Jakub Bernad, a 26-year-old male from Mississauga, has been charged after being arrested for allegedly vandalizing posters in the RAWC.
According to Peel Regional Police public information officer George Tudos, the vandalism was discovered on February 29 at 11:34 a.m and Bernad is set to appear in court on April 1. Although Tudos would not disclose what the vandalism consisted of, an earlier Campus Police report published in The Medium on March 7 indicated that the vandalism was done on posters “promoting sexual and gender diversity inclusion”.
Bernad has been charged with mischief under $5,000.
According to UTM Campus Police manager Robert Messacar, it is believed that the vandalized posters at the centre of the investigation may have been a part of the Change Room Project, a new initiative working to “[amplify] the voices of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer students in locker rooms and change rooms—some of the very spaces where they often go unheard”.
Led by Hart House in collaboration with several other partners, the Change Room Project works to bring awareness to the issues members of the LGBTQ community face in athletic change rooms by using quotes from 54 interviews conducted by Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education professor Caroline Fusco, whose research examines how barriers such as change rooms prevent the LGBTQ community from participating in sports.
The installations feature quotes posted on digital screens and the walls of U of T athletic change rooms, including a quote from Elise, a U of T graduate student and lesbian whose quote states, “The first time I encountered a homophobic slur, it was written on the wall in a locker room in elementary school.”
In an interview with The Medium, Hart House program coordinator Day Milman confirmed that they have not been contacted or informed of the incident.
The exhibit installations are now installed on all three U of T campuses at the RAWC, the Hart House Fitness Centre, UTSC, the Goldring Centre for High Performance Sport, and the UTSG Athletics Centre.