A racist social media post over the weekend has the University community talking about anti-Black racism right here at home.
On Saturday, May 30, a pair of TikTok videos started circulating on social media showing a young white University of Guelph student using overtly racist slurs.
The university responded to a post on Twitter from the official university account acknowledging that they are aware of the situation.
“We will not tolerate any expressions of hatred,” said the Tweet. “We are taking steps to address this troubling situation that we know is hurtful to many.”
UofG has been made aware of a racist social media post by a student. We are a University community committed to mutual respect and anti-racism. We will not tolerate any expressions of hatred. We are taking steps to address this troubling situation that we know is hurtful to many.— University of Guelph (@uofg) May 30, 2020
The TikTok posts ended up on a number of Facebook groups over after being publicly called out in a since-hidden Twitter thread.
“I emailed the diversity and human rights department because they actually responded to my tweet before I took this to Facebook,” said Nanci Dos Santos, the student who created the initial Facebook posts. “what they said was not enough.”
“They did not say how the student will be punished. Academic probation could be a potential option as a consequence for the student, but that would be a slap to the face,” she said.
“How will students of colour feel on campus?” asked Dos Santos about the possibility that there may not be any repercussions. “I doubt they will feel safe.”
University of Guelph professor Ajay Sharma tweeted that he had been receiving messages from students regarding the TikTok videos.
“Many students have contacted me about a student calling black people “Monkeys” on social media,” Sharma said in a tweet.
I am so f-cking angered and saddened by this.— Ajay (@RCI_101) May 31, 2020
Many students have contacted me about a student calling black people “Monkeys” on social media.
That’s all I am saying.#racism#AcademicTwitter#protests2020 #BlackLivesMatter #riots2020 https://t.co/CpUQJSjC9m
In a two-part statement released on Tuesday, the Central Student Association pledged to do their best to support students and the campus community.
“We fight alongside you in collectively dismantling the systems of racism and oppression on and off campus,” said the statement addressing Black students on campus.
To non-Black U of G students, the CSA urged introspection.
“This is a time to learn, unlearn, show up, and utilize our voices […] and whatever resources we have to demonstrate our solidarity and take action,” said the statement addressing non-Black students.
With students at home due to COVID-19, it’s a difficult time to be providing student support in-person, but CSA President Tyler Poirier says that the CSA will continue to work for students.
“We’re looking at different avenues to support students,” said Poirier.
“We’re trying the best we can to work with what we have,” he said. “We’re working with other groups to make sure that what we can provide is the best it can be.”
The University of Guelph issued a separate anti-racism solidarity statement earlier this week.
The university’s statement follows the Black Lives Matter protests happening across the world,
“We stand in solidarity with Black students, faculty and staff at the U of G against racism and violence during this troubling time and always,” said the statement posted to the university’s website on Sunday.
“We offer support to anyone feeling vulnerable or at risk,” the Uof G said in the statement. “We are here as allies to the Black community and will do our part to ensure respect, safety and dignity on our campuses.”
Students have been encouraged to reach out to Tameera, the department of Student Experience’s Cultural Diversity Advisor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Black students at the UofG deserve respect, dignity and safety. We recognize that these videos have impacted Black students at the UofG and are here to provide support. Tameera, our Cultural Diversity Advisor, is available for support and can be reached at email@example.com— UofGStudentExperience (@UofGStudentExp) May 30, 2020
The department of Student Experience is holding a Black healing drop in space June 2 and June 4 and a non-black POC solidarity drop-in space June 3.
Details can be found on the departments social media: Student Experience on Facebook
Our diversity is our strength. We will not tolerate any expressions of hatred.— University of Guelph (@uofg) May 31, 2020
We stand in solidarity with Black students, faculty and staff at the #UofG against racism and violence during this troubling time and always. https://t.co/Q6FTyIJFgb