Ryerson student takes veganism discrimination dispute to Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario
The Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario is to decide whether ethical veganism is a creed, as protected by anti-discrimination laws, in the case of a Ryerson University master’s student in social work who claims senior faculty “sabotaged” her career because of her moral equivalence of animals and humans.
Sinem Ketenci, 37, who immigrated from Turkey as a young woman and studied at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay before doing a master’s at Ryerson, alleges a senior professor disagreed with her comparison of maltreated animals with marginalized people, said the connection was “very inhuman and racist,” and pressured Ms. Ketenci’s untenured supervisor into withdrawing his recommendation of her PhD candidacy at other schools, which she called an academic “kiss of death.”
In an interview Monday, Ms. Ketenci said the fallout has extended to her personal life, costing her friends among fellow students, and left her “traumatized.”
“This systemic discrimination and harassment that silences marginalized minority peoples’ voices, such as me as a Racialized Ethical Vegan, is a serious threat towards freedom of speech and freedom of belief,” Ms. Ketenci writes in her complaint to the tribunal.
“I entered the [master’s] program with good intentions, and instead, I was attacked and treated unfairly because of my belief in ethical veganism and because I am a member of a marginalized community, vegan animal rights activists.” (Photo: Peter J. Thompson/National Post)