Against military recruitment and military presence at University of Toronto sign now

January 28th, 2011

University of Toronto Administration
27 King's College Circle
Toronto, ON M5S 1A1

University of Toronto Career Centre
214 College Street
Toronto ON M5T 2Z9


We, the undersigned faculty, workers, students, and members of the wider University of Toronto community, write to express our strong opposition to the upcoming Department of National Defence Information Session hosted by the University of Toronto Career Centre on Wednesday, February 2, 2011 at 5 pm.

According to its Statement of Institutional Purpose, the University of Toronto is dedicated to the vigilant protection of human rights. Militarism poses clear threats to human rights. To allow the Department of National Defence to recruit on campus contravenes the stated purposes of the University, as well as making our institution complicit in systemic violations perpetuated by militaries.

The Canadian armed forces, for instance, are presently engaged in the brutal occupation of Afghanistan. Numerous respected sources have documented the devastating ongoing violence inflicted on the Afghan people. Thousands of civilians have been killed. The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace states, The mere presence of foreign soldiers fighting a war in Afghanistan is probably the single most important factor in the resurgence of the Taliban. The liberation rhetoric of the Department of National Defence is wearing thin the Canadian military seems to be little more than an instrument in a geopolitical contest for control over petroleum resources. Allowing the Department of National Defence to recruit on campus signals our agreement to and perpetuation of a brutal logic that justifies occupation and murder.

Some may argue that campuses, as spaces that celebrate the freedom of speech, should allow for the presence of military planners and their efforts to recruit young academics. To this we reply that the freedom of speech is protected in order to challenge systemic oppression, not to enable it. Campus administrators, students and employees of conscience have a responsibility to those suffering from Canadian actions in Afghanistan to refrain from facilitating the occupation.

We therefore urge the University of Toronto Career Centre to cancel the planned National Defence Information session, and to institute a moratorium on similar events in the future. We further call upon the University of Toronto administration to institute an immediate and permanent ban on all forms of military presence on campus, including any form of recruitment or advertising, as well as speaking events by members of the military. This includes the planned talk by Brigadier-General Jonathan Vance at the Munk Centre on Feb. 15. We are convinced that only such decisive and firm action by the University Career Centre and the University administration can uphold the University's stated commitment to the protection of human rights, and extricate us from the abusive logic of militarism.

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Nicholas JoyceBy:
Culture and SocietyIn:
Petition target:
University of Toronto

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