Manitoba Student President Accused of Making Sexist Comments on Instagram


The University of Manitoba (U of M) community is calling for resignation of the president of the Students' Union (UMSU) after a controversial photo and allegedly chauvinist comments surfaced on the Internet.

Several months ago, Al Turnbull, a former tutor, posted a promotional photo for the university's Academic Learning Centre in his personal Instagram account, according to

The picture shows him standing with a woman who is seated at a table. The caption under the image reads, 'Yup that's right, I'll tutor you and check out your cleavage free of charge,' followed by the hashtags 'awkward' and 'powerstance.'

The star landed into trouble after the comments appeared in an online edition of the student newspaper, The Manitoban.

"I think it's something students need to know about," said Quinn Richert, news editor. Reaction began to pour in as soon as the story was posted, said Richert.  "So far, most of the comments have been quite critical of his behavior."

Gina Campbell, a U of M student describes Turnbull's behavior intolerable.

"This is higher education so you would expect a higher level of maturity, also," Campbell said.

For Turnbull, this is not first time, he is facing a controversy. In March, the newly-elected UMSU president was criticised for wearing a T-shirt that read, 'Cool story babe, now go get me a sandwich.'

Turnbull doesn't deny the allegations. But, he said that the comments were made before he was elected president.

Charly Wreggitt, UMSU's women's representative on council, is unhappy with the justification. She wants Turnbull to apologise for his comments.

"The problem is these comments did happen and you're not going to cure your privilege this summer," Wreggitt said. "You're not going to say something in March and suddenly be totally un-sexist in September."

 "Let's vote for a new student president," said Samuel Peers.

The caption has annoyed people beyond the student community as well.

"That is street harassment, and that is not OK," local anti-harassment advocate, Jodie Layne of Hollaback Winnipeg said. "Whether it's being serious about it or making light of it, it's not a funny situation for women that it happens to, so it's really angering and frustrating."

© 2024 University Herald, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.
Join the Discussion
Real Time Analytics