Photo | Hana Nikčević
A look at VUSAC Equity Commission’s upcoming programming
This past week, new signs were put up in the Goldring Student Centre marking washrooms as gender neutral. This came after a push from the University to make campus a more accessible space for queer, trans* and gender nonconforming students.
Equity focused advocacy organizations at the University of Toronto work hard to create resources and opportunities for marginalized students. The VUSAC Equity Commission, under leadership of elected VUSAC Equity commissioner, Shailee Koranne and appointed Equity co-chair, Apefa Adjivon, is one of the many student groups focused on this.
At the first Equity Commission meeting, Koranne described getting gender neutral washroom signage at Goldring Student Centre as the first major project for the commission. The structure of events will come from commission members, which represent a broad cross section of Victoria College’s population. The agency given to commission members means that, throughout the year, we will see events developed and put into practice by multiple parties.
In terms of already planned events, the commission has been running bi-weekly Doc N’ Talk’ sessions. This programming includes a documentary film showing in the Cat’s Eye, and a facilitated discussion about the content at its conclusion. One aim of the Equity Commission is to partner with other organizations on campus to create a network of communication between equity minded students. The first Doc & Talk event was focused on human trafficking in the Middle East, and was jointly run with the Muslim Students Association at the University of Toronto. On October 4th, the Equity Commission also organized a Moon Festival celebration with tea, mooncakes, and resources for education on the festival.
Moving into October, the commission will be facilitating events throughout the month as part of an Anti-Cultural Appropriation Campaign. This includes staggered screenings of Netflix’s Dear White People, which focuses on a group of students of colour in a predominately white University. The aim of this campaign, as stated by Koranne, is to “create dialogue about why cultural appropriation is harmful and violent.”
Another focus for the upcoming year is providing equity training for student leaders at Victoria College. In the upcoming months, an external equity educator will be conducting multiple sessions for members of VUSAC, and executive members of Victoria College clubs and levies. The aim of this programming is to foster critical thinking on the way that Vic, as a whole, can create a more welcoming environment for marginalized students.
More information on the Equity Commission can be found at the VUSAC Equity Commission Facebook page. In addition to the ones located in Goldring Student Centre, a map of gender neutral washrooms on campus can be found on the Centre for Women and Trans People on the University of Toronto website.