Tag Archives: featured

Zine Making Workshop

Join RyeACCESS and Students for Barrier-free Access for a Zine-Making Workshop!

Participants in the workshop will have an opportunity to learn about zine making, as well as create their own. All materials will be provided. No previous experience necessary.

This workshop is open to members of the RyeACCESS community, the SBA community, and the wider Mad/Disabled community. QT BIPOC Mad/Disabled folks are centered.

ACCESS INFO:
This workshop is free to attend.
Food and drinks, including vegan and gluten free options, will be provided.
The workshop will be held in an accessible room.
Accessible multi-stall and single stall all gender washrooms are located on the same floor as the event space.
Please arrive to the event fragrance free.

LOCATION:
55 Gould St, Toronto ON. M5B 1E9. Margaret Laurence Room, 2nd Floor.

EXAM DESTRESSOR: Painting with SBA!

EXAM DESTRESSOR: Painting with SBA!

Take a break from exams with SBA!

Join us on Friday, April 20th for an afternoon of group painting. No artistic experience is required.
Come by to unwind, make new friends and contemplate the life that awaits you post-exams!
If painting isn’t for you, feel free to stop by anyway for snacks and conversation!

This is a drop-in event, late-comers are welcome!

DATE & TIME:
Friday, April 20th, 2018
11:30am-1:30pm

LOCATION:
SBA Centre
215 Huron Street, Room 924 (9th floor)

ACCESS INFO:
The SBA Centre is an accessible venue. A single-user all-gender accessible washroom is located on the same floor as the SBA Centre.

The SBA Centre is a scent-free space. Please arrive to the event fragrance-free.

Please contact Nadia at sba.advocacycoordinator@gmail.com with any questions, concerns or access needs.

FB Event page

Communities of Care; DIY Care Kits

Communities of Care; DIY Care Kits

Join Students for Barrier-free Access for a low-key afternoon of snacks, conversation, and community care. We will be providing supplies, including tea, stickers, and treats, for folks to make and decorate care kitsCome by and make a care kit for yourself and/or for someone you love.

Free! Everyone is welcome!
Snacks, including vegan and gluten-free options, will be provided.

Date: Thursday, April 5th 2018
Time: 3pm-5pm
Location: SBA Centre, 215 Huron Street, Suite 924 on the 9th floor

Access Info:
The SBA Centre is an accessible venue. A single-user all-gender accessible washroom is located on the same floor as the SBA Centre.

The SBA Centre is a scent-free space. Please arrive to the event fragrance-free.

Please contact Nadia at sba.advocacycoordinator@gmail.com with any questions, concerns or access needs.

READ OUR NEW OP-ED IN THE STRAND: The University-Mandated Leave of Absence is discriminatory and harmful

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.

The SBA’s “Re: University-Mandated Leave Policy” letter can be accessed on The Strand’s Facebook and Twitter pages, as well as at the following link.

Resisting Ableism in Activism; Working Towards Inclusive Community Organizing

Resisting Ableism in Activism; Working Towards Inclusive Community Organizing

In a social justice culture where individualism and independence are privileged, and where attending lengthy or late-night meetings and participating in marches and rallies are seen as the the ultimate way of showing your support or commitment to the struggle, conversations around accessibility as a community organizing practice are rare. The failure to to take up accessibility as a practice in our activist communities reproduces the structural ableism that is prevalent in our society. This not only marginalizes disabled activists but limits our capacity as organizers to engage fully and meaningfully with our communities.

This workshop will discuss how practices of accessibility can be brought into community organizing spaces.  We will discuss the following topics:

  1. organizing accessible meetings and strategic planning sessions
  2. adopting a survivor-centred practice
  3. strategies for making protests, rallies and marches more inclusive

Time: 10:30am-12:30pm

Date: Tuesday September 19, 2017

Location: To be confirmed

Wheelchair accessible.  Accessible and all-gender washroom located on the same floor as the event room.

Please arrive to the event fragrance-free.

If you have any questions, or access needs please contact Nadia at sba.advocacycoordinator@gmail.com

The Muslims Are Coming!

The Muslims Are Coming!
 

This event is part of a series which aims to create a critical conversation space for people who have some connection to Muslim identity including through family, history, and/or culture. People who identify as practicing, non-practicing, or something in between are all welcome.

Using a combination of short video clips of poetry, prose, and comedy, as well as films and documentaries, we will discuss the multifaceted experiences of growing up and living in migrant Muslim families/communities and the politics of being Muslim in our current times. Our conversation will centre the experiences of black and racialized Muslims and in particular the voices of queer, trans, disabled and mad people.

The Muslims Are Coming! is part of a monthly discussion series organized by SBA and CWTP.

Date: Wednesday May 24, 2017

Time: 2:30-4:30PM

Location: 246 Bloor Street West (Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work Building), Room 720, 7th floor

Facebook Event Page:  https://www.facebook.com/events/701593496687290/

Access Info: Wheelchair accessible building. Accessible, gender-neutral washroom on the same floor as event. TTC tokens available. Video clips will have captioning or will be accompanied by written text of the dialogue. Family-friendly space. Please arrive scent-free. Snacks including vegan and gluten-free options will be served.

If you have any other access needs please contact Nadia at sba.advocacycoordinator@gmail.com

Allies, we appreciate your support in helping us maintain this closed conversations space for people who have connections to Muslim identity and by sharing this event info.

Surviving Together; A Self-Advocacy Workshop for Disabled Students

Surviving Together; A Self-Advocacy Workshop for Disabled Students

Join Students for Barrier-free Access (SBA) and the University of Toronto Mississauga Students’ Union (UTMSU) for a student-run orientation for disabled students and student advocates. Whether you are an undergraduate or graduate student, full-time or part-time, new or returning, an international or transfer student, this orientation is for you!

Come meet other disabled students and SBA members and learn more about self-advocacy and resources for disabled students on campus.

Topics covered at the workshop:

– Know Your Rights as a disabled student – Presentation by ARCH Disability Law Centre
– self-advocacy and navigating academic accommodations
– introduction to campus resources and services for disabled students
– introduction to Students for Barrier-Free Access’ resources and services

Date: Monday February 27, 2017

Time: 4pm-6pm

Location: Student Centre Board Room, Room 270, UTM Student Centre

Everyone welcome! Priority will be given to disabled BIPOC students.
Wheelchair accessible.
Accessible and gender-neutral washroom located on the same floor as the event room and on the first floor in the UTMSU office.

Please note that this will be a scent-free space.

Light refreshments, including vegan and gluten-free options, will be served.

If you require live captioning or ASL to participate in the event, or if you have any other access needs please contact Nadia at sba.advocacycoordinator@gmail.com

QT2SBIPOC Discussion Night

Students for Barrier-free Access (SBA) and the Centre for Women and Trans People (CWTP) at U of T invites you to join us for the first night of a new series of events that works to create space for community building, critical conversation, and support for Queer, Trans and Two-Spirit, Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (QT2SBIPOC).

As organizers of this space, we recognize that this event will be taking place on the territories of the Huron-Wendat and Petun First Nations, the Seneca and the Mississaugas of New Credit. We are here because this land is occupied. As organizations located within the University of Toronto, it is our responsibility to acknowledge that we are all treaty people that live, work and organize on occupied land.

We also recognize that this University is a space that many of our community members experience violence, including the violence of settler-colonialism, anti-black racism, white supremacy, homophobia, transphobia, transmisogyny, ableism, sanism, classism, Islamophobia and the violence of rape culture. Recent events on campus have highlighted the ongoing presence of these forms of violence. As a collective, we work to challenge these forms of violence in our communities and in our everyday practice.

We have a strong commitment to creating anti-colonial community space that rejects ableist and sanist ways of relating. We are committed to building meaningful and reciprocal relationships between Indigenous, Black, and POC communities and to acknowledge that this requires difficult conversations to be had. Through the QT2SBIPOC Discussion Night Series, we strive to hold a space for these conversations.

This discussion topic for this meeting will be a continuation of our previous discussion on ‘how to take on critical conversations with community (and/or with family)’. You are not required to have attended the last discussion group to join this one. New members are always welcome!

Date: Monday March 6, 2017

Time: 6:00pm-8:00pm

Location: SBA Centre, 215 Huron Street, Suite 924, on the 9th floor.
Please note that the front doors to 215 Huron Street lock at 5:30pm. Event organizers will wait at the entrance to let people in from 5:50-6:00pm. If you arrive later, please call 416-967-7322 and one of us will let you in.

Wheelchair accessible. Accessible and all-gender washroom located on the same floor as the event room.

Please note that the SBA Centre is a scent-free space.
Snacks, including vegan and gluten-free options will be served.
If you require ASL to participate in the event, or if you have any other access needs please contact Nadia at sba.advocacycoordinator@gmail.com

***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.***

 

#NotUpForDebate; SBA responds to the University of Toronto forum on Bill C-16

#NotUpForDebate; SBA responds to the University of Toronto forum on Bill C-16

Students for Barrier-free Access (SBA) is an organization led by mad and disabled students at the University of Toronto (U of T), an institution located on the territories of the Huron-Wendat and Petun First Nations, the Seneca and the Mississaugas of New Credit.  SBA advocates for the removal of barriers to accessing education. As mad and disabled students located at the intersections of multiple identities, we are committed to creating safer spaces with marginalized students on campus. We believe in the right to gender self-determination and the right to access post-secondary education free of transphobia, anti-black racism, racialized and gender-based violence. As an organization committed to actively resisting transphobia, anti-black racism and settler colonial violence on campus and within the larger community we condemn Jordan Peterson’s anti-black statements and his hate speech directed at trans, gender non-conforming, genderqueer, and two-spirit students, staff and faculty.  Attempts to reduce these statements simply to a speech act is a violent erasure of the material impacts of Peterson’s and his supporters’ oppressive practices.

Over the past few weeks, Peterson has continued to assert that the refusal to use people’s pronouns will result in the criminalization of individuals under Bill C-16 and the Canadian Human Rights Act. This privileged position taken by Peterson, a middle class cis-white man, clearly indicates his lack of understanding of the criminal code and the prison industrial complex. As illustrated through the work of Black Lives Matter, the criminal code is enforced in a way that specifically criminalizes genderqueer, gender non-conforming, trans and two-spirit people. Black, indigenous and people of colour are disproportionately targeted through these processes of criminalization.

Gender self-determination which includes the right to use and demand that others refer to us by our pronoun is an act of survival in the face of societal violence that forces all people to conform to a binary notion of gender. In fact, this violence has always been at the core of the colonization of Turtle Island, where settlers enforced conformity to a gender binary and Western gender roles and tried to erase indigenous beliefs and systems of gender.  Transgender, genderqueer, gender non-conforming, and two-spirit people who do not fit into colonial cis-heteropatriarchal notions of gender often face violent repercussions, including death.

As illustrated clearly in many of Peterson’s comments, transgender, genderqueer, gender non-conforming and two-spirit people are often pathologized, where gender non-conformity is seen as a symptom of an illness that is in need of diagnosis and cure. Through this framing, transgender, genderqueer, and gender non-conforming, and especially black, indigenous and racialized transgender, genderqueer, gender non-conforming, and two-spirit people are represented either as objects of pity to be saved or as dangers to our society that need to be punished. In either case the proposed solutions are incarceration either in the prison system or in psychiatric institutions. Peterson’s hate speech and refusal to recognize non-binary pronouns works to further pathologize, medicalize and criminalize communities who are disproportionately labeled as ‘mentally ill’, putting them at further risk of criminalization, incarceration and death.

Peterson has grossly misrepresented his comments as “free speech” creating an environment that is unsafe and violent for Black, Indigenous, and racialized trans, gender non-conforming, genderqueer and two-spirit students, staff and faculty on campus. He has defended his resistance to what he refers to as nonsensical calls for ‘political correctness’ by claiming that the duress of a so-called politically correct (PC) culture (for example, of having to respect gender self-determination) can lead to ‘insanity’ in immigrants and Muslims in particular. We reject this claim as a racist, Islamophobic, transphobic and sanist representation of our communities which simultaneously erases our members that are located at these intersections and our radical history of collectively reimagining community and organizing spaces and movements that honour and uphold the complexity of peoples’ existence and lived experience.

As a direct result of the anti-black, racist, and transphobic public comments made by Peterson and his supporters, and the violence at the protests held in support of  so-called ‘free speech’, students at U of T are concerned for their safety when attending classes. The University of Toronto administration, despite requiring that Peterson  respect pronouns, have actively contributed to this unsafe environment by hosting a public forum which will allow for hate speech to continue under the guise of a debate on “free speech” and Bill C-16.  As stated in the Open Letter released  by the Queer Caucus of CUPE 3902, “We object to the basic premise of this event. Human rights are not up for debate.

The demand for the use of our pronouns is not an issue of free speech, nor does it infringe upon any rights associated with free speech. The refusal to use the pronouns of  trans, gender non-conforming, genderqueer and two-spirit people is a direct attack on those bodies and on the right to gender self-determination. To claim otherwise is not a defence of free speech. To claim otherwise is a practice of racialized, gendered, and colonial violence.

In Solidarity,

Students for Barrier-Free Access

Below are various resources including crisis services for students who require emotional support during this unsafe campus climate. We are also linking some resources to encourage the U of T community to learn more about gender, and the barriers affecting non-binary and binary transgender communities. In addition, we are sharing resources on anti-black racism. We strongly encourage the U of T community to learn more about anti-black racism and the barriers affecting black communities. We will continue updating these resources over the next few days.

Crisis Teams Across the GTA:

  • The Gerstein Centre: 416-929-5200
  • Youthline 1800-268-9688
  • Scarborough Mobile Crisis Program: 416-495-2891
  • Trans Lifeline: (877)-330-6366 (CANADA)
  • Distress Centre Peel: 905-278-7208
  • Barrie Crisis Team: 705-728-5044
  • Crisis Services of Waterloo Region: 519-744-1813
  • COAST (Hamilton area): 905-972-8338
  • Durham Mental Health Services: 1-800-742-1890/905-666-0483
  • 4 County Crisis Community Mental Health Crisis Response Program: 705-745-6484/866-995-9933; serves Peterborough, City of Kawartha Lakes, Haliburton and Northumberland. Short-term crisis counselling and crisis bed available.
  • Peel Crisis Services: 905-278-9036
  • Mental Health Chat Rooms

www.healthfulchat.org/mental-health-chat-rooms.html

Peer Support and Referral Services:

  • Students for Barrier-free Access

215 Huron St, Toronto, ON M5T 1R2

Phone: (416) 967-7322

Binary and nonbinary Trans Resources:

  • Trans Girls/Guys Against Violent Assault

www.springtideresources.org/project/t-guava-trans-girlsguys-against-violent-assault

  • Emotional First Aid

www.vanissar.com/blog/emotional-first-aid-for-the-holidays-or-anytime/

  • Find local resources

www.mentalhealthhelpline.ca/Search/AdvancedResults

  • Sherbourne Health Centre – LGBT Health

sherbourne.on.ca/lgbt-health/

Statements by U of T community members challenging Peterson’s arguments

Beyond the Binary; Resources on gender and gender self-determination

Resources on anti-black Racism

 

 

 

 

  • 300 Hours; What I learned about Black Queer and Trans liberation at BLMTO Tent City http://marvellousgrounds.com/blog/300-hours/
  • Black Lives Matter Toronto https://blacklivesmatter.ca/

UofT’s New Learning Portal Drop-in Testing Session

UofT’s New Learning Portal Drop-in Testing Session – Feedback Needed

U of T’s current Learning Portal hasn’t changed much in the last decade. Feedback from the University community is that the web interface for the Portal is clunky and out of date, and it doesn’t flow the way people would like. It’s also hard for instructors to incorporate new tools into their teaching.

The University is calling on the student community to help test three new systems that could serve as the engine for it’s new Learning Portal. In order to ensure that this system works with adaptive technologies that are used by students, the Academic Toolbox Renewal Group and Students for Barrier-free Access are co-hosting a drop-in testing session at the SBA Accessible Computer Lab. Please join us and share your feedback online, or in person with the SBA Centre Coordinators.

Date: Wednesday November 16th, 2016

Time: 11:30am-2:30pm

(this is an open drop-in so please come by anytime during this period that works for you)

Location: SBA Centre, 215 Huron Street, Suite 924 on the 9th floor

Wheelchair accessible. Accessible, single-user, gender-neutral washroom located on the same floor.

Please note that the SBA Centre is a scent-free space.

Students are encouraged to register (for testing site access) ahead of time at: http://teaching.utoronto.ca/ctsi-events/lme-online-testing/, or we anticipate doing this at the event.

If you are unable to attend the session, there are other ways to provide feedback. For more information about the University of Toronto’s Academic Toolbox Initiative please visit: http://toolboxrenewal.utoronto.ca/

For more information about the drop-in session please contact Nadia at sba.advocacycoordinator@gmail.com
After this testing session, students are encouraged to attend a Student Panel discussion about the three systems – Wednesday, November 16, 15:00 to 17:00, Rotman LL1025. This event is part of Portal Week, November 14 – 18. See http://toolboxrenewal.utoronto.ca/lmeweek/.