Is Seneca Newnham Pride enough for the struggling LGBTQ+ students at Seneca campuses? Not unless advertising the college at a Parade is the only need of the campus. In 2017-2018 Ashton Deroy helped the Seneca Pride President & Vice President in trying to make Seneca Pride a more accommodating group to Seneca College. However, there were major roadblocks.
In May 2018, Ashton Deroy was dismissed from the Seneca Pride team as the secretary after two years split between an executive and volunteer web coordinator position. In this interview, Diana Skye will ask questions about the dissolve, the state of the group, and Seneca Student Federation. On May 27th Diana Skye called Ashton Deroy over VoIP to get the details of this interview.
Why did you get involved with Seneca Pride?
I wanted to meet a guy, it sounds cliche, right? Just that I thought this would be a great place to meet my potential boyfriend. What I ended up finding instead? This was my purpose for working with the group which was helping LGBTQ+ plus people with activism, resources, and politics.
How did you help Seneca Pride during your time there? What did you hope to achieve with the group?
With Seneca Pride, I donated my web design graduate certificate from St. Lawrence college as I manage the group’s social media, website and event promotion. What I did is make sure things didn’t go static as often as I could. I was often working hard to manage this dovetailed with other obligations like reaching out to new business clients, starting our first SEO project the Toronto-Businessphere and managing the business school courses. However, I was passionate about connecting students with the Seneca Pride/Out&About resource.
What was the impact of Seneca Pride becoming part of the Seneca Student Federation?
At first, this was a really positive alliance and indexing. However, over time the SSF has shifted to a more fascist & authoritarian style of management you see this with the high regulation on SSF student government campaigns. This trickled down to our group in my dismissal, I posted an opportunity for students to use me as a reference to get involved with my current employer. At this job, they would have made $15 then $16 an hour. This was my way of addressing the income inequality issue faced by LGBTQ+ students. This was the event that leads to my dismissal due to a policy that considered this outside promotion of another employer. This will not be considered valid to me. I consider it student censorship.
What happened after you were dismissed from Seneca Pride? How do you see the group going forward without your services?
I’ve had people tell me they can manage it all without me. The truth is the President for 2018 was almost never there because of her outside involvements which often lead to the group devolving into chaos. The new president for the next school year left the group in 2017 as soon as she had a girlfriend and was never very much help at all after that. I think the future is bleak because you have an executive team that operates a clique and rejects foreign ideas. The censorship they are committing is directly going to interfere with the group being considered a safe space and should directly impact their ability to have office space.
Diana Skye says: Thank you for your time, Ashton. I think that you joined Seneca Pride with the best intentions. However, I cannot say the same for the leaders of the group and the Seneca Student Federation. It appears that they do not like dissenting opinions since they are micromanaging everything. I agree that their future is bleak. They will have more issues if they do not change their approach.
Ashton Deroy concludes: I also want to say during my time at Seneca College. I have suffered from PTSD as a result of an ex-abusive relationship. Not only was I barely able to share in Seneca Pride, but I was quite easily outcast and isolated. There was a video I recorded for the counseling department that says how much this group helped with my depression. Well, it is a good thing I got a medical marijuana prescription because the last communications I had with the Seneca Pride executives were all triggering! Fortunately thanks to the help of the counselors alone. I will be connecting with the 519 group in Toronto for LGBTQ+ counseling within the community.