We received word today at the 2110 Centre for Gender Advocacy that the student union at Queens University in Kingston, Ontario is taking steps to evict their Levana Gender Advocacy Centre – along with OPIRG Kingston and the Education on Queer Issues Project – over a technical infraction (which has been committed by many other groups in the past without consequence).
Student-run organizations that deal with issues of gendered and racialized inequity on-campus often face hostility from university administration and conservative student unions. Painting such organizations as marginal, unnecessary special-interest groups who think they’re “above” university policies (which are often set up in ways that are inaccessible to the marginalized groups such organizations represent, and used to privilege certain community groups and members over others) serves to erase the vital nature of the work they do for the student community.
Several years ago, McGill University took steps to evict the Sexual Assault Centre of McGill Students Society – effectively threatening to end the only organization that exists specifically and exclusively to advocate for survivors of sexual assault at McGill. The backlash was so harsh on the McGill administration that the decision was revoked, and SACOMSS continues to occupy space on campus to this day. When communities pull together in solidarity with survivors of sexual assault, we can all affect real change – not only creating and maintaining valuable services, but protecting those services from the threat of elimination at the hands of hostile administration.
We at the 2110 Centre for Gender Advocacy – and Concordians for a Safer Community – stand in support of the Levana Gender Advocacy Centre, OPIRG, and EQuIP. Spaces like the Grey House are not optional on university campuses; they’re a matter of accessibility, and of creating healthy, safer communities for everyone.
If you want to help support Levana, go here for some actions you can take.