The University of Toronto has notified organizers of the Toronto Nationalist Rally, in writing, that they are not permitted to use space on its campuses.
Earlier this week, the university learned the organization had indicated in a Facebook post that it would hold the rally on U of T’s downtown Toronto campus in September. The organization did not have permission to hold the event at U of T.
The university reported the erroneous claim to Facebook and followed up with a ‘cease-and-desist’ letter to the organization, requesting that it discontinue using the name of the university or any “other practices which may lead to the perception that your September 14th event is located, sponsored, hosted, or endorsed by or has any relationship to, the University of Toronto.”
The Canadian Nationalist Party subsequently sent U of T an email asking how to book space. Although no formal request was ever made, the university has told the organization in writing that U of T will not permit it to hold events on campus “because of concerns about the safety of students, faculty, staff and the public.”
The university's policy on booking space explains that the university “reserves the right to control access to its campuses, and to the use of its space and facilities.” The policy makes it clear that the use of university space must abide by U of T's principles, including freedom of expression, mutual respect and civility, and that safety concerns will be taken into consideration.
The move comes against the backdrop of violence, racism and anti-Semitism in the United States that culminated last weekend in a rally by white supremacists in Virginia that left three dead, including an anti-racism protester.
“Bigotry, hate, intolerance and violence have no place on our campuses,” President Meric Gertler said. “The recent use of Neo-Nazi and Ku Klux Klan slogans and symbols in Charlottesville, Virginia must be condemned in the strongest terms. We must be clear that this is never acceptable. At the same time, the events in Virginia have justifiably increased concern about safety in our community and elsewhere.”