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Student center shutdown leads to protests, suspensions

Students say they’re being targeted for activism

October 31, 2013 | The Columbia Journalist

Over a week after City College reclaimed a space used as a student center, two student activists who had vigorously protested the college’s decision to take over the space were suspended from the university.

Tafader Sourov, 19, and Khalil Vasquez, 22, say they’re being punished for their leadership in recent demonstrations against college administrators.

On October 20, students at City College learned their Morales/Shakur Community Center, on the third floor of the North Academic Center, no longer existed. College officials had taken back the space on Oct. 19, saying they needed the space to expand career services.

The disappearance of the center—which was founded in 1989 and is a breeding ground for leftist activism on campus—has prompted three protests so far. Two of them have turned aggressive. On October 21, alumnus David Sukar was arrested for refusing to leave the North Academic Center. And later that week on Thursday, he was arrested and pepper sprayed after, college officials said, he used “his child as a shield” to “bypass public safety officers and enter the Administration Building.”

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Baldwin’s “stalker” gets 30 days for contempt

November 13, 2014 | The Columbia Journalist

Genevieve Sabourin got handed 30 days in jail before her trial even finished.

The Canadian bit-actress and publicist accused of stalking Alec Baldwin is being tried this week in Criminal Court in Manhattan. She has refused to plead guilty for over a year. She’s even turned down slap-on-the-wrist bargains from the prosecutor that would have meant no jail time if she promised to respect the rules of her restraining order.

As Sabourin, who has insisted she and Baldwin were in a romantic relationship, has said previously, “You don’t plead guilty to something you didn’t do.” 

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Books vs. Vaginas

Christian writers say that retailer pressure to ‘sanitize’ their language has left them with little creative space.

August 6, 2012 | Religion Dispatches

When Christian author Rachel Held Evans finished her last book, her publisher suggested she remove the word “vagina.”

“Your editors consult with you about what will not get past the Christian bookstore gatekeepers,” she told me. Words like ‘kick-ass’ and ‘damn’ are out, naturally. But as Evans said, “I was fine with it, until they got to the word ‘vagina.’”

While the author did agree to the edit, she later mentioned it on her blog to let off some steam—her readers were incensed.

They “were really up in arms about the fact that I would have to take out something like that, you know, just basic anatomy,”  she said. One even started a petition on Amazon to let Evans keep the word in her book. She talked again with her publisher, who agreed to put it back in. “I guess we kind of won ‘vaginagate,’”she jokes. “I just don’t know if it will be in Christian bookstores.”

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Testosterone shortage

Health Canada fails to act as drug shortages impact trans men

January 6, 2012 |

An ongoing drug shortage is causing a hassle for trans men and other users of injectable testosterone.

Mary Potter is a registered nurse with the Sherbourne Health Centre’s LGBT Primary Care Program. She says the most important thing for users to know is that they have other options for medication.

“The issue is when they don’t come to see us or… they’re told by the pharmacy that they just don’t have it and people are waiting without the medication,” she says.

Waiting, rather than finding an alternative drug, can result in a lapse of the medication’s effects. “They should be coming in to see their physicians or nurse practitioners because they can be switched to a different compound.”

She says that this is the second time a shortage of the drug has happened this year. “We actually had a recent problem with Delatestryl being back ordered; there was an issue with the raw material in the summer,” Potter says.

Five pharmacies in Toronto were asked about the availability of Delatestryl. All the pharmacists contacted said the drug was on back-order.

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Sex-work legal battle leaves women without recourse

“Business as usual” for Ontario police leaves some sex workers unsure about their safety

August 4, 2011 | Ryerson Free Press

The legal battle over sex-work laws went to the Ontario Court of Appeal this month, causing some sex workers and advocates to start asking what will happen next in what they describe as a fight for safer working conditions.

Morgan Page, trans sex-work outreach officer at the 519 Community Centre, is not optimistic. She says she expects the court system to draw out the stay for as long as possible before new, potentially harsher regulatory practices are discussed in the House of Commons.

Page suspects that the stays the government is requesting will be granted “after exhausting as much time as they possibly can…that appeal will be appealed by whoever didn’t win, and it will keep being appealed until it eventually gets to the Supreme Court of Canada where we will have the actual decision.”

That decision may not look as good as sex workers had originally hoped, said Page. “The Harper government is not going to back down all of a sudden. That would be political suicide for them.”

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