UTSU’s second town hall event scheduled last Friday for anti-Blackness has been cancelled, following a low turnout in its first town hall on November 19.
When asked about the reason behind the cancellation, UTSU’s president Jasmine Wong Denike said that the first town hall “failed” to offer a space for the voices of Black students.
“We heard that the space was uncomfortable to be in, and that poor organization and communication pertaining to the event caused it to be tokenizing,” wrote Denike.
“While making an effort to confront anti-Black racism within the organization, the UTSU should have meaningfully engaged with Black student representatives to ensure that those individuals had ownership of the space,” she added.
Denike informed The Medium that for UTSU to create a space for Black students, they will need a “deference of power” to them.
Denike also stated that UTSU has a “commitment” to work on engaging with clubs on campus to improve the services they provide to all their members, and that UTSU will prioritize such work in the upcoming months.
“The University of Toronto Students’ Union will actively prioritize the communication with representatives from Black student organizations on campus moving forward,” said Denike.
The BLC did not respond to The Medium’s request for comments, as of press time.
As previously reported by The Medium, the first town hall had poor student turnout with only one Black student in attendance among a total of ten attendees, five of which were UTSU executives.
The purpose of the town hall was originally to collaborate with the Black Liberation Collective, but shortly after the meeting, the BLC released a Facebook statement claiming that the group was not invited to the meeting.