This working group was struck at the first University of Toronto General Assembly.
Report-back to the general assembly from break-out session:
Member: We had thoughtful and constructive discussion, specifically about political neutrality. Mission statement is to create a safe, welcoming environment for expression of all political views and to ensure there is no perception of political bias at its outset. We had consensual agreement on three issues, and had one that needs further investigation. Three consensus items:
(1) At the outset of the organization, it should have no political bias or perception of political bias. This will ensure that all feel comfortable coming and making themselves heard.
(2) When people come to express political views at this body, they should be respect, thanked, and welcomed, and people shouldn’t try to bully them, shut them down, etc.
(3) On certain issues, we all accept that this body will have a political stance, e.g., on issues directly connected to students, like lowering fees, we understand that that’s a political statement. We’re fine with that. The item of dispute was the idea of this body issuing political declarations on matters not necessarily related to its activities. Some felt it was inappropriate for this body to issue declarations, e.g., condemning governments. Some disagreed, and said that any matter that these members voted on was a legitimate issue and there could be votes on the issue. So we have three solid topics of consensus, and one issue we hope to be discussed later.
This working group was temporarily dissolved at the second general assembly for lack of members. Future assembly participants are welcomed to revive the working group should the need arise.