uToronto students, faculty criticize administration's response to blackface incident

November 27, 2009

The University of Toronto Students' Union, the Black Students' Association, and several uToronto faculty members are lambasting the university for failing to use its normal communicative channels to stand in support of students who faced intimidation after organizing a town hall meeting on blackface, which was arranged after a group of students wore brown makeup to a Halloween party organized by student societies at 3 of uToronto's colleges. Instead of issuing a public statement to address the issues of harassment raised in a meeting with student leaders and concerned faculty, administration sent letters to those who met with officials, asking them to distribute the statements themselves to the wider university community. The UTSU argues the lack of action by senior administration suggests that "black students are not equally valued members of the university community." In response, uToronto's vice-president of human resources and equity and vice-provost of students state their offices will continue to work with student groups and interested faculty members on efforts to enhance and understand the impact of racism, and disseminate information about such initiatives widely at the appropriate time. UTSU News Release | Statement from uToronto