Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario launches Task Force to study racism on Ontario campuses

    TORONTO, Feb. 18 /CNW/ - The Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario
launched the Task Force on Campus Racism today at George Brown College in
Toronto. The Task Force is going to investigate racism on college and
university campuses in Ontario and compile a report of strategies for
challenging individual acts or race-motivated discrimination and hate, as well
as deeper systemic causes of racism in post-secondary education.
    "There have been numerous high-profile instances of racism over the past
few years on Ontario campuses," said Shelley Melanson, Chairperson of the
Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario. "Students have launched this Task
Force in order to bring our campus communities together to challenge racism
and share ideas and strategies for making colleges and universities more
inclusive places."
    The format of the Task Force on Campus Racism has been modeled after the
successful Task Force on the Needs of Muslim Students that was conducted in
2006-2007 to identify not only incidents of Islamophobia but also structural
ways in which Muslim students were excluded from campus life and academic
programming. "What we learned from the Task Force on the Needs of Muslim
Students was that the challenges we face aren't isolated to one campus," said
Hildah Otieno, Ontario National Executive Representative of the Canadian
Federation of Students. "We are hoping to identify common challenges and learn
from successes and achievements on different campuses."
    "If you want to understand a problem, you need to go to the people most
affected," said Sandy Hudson, National Students of Colour Representative of
the Canadian Federation of Students and President of the University of Toronto
Students' Union. "If left unaddressed, racism can really divide a campus but
challenging it can be a empowering experience."
    "We hope to gather experiences that can illustrate the structures that
perpetuate racism in colleges and universities and develop a guide for all
campus community members to use to combat racism, discrimination and hate,"
said Krisna Saravanamuttu, Students of Colour Commissioner of the Canadian
Federation of Students-Ontario and Vice-President Equity of the York
Federation of Students.
    Task Force members will travel to hearings across the province and take
statements from racialised students, faculty and staff about their experiences
and possible solutions to racism on campus. The Task Force will compile a
report summarising the content of the hearings, identifying themes and making
recommendations for change at various institutional and governmental levels.
For more information on the Task Force visit:

    The Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario unites more than 300,000
college and university students at 35 students' unions across the province.

For further information:

For further information: Hildah Otieno, Ontario National Executive
Representative: (416) 925-3825 or (416) 702-2967 (cell); Shelley Melanson,
Chairperson: (416) 925-3825 or (416) 882-9927 (cell)

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