** WEEKLY NEWSLETTER [November 13th- November 17th] ------------------------------------------------------------ ============================================================ ** (http://www.twitter.com/sbacentre ) ** (http://www.facebook.com) ** (uoftsba.com) Announcement 1) Today is Trans Day of Resilience! 2) Change in office hours for November 3) SBA University-Mandated Leave of Absence Policy Petition Update Upcoming SBA Events 4) SBA Trans day of Resilience 5) Colour Between the Lines: BIPOC Book Group 6) SBA Advocacy Committee Meeting 7) Hot Chocolate and Chill! A QT2SBIPOC Social Upcoming Community Events 8) TRANS MATTERS: Interdisciplinary Trans Studies Conference -call for papers- DEADLINE EXTENDED NOVEMBER 24TH 9) Indigenous Studies for Lunchtime Film Screenings 10) First in the Family Peer – Mentor Program, Career Exploration & Education, and Community of Support Program, MD Program, Faculty of Medicine invite you to “Finding Research & Internship Opportunities" 11) Annual Tri-campus First Generation Trailblazers Conference: The Journey 12) JOB POSTING: Graduate Student Research Assistant (GRA): Episodic Disability & Arts Intervention in the Ontario Workplace- DEADLINE DECEMBER 1ST ____________________________________________ 1) Today is Trans Day of Resilience! When taking part in celebrating/ grieving Trans day of resilience/ remembrance today, we urge the cis community to reflect on how you can/have supported trans/non-binary/ Two-Spirited communities members in your lives. Here are some ** resources (http://cwtpyork.ca/cisnormativity/) for the Cis community to check out. We are sending lots of love to all our wonderful Trans, Two-Spirit, Intersex, Non-Binary, Agender, Demigender, Gender Non-conforming, and Gender-Questioning community members. [Image description: Poster with a Turqiouse background, with a large image of two black trans women holding each. The bottom background includes four images of police vehicles. The top reads, "Remeber Trans Power. Fight for Trans Lives."] Poster artist/ source: ** Micah Bazant (https://www.micahbazant.com/remember-trans-power/) ____________________________________________ 2) Change in Office Hours for November Please note the change in SBA office hours for November: Monday-Thursday 1-5 p.m. _____________________________________________ 3) Petition Update: Regarding the Mandated Leave of Absence Policy Thank you to all of our members and to our wider community! We have now received over 425 signatures on our petition! The statement has also been endorsed by the Association of Part-Time Undergraduate Students and the University of Toronto Graduate Student Union. The University has now decided to engage in further consultations with the U of T community before bringing the policy forward for recommendation. They are not, however, revoking the proposed policy. Our work resisting this policy must continue! To find out more and how you can get involved please email Nadia at ** email@example.com (mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org) _____________________________________________ 4) SBA Trans Day of Resilience Join Students for Barrier-free Access (SBA) for Trans day of Resilience event series ** Workshop 1: Astrology 101 (https://www.facebook.com/events/370456603407159/?notif_t=plan_user_invited¬if_id=1510078617088434) Date: Tuesday November 21, 2017 Time: 12:30pm-3:00 p.m. Location: 252 Bloor Street West (OISE) room 5230, 5th floor Come join other BIPOC Trans, Two-Spirit, Intersex, Non-Binary, Agender, Demigender, Gender Non-conforming, and Gender-Questioning people to socialize, eat delicious food and learn about astrology! Facilitated by: Rain Chan This astrology workshop will provide a brief history of astrology, an introduction to the meaning of the twelve signs, as well as the 9 planets of our solar system and how they affect the different aspects of our personality and lives. This workshop is intended to allow participants to be able to understand and read the planets in their own charts. Participants who want to use their own charts for reference during the workshop can have their charts calculated and downloaded from this ** link (https://www.astro.com/cgi/chart.cgi?btyp=w2gw;rs=3;usechpref=1 ) . * You can access free printing service at SBA (215 Huron street room 924) Monday-Thursday 1-5 p.m. * If you have access to eduoram you can bring an electronic device to access your chart or have your chart downloaded on your electronic device prior to the workshop * You can also email your chart information to Siva to have it printed in time for the workshop at email@example.com Closed Event for BIPOC [Black, Indigenous, people of colour] Trans, Two Spirit, Intersex, Non Binary, Agender, Demigender, Gender Non-conforming, and Gender-Questioning folks including other ways in which you may choose to identify your gender. We ask white and/or cisgendered people to respect this closed space and not come. You can show your support by sharing this with your networks. Lunch provided! Vegan, gluten-free options available. ______________________________ ** Workshop 2: Cisnormativity, Accountability and Safer Spaces in Organizing (https://www.facebook.com/events/297516724079298/) [Workshop Description to follow] [POSTPONED UNTIL WINTER TERM] Facilitated by: Makai Livingstone This workshop is open to all! Registration is required. To register please contact Nadia at firstname.lastname@example.org This event is open to all! Light refreshment provided! Vegan, gluten-free options available. ___________________________________________________ Wheelchair accessible. Accessible and all-gender washroom located on the same floor as the event room. If you require ASL interpretation to attend this workshop please contact us by November 14th. Please note that this will be a scent-free space. Please access needs please contact Nadia at email@example.com _____________________________________________ 5) Colour Between the Lines: BIPOC Book Group Hosted by Students for Barrier-free Access Centre and the Community Action Centre Join us for an engaging and thought-provoking discussion of "Dirty River: A Queer Femme of Color Dreaming Her Way Home" by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha A limited number of free copies of the book is available for pick up at either the Community Action Centre (CAC) or Students for Barrier-free Access (SBA). ** Facebook Event Page (https://www.facebook.com/events/1911379695793859/) Date: December, 2017 Time: 5:30pm-7:30pm LOCATION: Community Action Centre, 165B (St. James Campus) George Brown College ** 200 King Street East, Toronto, ON (https://maps.google.com/?q=200+King+Street+East,+Toronto,+ON&entry=gmail&source=g) Questions/Accommodations: ** International@sagbc.ca (mailto:International@sagbc.ca) ----------------------------------------------------------------------- Colour Between the Lines is a BIPOC Book Group centering readings by authors of colour. We enter the discussions from an intersectional, decolonial anti-oppressive framework. We will read from a diverse range of genres including fiction, non-fiction, graphic novels, memoirs, etc. Authors we've read in the past include: bell hooks, Marjane Sartrapi, Audre Lorde. Upcoming authors we will be reading include: Zainab Amadahy, Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, Vivek Shraya, and more. Like & follow ** https://www.facebook.com/communityactioncentre/ (https://www.facebook.com/communityactioncentre/) for event updates + _____________________________________________ 6) SBA Advocacy Committee Meeting Join Students for Barrier-free Access for our next Advocacy Committee Meeting. Learn more about SBA's campaigns (including our campaign against the University-Mandated Leave Policy) and find out how you can get involved! New members are always welcome! Date: Wednesday, November 29, 2017 Time: 3:00pm-5:00pm Location: SBA Centre, 215 Huron Street, Room 924 on the 9th floor Accessible all-gender washroom located on the same floor as the meeting room. Please note that the SBA centre is a scent-free space. Snacks will be provided, including vegan and gluten-free options. Contact Nadia at ** firstname.lastname@example.org (mailto:email@example.com) if you have any questions or concerns. _____________________________________________ 7) Hot Chocolate and Chill! A QT2SBIPOC Social Join Students for Barrier-free Access (SBA) for an end of term social for Queer, Trans and Two-Spirit, Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (QT2SBIPOC). There will hot chocolate! And snacks (including vegan and gluten free options). We will also have activities, including games and colouring. Join us for the treats, stay for the amazing people! Date: Friday December 8 Time: 4:00pm-6:00pm Location: SBA Centre, located at 215 Huron Street in room 924 on the 9th floor Please arrive to the event fragrance fee. Wheelchair accessible. Accessible and all-gender washroom located on the same floor as the event room. ***This is a QT2SBIPOC only space.*** **As always, we appreciate the support we receive from our white allies by respecting this space and by sharing this event information with their networks.** _____________________________________________ 8) TRANS MATTERS: Interdisciplinary Trans Studies Conference -call for papers- - DEADLINE EXTENDED NOVEMBER 24TH Trans Matters: An Interdisciplinary Trans Studies Graduate Student Conference- April 26-27, 2018 Hosted by the Centre for Feminist Research at York University April 26-27, 2018 – Toronto, Canada Website: ** http://cfr.info.yorku.ca/trans-studies-conference-2018/ (http://cfr.info.yorku.ca/trans-studies-conference-2018/) Keynote Speakers: Professor Jin Haritaworn (York University) and TBA The Transgender Rights Bill (C-16), which amends the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code by adding “gender identity or expression” under “prohibited grounds of discrimination,” will soon become law. As a historic undertaking in Canadian legislation, the passing of Bill C-16 indexes how trans matters are becoming increasingly significant in civil discourse and the public imaginary. Yet queer and trans activists and scholars have noted that legal recognition alone does not always guarantee the protection of queer and trans life, particularly for trans black, Indigenous, and people of colour (BIPOC), trans immigrants and refugees, poor and working class trans people, and disabled trans people (Spade 2011; Rodriguez 2014; Haritaworn 2015). For Two-Spirit and Indigenous trans people this is especially true considering the ongoing legacy of the Indian Act, which continues to constrain the rights of Indigenous peoples. Despite the increasing visibility of trans matters – from transrights to trans celebrity – trans visibility remains only partial, often privileging white trans subjects while further marginalizing the most vulnerable members of the transpopulation. The inaugural Interdisciplinary Trans Studies Graduate Student Conference seeks to examine, interrogate, and take stock of the status of trans matters today in Canada – a settler colonial state that continues to displace indigenous peoples and occupy indigenous lands – and elsewhere. From political and social visibility to questions of embodiment, identity, and expression, as well as notions of survivability and disposability, we are interested in exploring trans “matters” from multiple perspectives: First, we consider the matter of trans lives as significant, as lives that should and do matter. Trans lives continue to be debated in the public arena, often in the absence of trans people. While the passing of Bill C-16 is heralded as a victory, the bill was opposed with a great deal of hostility. Dr. Jordan Peterson (U of T), who became the face of opposition to Bill C-16, declared the bill a threat to “free speech.” As he and others who oppose the bill speak of “gender ideology,” trans people continue to fight for basic survival. Those whose very lives are on the line are too often discounted or discredited, or held up as tokens of social progress, diversity, and inclusion without any meaningful change. Thus, we must ask, which trans lives “matter” and which lives remain unaccounted for, unrecognized, and unprotected? Who counts and who is left behind? Second, we consider trans matters as political, social, and cultural issues that trans people are grappling with in Canada and abroad. Trans people, particularly transwomen of colour, continue to face disproportionately high rates of violence and discrimination, making access to medical care, adequate housing, employment, and schooling pressing issues (Spade 2011). Through framing trans people as productive citizens that are “worthy” of equal rights, access to healthcare, and economic citizenship (Irving 2012, 2013), certain trans people (namely, white, affluent and non-disabled) are now being folded in to the state apparatus. However, we must be wary of appealing to this logic as it works to further the neoliberal project and growing social and economic inequalities that continue to marginalize BIPOC trans people, disabled trans people, undocumented trans people, and poor and working class trans people. Holding these tensions together, what are the most pertinent issues that trans people face today? How can we address growing disparities within the trans community and trans activism and organizing? How are trans rights intertwined with processes of capitalism, (settler) colonialism, and imperialism? Third, we consider trans materialities: trans embodiment, corporeality, and objectivity. Recent trans scholarship has continued to productively think about transwith/against/through notions of embodiment across questions of disability, animality, and objectivity, turning away from the human (Hayward 2008; Chen 2012; Hayward and Weinstein 2015). Yet notions of queer and trans inhumanisms (the monstrous, the abject, the nonhuman) also warrant critical questions given the dangers of romancing abjection. For a number of trans people – separate from and/or written out of the academy – monstrosity, abjection, and death may not be a theoretical fantasy. Thus, we consider, what are new ways of understanding trans embodiment and corporeality? How can we theorize monstrosity, inhumanisms, and death without romanticizing conditions of abjection, or what Giorgio Agamben calls “bare life” (1995)? We welcome a range of topics that connect to contemporary trans matters and decentre whiteness including, but not limited to: • race and racialization • indigeneity and decolonization • (settler) colonialism, imperialism • nationalisms, governance, citizenship • critical politics • rights and the law • state violence, police brutality, prison-industrial complex • corporeality, animalities, inhumanisms • disability, autisticness, Deafness, madness • medicalization and healthcare • sex work • Black Lives Matters, activism, organizing • theory and scholarship • arts and culture production We are particularly interested in hearing from: trans people of colour, Two Spirit and Indigenous trans people, disabled trans people, trans sex workers, those along the trans feminine spectrum, nonbinary people, and others who are un(der)represented and marginalized within the trans community. We invite proposals for 15-20-minute academic paper presentations. We also welcome alternative submission formats, such as visual art, poster presentations, videos, and other modes of cultural production. Please email proposals as Word attachments, including a title, 250-word abstract, a brief bio, and any support/technology requirements to ** firstname.lastname@example.org (mailto:email@example.com) . For those interested in proposing a pre-constituted panel or roundtable (3-4 members), please email a panel description and individual abstracts and bios along with any other information in a single document. ASL interpretation will be provided for the keynote presentations. TTC tokens will be available upon request. Limited travel subsidies will also be available by application (see our ** website (http://cfr.info.yorku.ca/interdisciplinary-trans-studies-conference-2018/) for details Proposals are due by Friday, November 24th, 2017. Accepted applicants will be notified by January 2018. We would like to acknowledge that the land on which York University resides is the traditional territory of the Haudenosaunee, the Métis, and most recently, the territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit River. The territory was the subject of the Dish With One Spoon Wampum Belt Covenant, an agreement between the Iroquois Confederacy and the Ojibwe and allied nations to peaceably share and care for the resources around the Great Lakes. This territory is also covered by the Upper Canada Treaties. Today, the meeting place of Toronto (from the Haudenosaunee word Tkaronto) is still the home to many Indigenous people from across Turtle Island and we are grateful to have the opportunity to work in the community, on this territory. Conference organizers: Evan Vipond (York University) and Bridget Liang (York University) _____________________________________________ 9) Indigenous Studies for Lunchtime Film Screenings Please join the Centre for Indigenous Studies for lunchtime film screenings, beginning with “Reel Injun” on Friday November 17^th, 12-2pm. Bring your lunch! We will provide the popcorn! Hope to see you there. [Image Description: Event poster with turquoise background, with an image of a turtle on the right. Top right reads, "Centre for Indigenous Studies. Turtle Lounge, 2nd Floor, North Borden Building". Bottom centre reads, "Lunchtime Film screenings, November 17th, 12-2 pm, Reel Injun, December 1st 12-2 pm, Six Miles Deep, December 15th, 12-2 pm, Highway of Tears.] _____________________________________________ 10) First in the Family Peer – Mentor Program, Career Exploration & Education, and Community of Support Program, MD Program, Faculty of Medicine invite you to “Finding Research & Internship Opportunities" Friday, November 24, 4:00 - 6:00pm., Koffler Student Success Centre, ** 214 College St (https://maps.google.com/?q=214+College+St&entry=gmail&source=g) . (at College, use St. George entrance, accessible) Free food & beverages provided Students will benefit from attending: Learn about the "Research Opportunity Program" and working hands-on for course credit. Career Exploration & Education rolls out the co-curricular "Research Catalogue" and other resources. Community of Support Program, MD Program will talk about supports they provide including paid summer research roles. • discover research and internship opportunities offered by different departments, all streams; • network with research faculty, staff, and students; • learn about application processes and recruitment criteria; Registration will open soon at: ** http://uoft.me/firstfamilyfridays (http://uoft.me/firstfamilyfridays) . _____________________________________________ 11) Annual Tri-campus First Generation Trailblazers Conference: The Journey Saturday, January 27, 1:00 – 7:00pm., Hart House, ** 7 Hart House Circle (https://maps.google.com/?q=7+Hart+House+Circle&entry=gmail&source=g) Trailblazers is an annual tri-campus conference for all first generation students (first in the family to attend post-secondary in Canada) at the University of Toronto. This year participants will have a chance to navigate the plethora of options available to them after graduation which involve career exploration and mapping out their ‘plan B’. More information will be available in the coming weeks at uoft.me@trailblazers. _____________________________________________ 12) JOB POSTING: Graduate Student Research Assistant (GRA): Episodic Disability & Arts Intervention in the Ontario Workplace- DEADLINE DECEMBER 1ST We are seeking a PhD or an advanced MA student to join our team part-time to support our research on the SSHRC funded Insight Grant, From InVisibility to Inclusion: Developing and Evaluating Policies and Practices to Facilitate the Inclusion of Workers with Episodic Disabilities in Ontario Workplaces. This project is co-directed by Dr. Carla Rice and Dr. Donna Lero through Re•Vision: The Centre for Art and Social Justice in the College of Social and Applied Human Sciences at the University of Guelph. Students from outside the University of Guelph are welcome to apply. Job Posting can be found ** here (https://projectrevision.ca/newsandevents) . _____________________________________________ Copyright © 2017 Students for Barrier-free Access All rights reserved. |weekly newsletter|
Students for Barrier-free Access (SBA) is an organization led by mad and disabled students at the University of Toronto, an institution located on the territories of the Huron-Wendat and Petun First Nations, the Seneca, and most recently, the Mississaugas of New Credit. SBA advocates for equity and the removal of barriers to accessing education. As a group of students located at the intersections of multiple identities, we are committed to resisting ableism and sanism, and to creating safer spaces for marginalized students on campus.
As students, community leaders, and advocates, we strongly oppose the proposed University-Mandated Leave of Absence Policy. This policy, which is informally being referred to as UofT’s new mental health policy, specifically targets students with mental health disabilities and would allow the University to place these students on a mandatory leave of absence if (1) the student’s behaviour poses “a serious risk of harm to themselves or others” or (2) if the student is deemed “unable to engage in activities required to pursue an education.” The proposed policy raises numerous concerns for disabled and mad students, and our allies.
First and foremost, the logic framing this policy seems to indicate that the University has been providing appropriate accommodations to students with mental health disabilities. The policy itself is represented as one of last resort for the University, and it claims that it would only be applicable in a small number of student cases where accommodations are not successful or feasible. However, as the 2015-2016 Report of the University of Toronto Ombudsperson clearly illustrates, appropriate accommodations are not being provided to students. In fact, the Report states that the Ontario Human Rights Guidelines on Disability and the Duty to Accommodate have been unevenly and inconsistently followed across University departments. Some academic programs were found to refuse to implement all but the most minimal accommodations for students with mental health disabilities.
Although the number of students with mental health disabilities enrolling at UofT has been rising significantly, due in large part to the advocacy work done in the disability community, the University has not matched this rise in enrolment with an increase in Disability Counsellors, Counsellors, or traditional healers. This has meant longer wait times for intake appointments at Accessibility Services and for meetings with Disability Counsellors, and unacceptable waitlists to see Counsellors for support. Given this and the findings of the Ombudsperson, the University’s proposal to place students on a mandatory and non-consensual leave without having met its obligations with respect to the Duty to Accommodate is appalling.
Another glaring problem with the proposed policy is that, contrary to the findings of numerous studies, it perpetuates the stereotype that people with mental health disabilities are prone to violence and thereby pose a risk to their communities. This perception, and its irresponsible reproduction by the University administration through a policy that targets people with mental health disabilities as a known and identifiable group, is an act of discrimination. As history and current events have repeatedly shown, it is particularly people located at the intersections of marginalized identities—racialized, queer, and trans people with mental health disabilities—who bear the brunt of these unfounded stereotypes, institutionalized discrimination, and violence. Furthermore, research has shown that people with mental health disabilities are more likely to be victims of violence than perpetrators, and that gender and age are more reliable predictors of violent behaviour than mental health disabilities.
Equally troubling is the callous approach to students with mental health disabilities should they be in distress or experiencing crisis and at risk of harming themselves. How can the University, which purports to be a community that “embraces the broadest range of people, that helps them achieve their full potential” justify evicting members who are in need of urgent support and care, who need to be embraced by their chosen community? Rather than holding space for its community members that are in crisis, the proposed policy would enable the UofT administration to remove students from their classes, their colleagues, and their student community.
Other potential impacts of this mandated leave of absence include the removal of students from campus housing and the revocation of financial assistance through programs like OSAP and the Bursary for Students with Disabilities and Canada Student Grant for Services and Equipment for Persons with Permanent Disabilities (BSWD/CSG-PDSE), as maintaining one’s student status is a condition of access to student funding and housing. Graduate students who are often employed by the University could also lose their jobs and primary source of income if placed on a mandated leave of absence. Removing financial supports for students experiencing crisis will only exacerbate their distress and increase the barriers to access that they will be facing. For international students with mental health disabilities, the policy is especially concerning, as being placed on a mandated leave could put their study permit in jeopardy.
Returning to studies after being placed on a university-mandated leave presents its own indignities. In order to be able to return to their studies, students must apply to the Vice Provost Students in writing and are encouraged to provide documentation from a healthcare practitioner attesting that they are able to return “safely” to their studies. At the discretion of the Vice Provost Students, students may be subject to a psychiatric risk-assessment or behavioural assessment, and reacceptance is in no way guaranteed.
Given the enormity of the consequences of this policy on students with mental health disabilities, the Office of the Vice-President and Provost should be concerned that it will deter students from seeking the support and guidance they may need, leaving them increasingly more isolated. Faculty and staff wanting to refer students to mental health supports may hesitate to do so for fear of reprisal on the student.
On Friday November 10th, SBA released a letter in resistance to the University-Mandated Leave Policy. As of the time of writing this Op-Ed, over 400 students, staff, and faculty have signed on, and two of five University of Toronto student unions, APUS and UTGSU, have endorsed the petition. We collectively call on the Office of the Vice-President and Provost to immediately revoke the proposed policy, to do their due diligence by engaging in a broad and in-depth consultation with disabled students and the wider disability community, to increase the mental health supports available on campus, to hire additional counsellors and traditional healers, and to increase funding and staff at Accessibility Services. The University is obligated to meet its Duty to Accommodate, and we call on UofT to do so before instituting punitive and harmful policies.
The original article has been published in The Strand and can be found here.