“Racialized” students attending business schools at Ontario, Canada universities claim they’ve experienced “outright racism” from their peers and are upset at the apparent “lack of equity and diversity training among faculty.”
For example, Queen’s University undergrad Kelly Weiling Zou established the Instagram page “Stolenbysmith” which now has some 300 anecdotes “about barriers to career opportunities, social ostracization […] and encounters with discrimination from faculty.”
But the … “best” example the Press saw fit to utilize is a bit dubious: Sophomore Meena Waseem said that a student leader, while singing along to a song playing in the background, uttered the N-word (that was included in the lyrics).
“Witnessing this was disappointing and it made me feel unsafe,” Waseem said. “This was the first of many experiences which made it clear that racism is normalized here.”
Similarly, over at York University, the “best” account its related Instagram page (called “Silencedatschulich”) could offer comes from junior Humera Dasu: A professor once “implied to a class of 50 students that she thinks [Islam] is oppressive to women.”
“I was deeply offended and hurt…. Islamophobia has been normalized to the point that such a comment can be made in a classroom environment,” Dasu said.
Officials from both schools responded as you’d expect:
Brenda Brouwer, interim dean at the [Queen’s] Smith School of Business, said the university is working on addressing concerns raised by its students. She called the incident detailed by Waseem “completely unacceptable and deeply troubling” and said it would be a clear violation of the school’s code of conduct.
“Improving diversity and increasing inclusion is an urgent priority,” Brouwer said. “While progress has been made, we know there is more work to be done, and we will continue to actively foster a culture of inclusion, dignity and respect.” …
Detlev Zwick, interim dean at [York’s] Schulich School of Business, said the school is aware of concerns brought forward recently by students and graduates.
“The Schulich School of Business does not tolerate or excuse discrimination and racism of any kind. As one of the most diverse business schools in North America, Schulich has a long tradition of actively encouraging and supporting inclusivity and diversity,” he said.
“Obviously, more needs to be done and we have already begun taking action in various ways to ensure greater awareness surrounding issues of racism, especially anti-Black racism, as well as sexism and discrimination.”
But as at least one institution noted recently, if specific individuals are named or “outed,” the legal consequences of slander and/or libel need to be carefully considered.