Friday Reading List. 14/04/2023. Canadian University Student Petitions: Race, Oppression, CRT.

1.STUDENT-ON-STUDENT PEER PRESSURE

2.PETITIONS

3.JOHN McWHORTER

1.STUDENT-ON-STUDENT PEER PRESSURE

Are University Students Children?

Consider the Waterloo petition signature by Jeremy Moore, below. Does Moore view himself a child?

2020

University of Waterloo

Student-student, ABC, University of Waterloo, 2020, https://www.change.org/p/n-a-abc?redirect=false , accessed April 14, 2023


Peer Pressure and Self-Censorship:

(Student-on-student only? Why not faculty-on-faculty, too? )

Zahneis, Megan. “The Real Source of Self-Censorship,” Campus Speech, The Chronicle of Higher Education, March 22, 2023, https://www.chronicle.com/article/the-real-source-of-self-censorship, accessed March 27, 2023.

  • “Free speech issues might be a matter of peer pressure…”
  • A few campus surveys suggest students are more likely to self-censor for fear of judgement by their peers rather than by their professors.

University of Saskatchewan

2022

Peers-Reporting-on-Peers:

Joy, Lisa. “U of S withdraws discrimination complaint against law student,” SaskToday.ca, Jun 23, 2022, https://www.sasktoday.ca/central/local-news/u-of-s-withdraws-discrimination-complaint-against-law-student-5512847, accessed April 12, 2023

  • “Students were required to describe how they were harmed by colonialism and oppression and what they could do to change the legal profession. They were instructed to provide personal opinions and viewpoints in a mandatory classroom forum on racism and colonialism. The course’s instructor deemed the comments disrespectful and removed them but they had already been widely circulated within the College of Law, allegedly in violation of the student’s intellectual property and privacy rights.”
  • ” Before they were removed, however, the comments were somehow circulated to persons outside of the class. A student not in the course saw the comments and filed a complaint alleging that they were disrespectful, anti-Indigenous, and racist without specifying how the comments were any of these things, said Memauri.”

2.PETITIONS

CARLETON UNIVERSITY

2020

Demand ‘Fundamental Change’ at Carleton:

BIPOC students and alumni. “Pushing for fundamental change at Carleton University’s School of Journalism,” change.org, 2020, https://www.change.org/p/carleton-university-s-school-of-journalism-pushing-for-fundamental-change-at-carleton-university-s-school-of-journalism?redirect=false, accessed April, 2014


2020

Ghandi Statue:

Aribido, Jimi. “Remove the Gandhi Statue from Carleton Campus,” Change.org. 2020, https://www.change.org/p/carleton-university-remove-the-gandhi-statue-from-carleton-campus, accessed April 14, 2023

  • “We as an institution cannot claim to champion diversity and seek to eradicate institutionalized racism while symbols like this are still present on our campus. The time for action is now. However revered a figure he may be in the world of academia, we must acknowledge the pain and discomfort this statue causes our students. We must remove this statue from our campus.”
  • Whether in the form of reviewing hiring practices to determine the reasons behind the lack of black professors and faculty members at this University, or increasing disciplinary action for professors who willingly and openly use racial slurs as part of their lectures, Carleton has a long way to go. This is just one small step.
  • 2,662 signatories

Burns, Iain. “Petition to remove Gandhi statue from Canadian University over ‘racism’ gathers momentum,” Kelowna Now, June 17, 2020, https://www.kelownanow.com/news/news/National_News/Petition_to_remove_Gandhi_statue_from_Canadian_university_over_racism_gathers_momentum#fs_123885, accessed April 14, 2023

  • “Aribido added in a later note he would like to see the statue replaced by someone else from South Asia.” [Bibliographer’s note: I wonder of whom and who will vet that statue?]

MOUNT ROYAL UNIVERSITY (MRU)

2020

Demand Frances Widdowson be Fired:

Fraser, Kendra and ‘1 other student’ [unnamed]. “Fire Frances Widdowson – a Racist Professor at MRU,” Change.org, 09/2020, https://www.change.org/p/mount-royal-university-fire-frances-widdowson-a-racist-professor-at-mru

  • “Frances Widdowson is a racist professor who works at Mount Royal University. This is a call to demand that the university condemns Widdowson’s hateful actions against the BIPOC community and that she is terminated for her racist remarks. Mount Royal University has still yet to make a statement regarding Widdowson’s racist actions and continues to employ her. In ignoring the racist actions of people in power, we directly contribute to the systemic racism within our society.”
  • 6, 423 signatories

2023

University of Lethbridge (Widdowson, MRU)

1/2Demand Widdowson’s Talk Be Cancelled:

Background: Frances Widdowson was invited by Prof Paul Viminitz to give at talk at Uleth entitled, “The Woke University.” (Scheduled for February 1, 2023) Thanks in no small part to Twitter, false word got out that Widdowson was speaking about residential schools. Hence, the petition by Nathan Crow, Indigenous Student Representative.

Concerned students. “Stop Frances Widdowson from Speaking at University of Lethbridge,” Change.org, January 30, 2023, https://www.change.org/p/stop-frances-widdowson-from-speaking-at-university-of-lethbridge?redirect=false, accessed April 14, 2023

  • “Frances Widdowson is a residential school denialist, Anti BLM, and trans rights critic who was fired Mount Royal University for her controversial ideology. Her presence on campus not only denigrates the status of the University by giving space to a speaker who promotes historical falsities and racial bigotry, but endangers student’s well-being and safety.
    • Although this was not organized by the University itself, the University should be focussed on Truth and Reconciliation. The reality is, that racist and harmful ideologies are coming on campus; silence is complicity. This is an act of violence upon its BIPOC, LGBTQIA2S+, and especially Indigenous students by allowing space for these ideolgies to traumatize students in a space that is supposed to be safe and educating. 
    • Freedom of speech is vital to the functioning of higher education, but Frances Widdowson’s ideology of “anti-wokeism” is not only based on historical falsities and racist bigotry, but student-well being and safety is more important than any guest speaker’s message.  Anti-wokeism is a fallacious ideology because things like critical race theory and Indigenous teachings are just as much a part of academic freedom and freedom of speech, but is labelled as “wokeism” by scholars such as Widdowson.
    • Thank you for taking your time to support preventing harmful ideologies from permeating a place of higher education and the prevention of retraumatization of Indigenous students”
  • 2, 206 signatories to the petition

Nathan Crow. “Oppose Frances Widdowson’s Public Lecture on the “Positives” of Indian Residential Schools,” January, 2023, https://www.change.org/p/oppose-frances-widdowson-s-public-lecture-on-the-positives-of-indian-residential-schools?redirect=false, accessed April 14, 2023

  • “I have recently become aware that Frances Widdowson, a former professor with Mount Royal University, will be attending our campus on Wednesday February 1st, 2023, to offer a public lecture focused on the “positives” of the Indian Residential School system (IRS).” [Bibliographer’s note: Crow was misinformed. The talk was on “The Woke University.”]
  • “I want students to know that my stance on this issue is one of opposition, disappointment, and disapproval. The ULSU is currently working on an action plan to address this issue, and to provide the necessary resources and support for our students dealing with the wide range of emotions brought forth by this distasteful situation.”
  • 1,149 signatories

2/2Talk Supported, Talk Cancelled:

Mahon, Mike. “Statement from the President — Controversial Guest Speaker Appearance,” Notice Board, University of Lethbridge, January 26, 2023, https://www.ulethbridge.ca/notice/notices/statement-president-—-controversial-guest-speaker-appearance#.ZDm7ty1w1hE, accessed April 14, 2023

  • “Members of the University community have the right to criticize and question views expressed on campus, but they may not obstruct or interfere with others’ freedom of expression. Debate or deliberation on campus may not be suppressed because the ideas put forward are thought by some, or even most, to be offensive, unwise, immoral, or misguided. We encourage all members of our internal and external community to carefully evaluate scholarly evidence and rely upon peer reviewed resources in their careful assessment and engagement with the views of speakers. It is for individual members of the University community, not the University as an institution, to make those judgments for themselves based on the scholarly evidence, and to act on those judgments not by seeking to suppress speech, but by openly and vigorously contesting the ideas they oppose.”

Mahon, Mike. “Statement from the President — Controversial Guest Speaker Appearance (UPDATE),” January 26, 2023, https://www.ulethbridge.ca/notice/notices/statement-president-—-controversial-guest-speaker-appearance-update#.ZDm9FS1w1hE, accessed April 14, 2023

  • “To ensure our community is safe, in the context of this planned lecture, the University will not provide space for this public lecture to occur on campus.”


RYERSON UNIVERSITY (TORONTO METROPOLITAN UNIVERSITY, TMU)

1/3.Demand Egerton Ryerson Statue Be Removed:

2020

Khan, Maaz. “Remove statue of Egerton Ryerson from Ryerson University,” Change.org, 2020, https://www.change.org/p/doug-ford-remove-statue-of-egerton-ryerson-from-ryerson-university, accessed April 14, 2023

  • “Egerton Ryerson is a symbol of racism, sexism and cultural genocide. His statue needs to be removed Immediately! “
  • 10, 191 signatories

2/3.Demand Name Change, Statue is Toppled:

2021

CBC News. “Statue of Egerton Ryerson, toppled after Toronto rally, ‘will not be restored or replaced’,” June 6, 2021, https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/statue-of-egerton-ryerson-brought-down-1.6055676, accessed April 14, 2023

  • “The statue of Egerton Ryerson that stood outside the university that bears his name “will not be restored or replaced,” the school’s president said Monday, after it was toppled following a demonstration in Toronto.”
  • “Following the Kamloops discovery, Indigenous students at the university called on fellow students, faculty and alumni to stop using the name Ryerson in their email signatures, correspondence and on their resumes, urging them instead to call the school X University.”

Raza, Ali. “Hundreds of Ryerson professors sign letter demanding university change its name,” June 07, 2021, https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/ryerson-profs-name-change-1.6056260, accessed April 14, 2023

  • “About 345 professors, including three associate deans, signed a letter saying that “now is the time to stop commemorating Ryerson.” It’s one of several petitions and letters making similar demands coming out of the university community; open letters have been written by the university’s staff, its Indigenous faculty and its Indigenous students.”
  • “Some students, staff and faculty members have begun to refer to the university as “X University” in official communications.”

3/3.Name Change: Ryerson to Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU):

2022

CBC News. “Toronto university changes name amid controversy over Canadian educator’s legacy,” April 26, 2022, https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/ryerson-toronto-metropolitan-university-1.6431360, accessed April 14, 2022

  • “The statue of Egerton Ryerson that once stood on the school’s campus was toppled last year, amid the discovery of unmarked grave sites on the grounds of former residential schools. The day after, hundreds of professors and other faculty members at the school signed a letter demanding that the university change its name.”

Demand Mandatory High School Course on Race:

2020

King, Angelina. “Tens of thousands sign Ryerson student’s petition calling for mandatory high school course on race,” CBC News, July 3, 2020, https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/petition-race-ethnicity-course-mandatory-ontario-high-schools-1.5635921, accessed April 13, 2023

  • “An online petition started by a Ryerson University student calling for a course on race and ethnicity in Ontario high schools has garnered about 40,000 signatures in less than a week.”
  • Parnika Raj, who just completed her third year of media studies at Ryerson, says she wasn’t expecting to collect so many signatures so quickly. She says the petition was inspired by the recent worldwide Black Lives Matter protests against the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer in May, and subsequent conversations about systemic racism….She says she learned about terms like “microaggressions” and “white fragility” in a race and ethnicity class in university, but realized not everyone may have the same understanding.”

UNIVERSITY OF GUELPH

Demand Mandatory Anti-Oppression Course:

2020

Greene-Ince, Briana. “Petition – U of G Mandatory Anti Oppression Course,” Change.org, 2020, https://www.change.org/p/university-of-guelph-u-of-g-mandatory-anti-oppression-course-2, accessed April 14, 2023

  • “The University of Guelph has been shown to have multiple issues regarding racism and homophobia against students within its history. Now, more than ever, is an important time to make change within our communities starting by leading with education. Recently the University has been made aware of racist remarks by students and homophobic comments, however, they remain to stay silent about their decisions on those students. This petition serves to make sure that any new incoming students for Fall 2020 and onwards will REQUIRE to have taken an Anti Oppression class to graduate in order to challenge their own biases and hate and make sure that our campus remains a safe space for all.”
  • 10, 327 signatories

Vaccarino, Franco, President and Vice-Chancellor. “President’s Message of Solidarity,” News Release, University of Guelph, June, 2020, https://news.uoguelph.ca/2020/06/presidents-message-of-solidarity/, accessed April 14, 2023

  • “Like you, I am deeply saddened and shaken by the killing of George Floyd and the troubling outbreaks of violence and hatred in the United States and other countries around the world, including Canada.”
  • “It is not sufficient to simply express our commitment to these values. More is needed. And we will do more. Our action plan involves taking swift and deliberate steps when such events occur, from disciplinary action to offering anti-oppression, anti-bias and allyship training.”
  • “If you or someone you know experiences racism, hatred or discrimination please contact our Diversity and Human Rights Office, dhrinfo@uoguelph.ca or reach out to our Cultural Diversity Advisor at tameera@uoguelph.ca.”

Get Mandatory Anti-Oppression Course:

2020

Smith, Jessica. “University of Guelph launches anti-racism module for students and staff,” CTV News, Kitchener, September 17, 2020, https://kitchener.ctvnews.ca/university-of-guelph-launches-anti-racism-module-for-students-and-staff-1.5109866, accessed April 14, 2023

  • “The Principles of Belonging: Anti-oppression and Anti-racism module is a one-hour online course, mandatory for all new students and available to all current students, faculty and staff.”
  • “Students are expected to compete the training by the end of this semester. There is no penalty for not completing it, but students will not be able to participate in any university-sponsored activities until it’s done.”

[Bibliographer’s note: How is being barred from participation in university-sponsored activities NOT a penalty?]


UNIVERSITY OF OTTAWA

Demand Mandatory Anti-Racism Courses:

2020

Fanel, Saron. “Ottawa students launch petition calling on mandatory anti-racism courses,” CTV News, Ottawa, June 15, 2020, https://ottawa.ctvnews.ca/ottawa-students-launch-petition-calling-on-mandatory-anti-racism-courses-1.4985671, accessed April 13, 2023

  • “A petition calling on the University of Ottawa and Carleton University to teach anti-racism courses is gaining traction. Khadija El Hilali is one of three Ottawa students behind the movement. She wants both schools to develop the mandatory course and make it a requirement to graduate.”
  • “As a minority, El Hilali said it’s not the responsibility of marginalized groups to educate their peers. The organizers believe it is the responsibility of the school system.” [Bibliographer’s note: But aren’t marginalised groups educating their peers vis a vis the petition (coercive) and publicity? Who determines the content of this education?]

Demand Mandatory Anti-Oppression Courses:

2020

Burke, Kassandra. “Petition — Mandatory anti-oppression course at UOttawa,” Change.org, 2020, https://www.change.org/p/the-university-of-ottawa-mandatory-anti-oppression-course-at-uottawa, accessed April 13, 2023

  • “Anti-oppression courses that enlighten students about Canada’s historic and current role in racism against Black and Indigenous folks, should be mandatory for all University of Ottawa students, regardless of their faculty.”
  • 342 signatories to date

UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO

Demand Mandatory Anti-Oppression Course:

2020

Afshar, Kimia. “University of Toronto Mandatory Anti-Oppression Courses,” https://www.change.org/p/university-of-toronto-university-of-toronto-mandatory-anti-oppression-courses, accessed April 14, 2023

  • “I would like to credit and acknowledge Briana Green Ince for taking action by creating the first petition for an Anti-Oppression Course for the University of Guelph.”
  • 480 signatories

Demand Mandatory Anti-Oppression Course:

2020

Jones-Haywood, Jahnae. “Petition – UofT Mandatory Anti-Racism Course,” Change.org, 2020, https://www.change.org/p/university-of-toronto-this-petition-is-to-get-uoft-to-implement-a-mandatory-anti-racist-course, accessed April 14, 2023

  • “To implement a mandatory course on anti-racism at the top school in Canada where students from all over the world attend would show that the University of Toronto supports and cares about all it’s students and the progression of an anti-racist educational environment. “
  • 18,018 signatories

Stop on-campus Anti-Asian racism:

2022

U of T Asian Communities and 2 others. “Petition – Stop on-campus Anti-Asian racism: Calling for an Investigation of “hell bank money,” 2022, Change.org, https://www.change.org/p/university-of-toronto-governing-council-stop-on-campus-anti-asian-racism-calling-for-an-investigation-of-hell-bank-money-34f3cda1-026e-4994-8fe3-8711496892d1, accessed April 14, 2023

  • “We are writing in regards to a horrible cultural offence that happened at the University of Toronto (U of T) on February 1st, during which the Graduate House Resident Team placed a bowl of red envelopes filled with “Hell Bank Notes” at the common area (see “the incident” for more information).”
  • Demand 4 states, “4 – Create a student-centred monitoring system to forestall such culturally offensive practices
  • 12, 323 signatories

Venkatraman, Sakshi. “University of Toronto under fire for giving ‘hell money’ to Asian students,” NBC News, Asian-America, February 11, 2022, https://www.nbcnews.com/news/asian-america/university-toronto-fire-giving-hell-money-asian-students-rcna15965, accessed April 14, 2023

  • “The notes are meant to be used in specific ceremonies around someone’s death, but when sent to the living, they can imply ill will and are highly offensive.”
  • “We have concluded that the error was not intentional or malicious,” administrators wrote. “We deeply regret that this mistake occurred during a time that was meant to be joyful and celebratory.”  
  • “The petition, co-written by Asian community groups on campus, asks for the the university to issue a broader apology on all of its channels and institute anti-discrimination trainings for staff. What happened doesn’t feel like an accident, they say, and they want a better explanation from the school.”
  • “Community members are also calling for mental health support for students who were affected by receiving the notes, which were clearly labeled “Hell Bank Note.””


UNIVERSITY OF WATERLOO

2020

Demand Reprimand for The N-Word:

(Students, some faculty, & media do not seem to understand the use/mention distinction.)

The University of Waterloo, Media Relations. “University response to change.org petition on racism,” Waterloo News, June 6, 2020, https://uwaterloo.ca/news/news/university-response-changeorg-petition-racism, accessed April 13, 2023

  • “A recent change.org petition started by University of Waterloo students has highlighted a racist incident that took place at St. Jerome’s University in March of this year when a professor used the n-word in class.”
  • “The University acknowledges the ongoing trauma and violence faced by Black students on our campus and thank the impacted students and community members for speaking out. We also thank the students who started and signed this petition. We understand and acknowledge this is exhausting work that should not be required.”

[Bibliographer’s note: If Black students are facing “ongoing trauma and violence” on the UWaterloo campus, why on earth are they attending?! This claim is risible.]

Gordon, Paul. “Petition seeks reprimand for St. Jerome’s prof who used racist word,” WaterlooChronicle.ca, June 3, 2020, https://www.waterloochronicle.ca/news/petition-seeks-reprimand-for-st-jerome-s-prof-who-used-racist-word/article_199ec78a-ea27-5bc4-8fa2-d1ada18d9f11.html?, accessed April 14, 2023

  • “On March 4 and 9 Rye was giving lectures “on harmful language and the need for sensitivity between and across different groups that have experienced and continue to experience discrimination,” St. Jerome’s said in a statement. ‘In these two lectures, and after the second lecture when speaking with two students who raised concerns, the faculty member used harmful words, including a racist word.'”
  • “Rye said she has been “the subject of significant online harassment and threats.”

Student-student, ABC, University of Waterloo, 2020, https://www.change.org/p/n-a-abc?redirect=false , accessed April 14, 2023

  • 15, 663 signatories

YORK UNIVERSITY

2020

Demand Mandatory Critical Race Theory Course:

Fuller, Andrew. York University, “Petition – Mandatory Critical Race Theory Course for York Students Before Graduating,” Change.org, 2020, https://www.change.org/p/york-university-make-a-critical-race-theory-crt-course-mandatory-for-york-students-before-graduating, accessed April 13, 2023

  • “We ask that York University make a Critical Race Theory (CRT) course a mandatory general education requirement for all students.”
  • 3,686 signatories to date

3.JOHN McWHORTER

2023

Shedding some light, issuing a warning:

McWhorter’s keynote includes some elucidation of the impacts of George Floyd’s death in 2020, and how they continue to play out in 2023.

Towards the Common Good: Rethinking Race in the 21st Century conference, hosted by The Equiano Project Emmanuel College and King’s College, Cambridge

John McWhorter. “Understanding the new politics of race,” The Equiano Project, January 27, 2023, accessed April 14, 2023

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