalties from Riley Bruce and Scott Kirton gave Ryerson a 28-second five-on-three, which was all the time they needed to score the equalizer before the end of the first period.

In the second period, Kirton almost had a chance at redemption, stealing the puck from Ryerson defender Jered Walsh on the blue line to give himself a breakaway, but was ultimately unable to capitalize on it. Toronto was able to break the tie when Nathan Hudgin made a cross-ice pass right in front of the Ryerson net and gave Thompson an easy tap-in for his second goal of the game.

After a scramble in front of the Toronto net, Ryerson was able to put up another equalizer when Blues goalie Alex Bishop seemed to think it was kicked in, but after discussion between the referees it was ruled a goal. Toward the end of the period, Blues forward Kyle Potts used his size and speed to beat the Rams’ defenseman and tuck it in the net, regaining the lead.

In the third period, Ryerson was once again able to tie up the game, with a deflection in front of the net by forward David Miller. The Blues answered back with another goal of their own, with forward Hunter Atchison making a crisp cross-ice pass to Nathan Hudgin, who sniped it past Timpano for the go-ahead goal. Ryerson was able to get one more goal — a rebound shot in by forward Mathew Santos — to force overtime.

As is typically the case in three-on-three overtime, the play was very fast paced, with odd-man rushes going back and forth, and chances happening at each end. The Blues broke the deadlock when Hudgin made a backhand pass to defenseman Brendan Bornstein. Bornstein made a beautiful spinning backhand give-and-go pass back to Hudgin, who then corralled the puck with his skate and shot it past Timpano for the winning goal.

Thompson and Hudgin each had two goals, while forward Joey Manchurek quietly tallied three assists, and goalie Alex Bishop made 31 saves for the win. Toronto’s next home game will be on November 2, when they take on Laurentian University.

Varsity Blues Men’s Soccer vs. Ryerson University

Varsity Blues Women’s Soccer vs. Ryerson University

Renaming Ryerson is a starting point for reconciliation

Why students and administration should support VUSAC’s proposal

Renaming Ryerson is a starting point for reconciliation

On February 4, the Victoria University Students’ Administrative Council (VUSAC) released a proposal to rename the Ryerson Vic One course stream and Ryerson House residence building. The VUSAC proposal echoes Ryerson University’s Indigenous Students’ Association and the Ryerson Students’ Union’s petition to rename Ryerson University in 2017.

These facilities are all named after Egerton Ryerson, who is known for being a proponent of the education system in Canada. However, he also believed in separate, religious education for Indigenous children and became a key figure in the design and implementation of residential schools.

Residential schools subjected generations of Indigenous peoples to cultural genocide, abuse, and trauma at the hands of the Canadian government and churches. Given Ryerson’s complicity, students and the Victoria University administration should therefore support the renaming proposal in the context of Canada’s commitment to truth and reconciliation.

This question of whether historical figures who have contributed to violence against Indigenous peoples should still be honoured by the streets, buildings, and institutions that bear their names is a hotly contested one. The debate has gained more traction since the celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday in 2017.

For instance, a motion to discuss changing the names of public schools and buildings named after John A. Macdonald passed at a meeting of the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO). The motion cites the name as a contributing factor to an unsafe learning environment for children, as Macdonald contributed to the forced starvation and assimilation of Indigenous peoples, with the goal of “tak[ing] the Indian out of the child.”

Some argue that the push to rename buildings shows a lack of understanding for historical context, maintaining that important figures in Canadian history should not be held to today’s moral standards. But as Indigenous writer Chelsea Vowel points out, to view the mistreatment of Indigenous peoples through a historical lens is really to view it through “a whites-only 19th century perspective.” Indigenous peoples in both the past and the present morally opposed the actions of figures like Macdonald.

In a similar debate concerning renaming schools and parks named for Frank Oliver — a nineteenth century politician known for anti-Indigenous and anti-Black racism — Edmonton Journal columnist Paula Simons argues that, if only perfect people are memorialized, “we soon won’t have anyone to remember at all.”

This concern is misplaced. The movement to remove Oliver, Macdonald, and Ryerson’s names isn’t related to whether they were perfect people in their lives, but rather how their words and actions continue to shape Canada today. The decision to remove a racist historical figure’s name from a building isn’t a process of completing a comprehensive evaluation of that person’s character, argues Regina Rini, an assistant professor of ethics at New York University. Rather, it is a process of asking whether the values that person represents are worth passing on to future generations.

Simons further voices the concern that renaming monuments and buildings is an attempt to erase a colonial past, rather than acknowledge it. However, while we should remember Ryerson’s part in laying the foundation for residential schools, there are still ways to acknowledge his role without having a building or course named after him. For example, organizations on campus like the U of T Indigenous Studies Students’ Union host events for Orange Shirt Day every year as a commitment to remembering the violence of residential schools.

It is paramount that we recognize that Canada was built on, and continues to perpetrate, anti-Indigenous violence. However, buildings are named for those we respect, admire, and hope to be inspired by — not simply people we wish to remember for good or for bad. Keeping Ryerson’s name on U of T buildings and courses not only ensures that he is remembered, but also that he is respected.

It is important that we stop honouring anti-Indigenous figures in this way. But it is only a first step — the easy work, as some historians have described. In response to the ETFO motion concerning schools named after Macdonald, Indigenous entrepreneur Robert Jago wrote in The Globe and Mail that “reconciliation is not about earnest and well-meaning non-natives beating the drum for the one and only Indigenous issue that’s made it through to their political consciousness.”

Students should support VUSAC’s proposal, but we should be wary of focusing solely on this issue. Reconciliation requires, and deserves, hard work as well. Non-Indigenous students, like me, should also support funding for more Indigenous spaces on campus, hiring more Indigenous professors, pushing for Indigenous teaching to be offered in more disciplines, and most importantly, listening to Indigenous students, staff, and faculty.

Renaming buildings does not absolve Canada’s collective guilt, nor should it be supported as a way to make us more comfortable with our history. Instead, we should reflect carefully on the historical figures who we choose to revere and on the impact of their legacies. We can’t erase history, and we shouldn’t attempt to, but we can hope for positive change in the present.

Amelia Eaton is a second-year Political Science and Ethics, Society and Law student at Woodsworth College. She is The Varsity’s Student Life Columnist.