Help us fight racism in uOttawa
On October 19th, our uOttawa community once again witnessed another disturbing incident involving a hate/bias graffiti that occurred on the uOttawa campus, and it is currently being investigated as a hate crime. For non-Black folks, freedom to use the n-word during an academic setting might not seem like a big deal, but it can have a huge ripple effect and let non-Black people think they can say the n-word whenever as long as they have an excuse. The hate-driven incident on October 19th is a direct result from this.
The message sent by President Jacques Frémont of the University does not go far enough to address the incident, and it has effectively invalidated the personal experiences of Black students through his defence of academic freedom. Let us be clear: this is not about academic freedom; this is about the use of a derogatory word in classrooms and its effect on Black students. uOttawa has missed an opportunity to engage on a sincere conversation about university initiatives, race, and responsible academic freedom.
In one short year, our Black community has taken hit after hit. Multiple racially-motivated carding incidents, 30+ professors wanting to say racial slurs, and now, a racist and hateful graffiti. How many more? Black people deserve to live with dignity and without the fear of oppression, trauma, and dehumanization in their own educational institution that they paid for. Yet again, students, especially Black students, are told to toughen up and move on as the professors go undisciplined.
Here is our action plan, but we need your help!
- This time, we want you to tell us what changes, demands, actions you want us to bring to the University. We have created a Facebook group for students and grassroots to come together, brainstorm actions to effectively pressure the University, share resources and events. If you are concerned about racism on campus, want to get involved in advocacy, or just curious on what we are doing, we highly encourage you to join our Facebook group!
- We compiled a list of email templates for you to send to 30+ professors who signed the letter calling for their freedom to use the n-word, President Frémont, the Deans, Professor Associations, your professor, media outlets and politicians, to let them know your concerns.
- Sign this petiton to urge uOttawa to discipline the professor who said the n-word, and denounce the use of racial slurs in academic settings.
- Get on Twitter, engage and speak about this issue to help us raise awareness!
Read our official statement here.
- June 12, 2019: Koulmiye-Boyce, a Black student, was carded, handcuffed and detained by campus security for over two hours. An independent investigation later found the incident to be an act of racial discrimination.
- September 14, 2019: Wiliston Mason, a Black student, said a security guard demanded his ID, then pushed him and grabbed at his belongings as he returned to the residence where he lives and works.
- October 1, 2020: President Frémont stressed that although the incident was regrettable, it had been a catalyst for the University to reflect and to take significant new steps to ensure that the uOttawa community never again unintentionally perpetuate or reinforce attitudes or behaviours that undermine the dignity of any person on campus.
- May 19, 2020: A report commissioned by the University of Ottawa’s human rights office has found that race played a role in Wiliston Mason being stopped by security while entering his residence.
- March 14, 2020: University of Ottawa president Jacques Frémont called the June 2019 carding incident of Jamal Koulmiye-Boyce “a good crisis,” drawing backlash from the school community.
- September 2020: An email was sent by the Faculty of Law to all students addressing multiple complaints received regarding racist remarks made during online zoom breakout sessions in the absence of the professor.
- September 30, 2020: Dr. Verushka Lieutenant-Duval said the n-word during her lecture in her course ART 3317. In attempting to apologize for her action, she states that this is a regular occurrence among white professors at the University. She also encourages non-Black students to explain to the class why the use of anti-Black slurs is inappropriate. It must be mentioned that it is inappropriate for a non-Black student to be asked to speak on behalf of the Black community..
- October 15, 2020: Association of Part-Time Professors of the University of Ottawa (APTPUO) shared an article written by columnist Isabelle Hachey, which has ignorant, invalidating and reprehensible comments made in support of the professor.
- October 16, 2020: The Association of Professors at uOttawa (APUO) wrote a letter expressing their concern for academic freedom after the backlash with professor Lieutenant-Duval. They did not consult with the BIPOC caucus who oppose to this statement, and later issued an apology for their mishandling.
- October 17, 2020: A group of 34 University of Ottawa professors signed a letter to express their disagreement with the University’s treatment of professor Verushka Lieutenant-Duval, citing academic freedom.
- October 19, 2020: a disturbing incident involving a hate/bias graffiti that occurred on the uOttawa campus, and it is currently being investigated as a hate crime
- October 20, 2020: Another professor used the n-word