In a landmark ruling, the first of its kind in Canada, the University of Toronto Graduate Students’ Union (UTGSU) has been told by a university panel to stop using student fees to promote the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, B’nai Brith Canada reported in a statement on Friday.
In the ruling released Thursday, the Complaint and Resolution Council for Student Societies (CRCSS), a body created by the University but composed of students, found that the UTGSU’s BDS Caucus had engaged in discrimination based on nationality, in violation of its own Anti-Discrimination Policy.
The CRCSS then issued five recommendations to the UTGSU, including revising its bylaws to prevent boycotts based on nationality, making the BDS Caucus student fee refundable, and revising its Anti-Discrimination Policy to align with the Ontario Human Rights Code.
If the UTGSU does not outline how it will implement the recommendations by March 1, and fully implement them within one year, the University’s Vice-President and Provost may withhold the student union’s compulsory fees.
The successful complaint was brought by Jewish U of T graduate student Chaim Katz, with the assistance of B’nai Brith Canada.
In 2016, the Judicial Board of the Students’ Society of McGill University similarly ruled that BDS was discriminatory and that the student union could not legally endorse it. However, Thursday’s ruling marks the first time that a Canadian university has ordered a student union not to promote BDS.
“This is a massive victory for Jewish students at the University of Toronto and across Canada,” said Michael Mostyn, Chief Executive Officer of B’nai Brith Canada.
“B’nai Brith will continue its fight against antisemitism at U of T in all of its forms, until Jewish students and faculty are safe from every form of discrimination,” he added.
“Today is the day that I hoped would come for more than five years,” said Chaim Katz, the student behind the complaint. “I thank B’nai Brith for its constant and unwavering support. The students and community members I have had the privilege to work with were instrumental in reaching this day. I expect the University to implement this ruling without delay.”
The UTGSU is the only student union in Canada that forces all members – even Jewish and Israeli students – to fund a BDS Caucus that uses student fees to attack the Jewish State.
The University of Toronto has been in the headlines several times in recent years in relation to anti-Israel conduct.
In March of 2019, the Graduate Students’ Union approved a motion to make its Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Committee permanent.
Last year, B’nai Brith Canada condemned CUPE 3902, a labor union at U of T, following a series of anti-Israel and anti-Semitic tweets issued by its official Twitter account.
Several months earlier, CUPE 3902 attempted to host Issam al-Yamani, a Palestinian Arab terrorist facing deportation from Canada, as a speaker at a campus event. The event was nixed by U of T following complaints from B’nai Brith and other groups, but was relocated to CUPE 3902’s own offices instead.
(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)