By Jason Herring, March 7 2017 —
A political student club at the University of Calgary is in disarray after coming under fire for sending an email saying that “feminism is cancer.”
Wildrose on Campus (WROC) sent the email to promote their screening of The Red Pill — an anti-feminist documentary film about the men’s rights movement — in That Empty Space on March 8, International Women’s Day.
“You and I both know that feminism is cancer,” read the WROC email. “To create a dialogue on campus, we have decided to take action.”
According to Keean Bexte, who resigned as the WROC vice-president external on March 7, the email was sent out by the club’s communications director Robert McDavid. Bexte said McDavid has since been fired.
McDavid could only be reached through his Facebook profile, which contained a single public post reading “Going on lockdown. SJWs are prowling.” The Gauntlet reached out to McDavid over Facebook, who declined to comment.
The profile seemed to be created on March 7, with the only viewable posts added on that day. The Facebook profile was removed by Facebook for violating the website’s community guidelines early in the morning March 8.
Former WROC president Jenn Galandy, as well as another former member who requested to stay anonymous, both said they had never heard of McDavid.
Galandy said in a March 7 statement that she was disappointed, but not surprised, with the comment and the club’s “alt-right” message and event.
“I am not surprised or shocked to see the current WROC executive participate in a men’s rights activist event, because that is who these people are,” Galandy said. “It is my belief that through this ordeal, they are anti-women, anti-feminist, anti-LGBT, anti-everything.”
WROC faced criticism from all sides of the political spectrum due to the controversial email. Calgary-North West MLA Sandra Jansen, who left the PC party to join the NDP in November, spoke out against the email in legislature.
“While we take action on domestic violence, they say feminism is a horrible disease. That is the Wildrose,” Jansen said. “They’ve proven time and time again they can’t keep their true colours from showing.”
Wildrose Party leader Brian Jean also denounced the club’s actions.
“We need to encourage women to be engaged in the political process, not make them feel alienated. Glad action was taken here,” Jean tweeted.
Following the incident, Wildrose Party executive director Jeremy Nixon sent a cease and desist letter to WROC, telling the club to stop using the party logo.
The controversy follows a Feb. 22 meeting in which the Wildrose Party drafted a bylaw to require third-party organizations that use the Wildrose brand to obtain official recognition by the party. Nixon said that though this policy change would’ve happened regardless of the WROC email, the controversy sped up the process. Now other Wildrose Party student clubs on Alberta campuses are being informed on how to have their clubs recognized by the party.
“It does apply to all third-party organizations that want to use our logo,” Nixon said. “It was just kind of fast-tracked.”
The University of Calgary Conservatives student club originally planned to co-host the screening with WROC but backed out after WROC’s email went viral.
“We consider the email sent out by [WROC] to be wrong and offensive. It does not represent the views of U of C Conservatives,” reads a club statement on Facebook.
The Canadian Advocates for Freedom and Liberty will still screen The Red Pill at the U of C on March 8 as originally planned.
The WROC constitution can be viewed here.