By: Gabrielle McLaren, Features Editor
On June 21, students noticed posters going up around the Burnaby Campus advertising “Get-a-Grip 2018: A ground-breaking youth conference.” This year’s theme “LGBT: Let God Be True” concerned students as the posters had been put up by the Redeemed Christian Fellowship (RCF), a club recognised by the SFSS.
According to the poster, one of the event’s facilitators is Kari Simpson, Executive Director of Culture Guard, a group which has received heat in the past for its treatment of the LGBTQ+ community and its opposition to BC’s more inclusive sexual education curriculum.
As concerns grew about the nature of the event over social media, SFSS released a statement saying that they were not aware that their logo was being used to promote the event. According to the statement, SFSS has instructed the club to remove the logo from all materials related to the event until they have had a chance to meet with representatives from the RCF and learn more about it.
According to the statement by vice-president external relations Jasdeep Gill, “Typically, clubs submit their requests for printed materials (banners, posters, flyers, etc.) in advance, which provides us with an opportunity to review these requests and approve or reject them for publishing.” According to SFSS, this protocol was not followed in this case.
Guidelines for printing can be found on the SFSS Brand Guide and the SFSS Printing Guidelines for Departmental Student Unions and Clubs. The latter reads that: “All promotional material MUST include an SFSS logo, regardless of funds used to print the documents, to remain an active club.” The SFSS Communications Coordinator is responsible for reviewing all material and ensuring that it corresponds with SFSS values.
The SFSS statement ends by noting that “The Simon Fraser Student Society stands in strong support of the LGBTQ+ community. We have a long history of LGBTQ+ advocacy and have also established and continue to support an active Out on Campus office. While we support the right of our student clubs to determine and advocate for their own beliefs, we do not support any speech that is hateful, racist or otherwise demeaning.”
The venue scheduled to host Get-a-Grip 2018, the Anvil Centre in New Westminster, also announced that the event did not correspond with their space allocation policy, and that they would no longer be hosting the event. Simpson informed The Star of her plans to consult lawyers to contest the venue’s cancellation of the event.
The Peak reached out to RCF and the SFSS for comment on Thursday night, but did not receive a response by the print deadline.
More details to come as the story unfolds.