tk-housing-letter

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Brothers:

The Tau Kappa Chapter House is in jeopardy and we need your help immediately. All Brothers are called to action regardless of chapter affiliation or where you live. This is a threat to fraternities and sororities in general and affects Phi Gamma Delta in particular.

As you may know, the City of Toronto has been targeting fraternity and sorority houses for several years, arguing that they are in fact rooming houses (now referred to as multi-tenant houses), and should be licensed as such.

You will recall that a small but vocal group of residents who live near sorority and fraternity houses in the Annex have levelled all manner of accusations against us: that we are too noisy, that we do not maintain our properties appropriately, that we promote an atmosphere of toxic masculinity, that our homes are fire traps. It’s also been alleged several times that there are more sexual assaults in our homes than other student residences.

In recent years, by-law officers have begun targeting our houses. They routinely serve notices of supposed violations but mix up the properties or issue the exact violation for every fraternity and sorority house on the street. They have also attempted to inspect our homes without any basis (they were politely refused and referred to our legal counsel).

In addition to hiring a lawyer to represent us in these cases, and following up all notices of violations, SoFra (the Sorority and Fraternity Federation) has also engaged a lobbyist to help us navigate city hall. Our goal has been to find a more constructive way of working with the City and our neighbours to resolve any issues, and to move away from the idea of licensing our homes as multi-tenant housing (which, incidentally, would solve none of the charges levied against us.)

We participated in the City’s review of multi-tenant housing, where we argued that we should not be included in the pending by-law. We also had a meeting with our local councillor, Mike Layton, who admitted licensing would not solve the issues raised by our neighbours and said he was open to a compromise.  

However, fraternities and sororities have been explicitly named in the definition of multi-tenant housing in the City’s draft bylaw, which was only made public this week (Wednesday June 23rd, 20210, and goes before Toronto City Council’s Planning and Housing Committee on Monday June 28th. 

This is an egregious inclusion, and hugely discriminatory. While the definition of a multi-tenant house includes fraternity and sorority houses like ours, it explicitly excludes all other forms of student housing, including co-operative student residences owned or leased by a non-profit, non-share corporation and providing housing accommodation on a co-operative basis. 

As most fraternity and sorority houses are owned by a non-profit, non-share corporation and provide housing accommodation on a co-operative basis, it seems the City has managed the impossible: to suck and blow at the same time.

SoFra is fighting this inclusion and will make a deputation before the Committee on Monday. We are also consulting with our legal counsel on appropriate legal remedies. 

But we need your help. 

Please send a letter by Monday to the councillors who sit on the committee (see below for names and email address), registering your protest. We’ve taken the liberty of automating this process for you at onfiji.net/tk-housing-letter. You can fill out our form with your email and any additional comments. You can send individual emails directly to each councillor, or to the committee as a whole through the committee secretary. If you live in a ward represented by one of the councillors, please send your email directly to that councillor. And please also be sure to cc the mayor when you do so. 

I’ve attached a draft letter for you to copy, should you prefer not to prepare your own. We would like as many Brothers as possible to submit letters, so that our municipal leaders are aware of the breadth of our membership, and that we will not stand to have our rights violated.

If you have any questions about this matter, you can speak to me directly at rob.ciszek@gmail.com 

We would also be grateful if you would share this broadly with your network, urging them to act.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Rob Ciszek
President
Tau Kappa Building Association. 

Councillor contact information and a draft email appears below. We’ve taken the liberty of automating this process for you at onfiji.net/tk-housing-letter. You can fill out our form with your email and any additional contacts. 

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Contact information

The Planning and Housing Committee members

Committee Secretary
Nancy Martins, phc@toronto.ca

Copy to

Find your City Councillor
https://www.toronto.ca/city-government/council/members-of-council/ 

Letter

Download the letter here SOFRA.general letter for alumnae.25June2021.v2

Or fill out this form and send automatically to Mayor Tory and the responsible Councillors:


[contact-form-7 id=”3614″ title=”SoFra Letter of Support”]
 

 

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