Students push back against online threats at U of T

George Brown College SafeWalk program issues statement in solidarity with U of T students

Anonymous comments suggesting that women and feminists at the University of Toronto be shot to death were left on BlogTO before being deleted. Image via imgur.com

Anonymous comments suggesting that women and feminists at the University of Toronto be shot to death were left on BlogTO before being deleted. Image via imgur.com

Student groups issued statements today, condemning online comments which threatened the safety of women and feminists associated with University of Toronto’s (U of T) Women’s Studies and Sociology departments.

The threats were posted in the comment section of a Blog TO article on Sept. 5 by a user called “Kill Feminists”. The comments have been deleted from the original article but screenshots have been circulating on Reddit and Twitter.

In response to the threats, U of T issued an alert to its students and staff and increased the presence of campus police.

In a statement, the Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario, an organization representing 350,000 students in the province, including students at George Brown, called the threats sickening.

Rabbia Ashraff, the Women’s Representative for the federation called on post-secondary schools to confront these kinds of threats head on. Ashraf said, it’s crucial “for colleges and universities to show courage and leadership when it comes to tackling sexual and gender-based violence”.

The SafeWalk service at George Brown College issued a statement in solidarity with those threatened by the comments. The SafeWalk statement said, “this is violence and is not tolerated at our schools or places of work”. SafeWalk also encouraged those who see anything suspicious to alert the police and campus security.

In statement issued on Friday afternoon, the Toronto Police Service said that their Cyber-Crime section has investigated the threats since they appeared online. While the police say that they have not identified a credible threat linked to the comments, they are continuing their investigation.

Community response to the threats has been significant. The Canadian Union of Public Employees local 3902 Women’s Caucus, who represent teaching assistants and graduate students at U of T,  is organizing an afternoon rally on Monday at U of T’s St. George Campus. At press time the rally had been announced for less than 24 hours, and already more than 1,000 people said they would be attending on Facebook.

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Students push back against online threats at U of T