On September 14, a black student and University employee was carded by a security guard while entering his campus residence. This is the second known carding incident to take place on campus in four months. We condemn in the strongest possible way the carding of Wiliston Mason, and we urge the Central Administration to put an end to this discriminatory practice. Furthermore, we call on the Central Administration to implement the demands outlined in the APUO BIPOC Caucus’ letter of June 16 and to make the agendas and minutes of the President’s Committee for a Discrimination-Free Campus public.
Following the carding incident that took place on June 11, the Central Administration commissioned an external investigation, which found that Jamal Koulmiye-Boyce had been carded as a result of racial profiling, and that protection services’ response was “neither proportional nor reasonable in the circumstance.” The report also underscores the need for Protection Service Officers to receive “nuanced and up-to-date training on issues pertaining to race, including racial discrimination.” We urge the Central Administration to provide the necessary resources to ensure such training is delivered to all officers providing security services on our campus.
Since the June 11 carding incident, Policy 33 – the policy that authorizes Protection Services Officers to request proof of identity from persons on campus – has been reviewed, and interim directives on its interpretation have been put in place. The interim directives allow for the continued practice of demanding identification from community members under specific circumstances. However, these are still at the discretion and interpretation of Protection Services Officers, and leave room for the practice of racial profiling to continue. The APUO is unsatisfied with the interim directives and urges the Central Administration to put an end to the practice of carding altogether.
Racial profiling, carding, and the harassment of black, Indigenous, and racialized students and community members is unacceptable and has no place at our institution. The Ontario Human Rights Commission and the Superior Court of Ontario have, through numerous rulings, labeled the practice of street carding as unlawful and unconstitutional. The APUO, therefore, fails to see why the practice continues to be permitted on campus.
Following the June 11 carding incident, the Office of the President has struck a Committee for a Discrimination-Free Campus. The APUO is concerned with the very opaque manner in which this Committee is conducting its affairs. This Committee, which lacks adequate stake-holder representation, does not hold public meetings or publish agendas and minutes. While this, unfortunately, does fall in line with the general lack of transparency we observe in our Central Administration’s decision-making processes, members of our community who experience racism have the most valuable insight to challenge systemic racism on campus. In fact, several BIPOC members of our community have already taken the time to reflect on racism at our institution and provided the Central Administration with demands that could foster a safer and more inclusive environment for BIPOC students and campus workers. Many of these demands were echoed by the University of Ottawa Student Union (UOSU), the Black Student Leaders Association (BSLA), and several other student groups, demonstrating a general agreement among our BIPOC community on steps that could be undertaken to address systemic racism at our institution. We urge the Central Administration to set up an inclusive and transparent consultation process and to listen to these voices.
We invite you to read and sign the letter published by several concerned APUO membersin response to Wiliston Mason’s carding incident on September 14. The letter will be sent to President Frémont on Tuesday, October 15 at 3pm.