Media Release - Students condemn racist posters found at York University

TORONTO, Sept. 15, 2015 /CNW/ - The York Federation of Students would like to take this opportunity to address the violent and racist "White Student Union" posters placed around campuses within the GTA that have made students at York University feel unsafe, harassed and unwelcome.

The "White Student Union" organizers mission statement says that they "aim to explore ethnic, and cultural politics that does not exclude rightists or conservative perspectives, organize for the advance and interests of Western peoples and to promote and celebrate Western Civilization."

Posters with this type of information are not surprising. Academia and our post-secondary institutions are filled with institutional racism, white supremacy and misogyny that continue to reproduce as marginalized students learn to navigate through campuses that weren't built for them in the first place. These posters have no place on our campus and in our communities.

What now is being termed "western civilization" is nothing more than colonialism. We should not be celebrating this history, but rather reflecting on the suffering many have had to bear at the hands of colonizers. This is stolen land, and by celebrating certain aspects of western civilization without acknowledging the genocide and cultural whitewashing of those who this land belonged to, we continue to propagate the white supremacist revision of history. There can be no celebration in regards to colonization of different countries, which has resulted in many students on this campus being displaced and coming from war-torn regions.

The "White Student Union" emerges on our campus to reaffirm white privilege at a time when institutional racism and sexism are being challenged by multiple community-based groups targeting issues such as carding, police brutality and unsafe academic spaces.

Organizations like this reinforce the need for us to have safer spaces on campus such as community service groups. Last year, York students were targeted by a flyer condemning immigration and racial diversity. When statements like this are made, racialized students feel even more targeted on campus.

The mainstream media silences the voices of marginalized students. This is why, as the York Federation of Students, we seek to take on issues that affect the most marginalized on our campus, and to provide services and resources that support their academic endeavors. We call on York University to reaffirm its commitment to creating a safer space while combatting the oppressive attacks that this organization and others like it have posed for students on our campuses.

SOURCE York Federation of Students

For further information: For more information please contact: Mithilen Mathipalan, YFS President, 416-666-8491 or 416-736-5324 ext 33627; Hamid Osman, Executive Director, York Federation of Students, 416-736-5324 ext 77674

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