Quebec-like sign law at U of T gone
By Dan Perry
The Students’ Administrative Council at the University
of Toronto has reversed a controversial decision made last
Friday which banned election posters in languages other than
English or French.
According to SAC President Ashley Morton, the original decision
was met with what he called an “outcry,” coming
from not only students but the community.
“The intention all the way along was that our chief
returning officer speaks only two languages; we never permit
posters with slander and we can’t determine that if our
CRO doesn’t understand [the posters],” he said.
Morton said the initial idea to ban the posters was introduced
by two members of the executive, and was approved four votes
He said the response to the original decision was the biggest
factor in the reversal. “[It was] the outcry from students,” Morton
said, explaining how three of the original votes in favour
of the ban switched to the other side.
“I was the one who voted against it in the first place,” he
said. “I think it’s an unreasonable restriction
of free speech.” Morton also noted that before Friday’s
vote, there had been no complaints about posters in other languages.
Under the new regulations, candidates wishing to put up foreign
language posters must file a translation, done by a professional
or professor at the university, something Morton said he still
found unfair, as it would still cost students money.
Jane Stirling, spokesperson for U of T, said response to the
policy was up to the students. “The university doesn’t
really have a position on the issue; it’s one for the
students to decide themselves,” she said. “[The
decision] doesn’t go against any of the university’s
policies one way or the other.”
“Western doesn’t have any policies on the language
of election posters,” said Adrienne Kennedy, VP-campus
issues for Western’s University Students’ Council. “No
one has ever asked if they could use a foreign language on
a poster, so it’s never been an issue.”
—with files from Maureen Finn