A group that has been approaching female students on the University of Guelph-Humber campus promoting a religion that identifies the Christian God as female was reported to university security on Friday but do not appear to be dangerous.
At least one student publication and local media in the United States have reported on those referencing the so-called “God of mother” phrase with rumours circulating on social media that the group is affiliated with a human sex trafficking ring.
Vice President of IGNITE John Kokkoros told the Post he alerted campus security first thing on Friday morning after hearing about the incidents on Thursday night.
“I personally don’t take these things lightly and wanted to be better safe than sorry by passing the information to security,” Kokkoros said in a statement.
This group that has taken over Guelph-Humber social media groups and been the focus of much discussion online is not related to a sex trafficking ring, but is affiliated with the World Mission Society Church of God, a organized religious institution based in New Jersey.
The rumours about the apperant evangelicals were described by Lexington Police in Kentucky as unsubstantiated on Dec. 30 of last year, but the instituition has been described in the past as a cult, according to an NBC News Lexington affiliate.
It is unknown exactly when the sex trafficking rumours popped up, but they appear to have begun in when the church opened a chapter in the Liousville area, based on the local media reports from the U.S. shortly before the New Year.
Local police did admit that that the group may just be aggressively recruiting, according to NBC News.
An article posted by the Vanderbilt Hustler, a student publication for the university, reported on Jan. 29 that students were engaged by a Caucasian woman and older black man talking about “God the mother”.
The pair reportedly attempted to “exchange contact information or lead them away from campus.”
The Post has reached out to university administration officials for comment, with no response at this time.
Psychology Program third year Hannah Derue told the Post that she encountered the envangelicals “probably in late December” of last year on the bridge between the university and Humber College, were they were “insistent” to share their beliefs.
Derue, 20, said she was stopped a pair of two females that she described as “about my age”, who introduced themselves as Korean who had thick accents that wanted to talk about their beliefs that recognize the Christian God as female.
Derue, thinking they were lost on campus, asked if they were looking for directions.
The pair responded that they wanted to talk about the female form of God, and Derue, uninterested, said she had to leave to the “expressive” disappointment of the religious individuals.
A female Guelph-Humber student told the Post on condition of anonymity that she was “confronted in the Humber [College] building right outside Starbucks” on Thursday evening by a woman of Chinese ethnicity that appeared to be a student.
The source, who will be identified as Jane Smith, said that she was getting napkins to clean a coffee spill around 5 p.m. when she paused for a moment to listen to a guest lecturer in the lobby before being approached by the woman, who wore glasses.
Smith was asked whether she believed in God and if she wanted to join a bible study, which the student refused and left to attend a midterm examination, describing a “funny vibe” she had felt due to the experience.
When Smith heard of similar experiences being posted about on social media by peers at Guelph-Humber, the source said she realized “how wrong it could have turned if I had given her any information [or] even given her more of my time”.
“I hope spreading the word will make people aware to take precautions and maybe will even scare these horrible people away,” Smith told the Post.
“It’s so close to home and frightening that this could be happening at our school.”
More stories and details to follow. Image of the University of Guelph-Humber from previous files.
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IGNITE discounted Frosh tickets due to underselling
A staffer source speaks to The Avro Post.
IGNITE earlier this week released a 50 per cent off discount code for Frosh previously reserved for those that opted in and a staffer with the student union told The Avro Post on the condition of anonymity that the move was made because tickets were underselling.
The source was unable to reveal how many tickets had been sold so far, only that the discount was put in place because the mark was not hit. Frosh, a paint party taking place this Saturday evening at Woodbine Racetrack, differs from previous years where musical talent was the feature.
The staffer, based at Lakeshore Campus, told The Post that the student union is also concerned about the upcoming Wild ‘N Out event taking place in October. When the MTV show visited Humber College last year, the event was full and potentially sold out.
The source also expressed concern for IGNITE’s monthly contest where the student union gives away $1,000 in a draw, questioning why the student union would give away thousands of dollars for nine months if they are operating on a potentially smaller budget.
For now, it is unclear why Frosh would be underselling. In recent years, Frosh has been busy and bustling, however, the change from musical talent to a paint party could have come into play for some students. IGNITE has also been using paid advertisements on social media to promote the event.
The Student Choice Initiative has created a split between students who remained opted in to certain IGNITE fees and those that have chosen to opt out. Events like Frosh show that there will be a new standard in a first-come, first-serve basis, giving exclusives to financial supporters.
The first indication of this came with the Frosh party kits. The first 100 students who bought tickets and had remained opted in to the Events and Opportunities Fee were eligible for the kits. It is expected that there will be more of these exclusives over the course of the academic year.
Sources told The Post on Saturday that club executives would have to remain opted in to the Leadership and Development Fee to keep their positions. The move could set a precedent for future leadership opportunities such as IGNITE elections.
Many of the changes will likely become clear with the Special Meeting of the Members on Oct. 16 where a new constitution is expected to be ratified by students and questioned answered in a press conference-style event in the Humber College Student Centre at North Campus.
The Avro Post will reach out for comment from IGNITE. ■
Guelph-Humber professor unreachable after giving failing grades
An investigation by The Avro Post.
SPECIAL REPORT ⓘ
Diego Williams, a third year Media Business student at the University of Guelph-Humber, has been unable to acquire a breakdown of his grades from a spring course because the professor has been unreachable by both Williams and the school, The Avro Post has learned.
Williams, and at least three other students who came forward to The Avro Post, received failing grades from Professor Thomas Borzecki in his AHSS*3080 Web Design class of Winter 2018, but follow-ups were ignored.
Borzecki is a professor at both Humber College and the University of Guelph-Humber, according to his LinkedIn work history, and has faculty email addresses for both institutions, to which students sent messages.
Williams returned to Guelph-Humber in September determined to sort out what he said was a mistake, as he had excelled in the class, and went to academic advisor Andrea Campea to challenge the 21 per cent final mark.
Williams admitted that he was unaware the deadline for appealing a final mark received in the spring semester was May 18, but still wanted to know how Borzecki came to the conclusion of a failing grade.
Most professors use Courselink, a service that allows students to submit assignments digitally and also is where the results of projects and examinations will be posted, usually with a breakdown and comments.
However, Borzecki took student submissions via his professional website at ThomasBorzecki.ca, thus no one at Guelph-Humber could access a record of submissions or results.
Campea advised Williams to reach out to Borzecki so that the student could get a transcript from his spring professor so that movement could be made in terms of obtaining a breakdown of what occurred.
When Williams could not get a hold of Borzecki, despite repeated attempts through his Gryph Mail and Humber College faculty email, Campea talked to her superior, Registrar Grant Kerr.
According to Williams, Campea told him that Mr. Kerr said there was nothing the University of Guelph-Humber could do to get a hold of Borzecki, leaving Williams disenfranchised with the school.
Diego Williams was not alone in the marking issues and communication struggles with Borzecki, who did not respond to a request for comment from The Avro Post submitted on his professional website.
Another student in Borzecki’s Web Design course in the winter 2018 semester, whose identity The Avro Post has agreed to keep anonymous due to concerns of academic backlash, said that she was ignored by the professor when she attempted to follow up after he only graded half of her final assignment.
The second student, who is in Media Studies, received a final grade of 38, and told the Post: “I only received a mark for the photoshop portion of the assignment but nothing for the coding portion.”
She told the Post about two unverified cases where her friends were in similar circumstances with Borzecki giving them low grades and ignoring follow-up’s, however, one of them got it fixed via her academic advisor.
Another student came forward to The Avro Post after this story was published and said that he also was not marked for the photoshop portion of the final project, which combines coding and graphic design elements.
A fourth anonymous student from Web Design Winter 2018 said she received a 30 per cent final grade, a mark she believes was very low and inconsistent from her usual academic standing.
She followed up with Borzecki on April 15 in an email seen by The Avro Post, but there was no response, despite his replies to two previous emails she had sent asking questions during the semester.
Borzecki was still employed at Humber College in September, according to his LinkedIn profile, and The Avro Post was able to verify that he is listed to teach at least one course next semester, for Winter 2019.
The Avro Post gave the University of Guelph-Humber and Thomas Borzecki a day and a half to respond to emails sent to multiple addresses.
Editor’s Note: The identities of the three separate cases were verified by The Avro Post with student email addresses and other documents. All effort was given to making sure Thomas Borzecki was reached via email as there was no phone number listed on his professional website.
If you have had a similar experience with Thomas Borzecki or any professor, please reach out via our secure Contact page.
Image of the University of Guelph Humber from The Avro Post. ■
Progress Report: IGNITE platforms largely not followed through on
Progress Report 2018
Staff | Analysis
This is the first annual Progress Report done by The Avro Post on the status of the IGNITE student government, and how much of their platform has been completed about halfway through their term.
A score is given based on the amount of platform items an IGNITE official has started or completed. For example, if Jane Smith ran on a four-part platform and she had started only two items, then she would get a 50 per cent score.
All IGNITE executives were given over three full days to respond to requests from The Avro Post asking to confirm their original platform points and what moves they have made so far to complete them, however, none of them replied.
The Avro Post found that out of a combined 11 platform items from all the elected IGNITE executives that could be identified, one full and two partial platform points were completed, giving an overall average of 18 per cent success rate from original platforms.
A poll detailing how much the IGNITE student union matters to students at the University of Guelph-Humber and Humber College campuses has been released by The Avro Post on Twitter.
POLL: How much does the IGNITE student union matter to you?
— The Avro Post (@TAPBreaking) November 12, 2018
IGNITE President Monica Khosla campaigned on improving accessibility campus-wide, and also addressed concerns over transparency.
During the first Elections Forum during the campaign last spring, Khosla cited physical and social accessibility as areas of improvement for IGNITE.
She referenced work she did representing students at the AODA committee that exists to hold campus to standards found in the provincial disabilities act.
Khosla also talked cited what she called a deficit in awareness for IGNITE events and opportunities.
So how well has she implemented her platform at the halfway point?
Khosla has worked hard on the accessibility angle, bringing about the focus groups that just concluded on Tuesday.
However, the issue of transparency has not seen any drastic improvements so far. Thus, The Avro Post gives Khosla a midterm Progress Report score of:
(1 out of 2)
IGNITE Vice President Maheen Nazim, who represents the University of Guelph-Humber, campaigned on three points: accessibility, flexibility and student input.
Nazim’s most notable platform promise was to create an IGNITE mobile app that would provide accessibility needs, proposing functionality like “updates, real-time parking and upcoming student events” in an interview with The Avro Post.
On flexibility, Nazim wanted more summer placement opportunities and less repetition in courses as part of a flexibility effort, an academic concern that would be exclusively under the purview of the University of Guelph Senate, according to the secretariat.
She also promised to put students first, saying that her “personal focus will always be the students and their needs.”
In an effort to work on transparency, the Justice Studies student said that IGNITE should host an “online forum to educate the students on what is going on behind the scenes”.
Nazim explained the forum would help to fix the issue of IGNITE not communicating with students before they “go searching for answers”, a similar platform item to that of her Lakeshore Campus counterpart Graham Budgeon.
In an IGNITE video released just last week, Nazim added that she is now working on “student leadership” and, while it is possible there has been some movement in that direction, the Progress Report only takes into consideration promises made on campaign platforms.
So how well has she implemented her platform at the halfway point?
First off, Nazim confirmed to The Avro Post just before the fall semester started that she dropped her plans to launch an IGNITE app, after declining to comment in June.
The fourth year instead told The Avro Post that the mobile IGNITE app would “not be an initiative this year”, explaining that “student communications” would be her focus.
An IGNITE student forum has yet to come online, and there has been no announcement from the student union thus far.
It is not known what Nazim has done at this point towards the platform she ran on.
The Avro Post reached out for comment from the fourth year so she could clarify what she does in regards to her platform and also day-to-day, but Nazim did not specify beyond when she said “student communications” was her focus earlier this year.
The app was secretively pushed aside without explanation, the academic concerns are not applicable to the position of the vice president and an online forum is not here and no one from IGNITE will confirm if it’s on the way, so The Avro Post scores Nazim with:
(0 out of 3 platform items)
VP, North Campus
IGNITE Vice President of Humber College North Campus Jeremy Afonso campaigned on re-opening the Linx Lounge as a bar and opening new quiet study spaces to tackle overcrowding at the university.
Mr. Afonso also aimed to bring about “academic advocacy” following the five-week college union strike in the fall of 2017, saying that “a lot of people want certain things to change, and that was not offered last year.”
“I think that people came out to speak their voice, because they know what is right, and they know that what I was campaigning for actually makes a difference.”
So how well has Afonso implemented his platform at the halfway point?
Firstly, Linx Lounge became Linx Café this year, but has not been restored to the full bar that it used to be a few years ago and what was promised in Afonso’s platform. For this, part marks can be attributed.
When it comes to new study areas, The Avro Post reached out to Humber College and Afonso for more details, but both failed to respond for eight days before this article was published.
Thus, The Avro Post finds Afonso’s score to be:
(.5 out of 3 items)
IGNITE Vice President of Lakeshore Graham Budgeon campaigned on creating an online portal that would connect students with the student union, developing a student network in the process, and create a permanent IGNITE desk on the first floor of the L building.
So how well has Mr. Budgeon implemented his platform at the halfway point?
There is no portal at this time, a platform item Budgeon dubbed “societies” during his campaign, as reported by Humber Et Cetera, and the vice president did not respond to a request over what the status of the initiative is.
As for a permanent desk on the first floor of L Building at Humber College Lakeshore Campus, and IGNITE staff confirmed to The Avro Post that there has been implementation on that item.
Thus, The Avro Post finds Budgeon’s score to be:
(.5 out of 3 items)
Image of IGNITE logo from IGNITE. The Avro Post carried out this Progress Report using files from Humber News, Humber Et Cetera and The Avro Post. Research carried out by multiple staff members. ■
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