Thank you so much to all of you who helped to make our recent event – “Are Men Obsolete? Feminism, Free Speech and the Censorship of Men’s Issues, with Karen Straughan” – such an amazing success!

Here are some people and groups that deserve to be highlighted

1. Karen Straughan. She was amazing, as usual. She appeared to effortlessly respond to one challenging question after another, pulling from her deep knowledge of history, sociology and gender studies, and inserting important examples from her own experiences to make compelling and passionate arguments for her case. Videos of the event are up on YouTube and will be posted to CAFE’s YouTube Channel and this website by the end of the week, along with photos from the event.

2. Our amazing donors. CAFE ended up raising $1425 in donations during the week leading up to Karen’s event, with a substantial amount targeted to our new Campus Outreach Fund. This will be the “war chest” that will give us options, including legal action, when confronted with possible attempts at censorship in the future. In particular, we want to single out A Voice For Men which, despite already having committed efforts to previous appeals, quickly stepped up to encourage contributions to this new initiative. They understood that our vision requires that we never back down against the forces of intimidation and censorship, and thanks to their help, we were able to show that that positive vision can defeat the negativity and hostility we sometimes face. We thank them for their ongoing support to our on campus efforts.

We contacted those of you who donated to this appeal as soon as we learned that the University was waiving those fees. And each of you requested that we keep the funds and make good use of them. Thank you for your trust in us. We won’t let you down. If though anyone does still wish their funds reimbursed, just let us know and we’ll take care of that immediately.

3. @Aella_Girl. She stepped up to offer to match donations – up to $600 – toward the former security fee. When we told her the security fee was being waived, she asked how much we had raised and went ahead and donated even more than she originally pledged!

4. Ryerson University and especially President Sheldon Levy, who had this to say:

“Freedom of speech is hugely important…If you’re gonna say something, and I like what you say, big deal. That’s not freedom of speech. It’s when you say something, and I hate what you’re saying … but I make room for you to say it, that’s real freedom of speech.” He added that charging the fee would be “the same to a student as saying…’there’s no room for you here.”

5. The Ryersonian, who  gave tremendous coverage not just to Karen’s event, but to the controversy surrounding the prohibition of men’s issues groups by the Ryerson Student Union. In fact, they had the 3 candidates in the recent election for RSU President comment on men’s issues groups, with 2 of the 3 candidates weighing in with comments against RSU policy and supporting genuine democracy and openness to men’s issues on campus. Neither won the election but we intend to follow up with both.

6. The Ryerson Community. Lastly and looking ahead now, thank you to the students, alumni, faculty, staff and other members of the larger Ryerson Community who helped to organize Karen’s event, and to the many of you who have contacted us to work to ensure a lasting presence for men’s issues awareness on your campus. We are already in plans to meet with relevant departments and agencies at Ryerson to respond to any lingering concerns and to determine how best to proceed. The ultimate goal of last week’s event was to lay the groundwork for a positive ongoing presence at Ryerson. We are now in a very good position to see that happen.

– Canadian Association for Equality