University of Toronto Students' Union and Black Students' Association condemn hateful, racist vandalism at York University



    TORONTO, Jan. 26 /CNW/ - The University of Toronto Students' Union
(U.T.S.U.) and the Black Students' Association (BSA) are outraged by the
anti-black slurs that have defaced the York University Student Centre. On
Tuesday, the door of the York University Black Students' Alliance (YUBSA)
office and a bathroom adjacent to the office were vandalized with hateful,
racist remarks.
    The University of Toronto Students' Union is committed to equity and
stands in solidarity with York University students against this incident. "We
support the York Federation of Students' call for a campus-wide safety audit,"
said Sandy Hudson, U.T.S.U Vice President Equity, "All students should be able
to benefit from a safe campus, free from fear of persecution. In addition to
this incident, York has seen three sexual assaults in the last five months. It
is critical that York University works with the York Federation of Students to
bring immediate action to the increasingly unsafe environment at York."
    The University of Toronto itself is no stranger to racism. U.T.S.U., the
BSA, and other campus groups, have condemned The Varsity, a campus
publication, for publishing a spoof article in November 2007 depicting an
individual in blackface. "To think that a newspaper at one of the most diverse
post-secondary institutions in the country could consider it appropriate to
incite humor from a racist form of entertainment designed to degrade Black
people is shameful," said Hudson. The Varsity to date has refused to
apologize.
    "There is no justification for racism and acts of hate," said Alicia
Clarke, BSA President. "It is particularly sad when such incidents occur in
settings of higher learning, for education is the best solution to racial
ignorance. The BSA will continue in our struggle against racism on and off
campus, in solidarity with YUBSA in their fight against hate crimes and
anti-Black sentiments."
    U.T.S.U. and the BSA stress the importance of a timely response from the
York University administration. In the past, the University of Toronto has
been slow to condemn such acts or refused to classify them as hate-inspired.
This lack of response only served to further divide the campus community.
    U.T.S.U. and the BSA will attend YUBSA's rally at Vari Hall at 1:00pm on
Tuesday, January 29.





For further information:

For further information: Sandy Hudson, Vice President Equity, University
of Toronto Students' Union, (416) 978-4911 x237 or (416) 722-8842; Alicia
Clarke, President, Black Students' Association, (416) 670-8667

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