Students express anger after racist flyers distributed at York University
Joshua Freeman, CP24.com
Published Thursday, August 14, 2014 4:47PM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, August 14, 2014 5:32PM EDT
Students at York University are expressing anger after racist posters were distributed around the campus and to nearby homes Wednesday.
The posters were found Wednesday at York’s Keele Street and Steeles Avenue campus and in mailboxes of nearby homes where many students live. The posters contain anti-immigrant messages that decry the shrinking majority of “White Canadians” on university campuses.
In a statement released Thursday, the York Federation of Students condemned the flyers.
“We are disturbed and appalled by these blatantly racist flyers,” said YFS vice-president of Equity Mithilen Mathipalan in the statement. “The diversity of the York community is a source of strength and we will not tolerate any kind of hate speech that fosters an unsafe environment for students.”
In an email, York University said Toronto police have been notified about the flyers.
The university also said the posters, which carried the York University logo, were displayed without the knowledge or consent of the university.
“There were a few posters found and they were removed immediately,” a York spokesperson said in an email to CP24. “Official notification was sent to the group identified telling those responsible to cease and desist using the York University logo and photographs.”
Speaking to CP24 Thursday, Canada Race Relations Foundation executive director Anita Bromberg called the flyers “simply offensive.”
“Playing the race card, playing on the worst fears, opening the doors to this kind of racism – it’s simply unacceptable,” Bromberg said.
She added that the material shuts down productive conversations about how to help immigrants integrate and about how to ensure harmonious race relations.
The posters bore the logo of Immigration Watch Canada, the same group that distributed flyers decrying immigration in Brampton several months ago. The flyers at York also looked similar to the flyers in Brampton.
In a phone call with CP24 Thursday, a spokesperson for the group said they had distributed two posters at York, but that they didn’t bear the university’s logo as the posters in question did.
He said the flyers his group authorized called on Ottawa to explain why it had allowed a high number of immigrants into the country.
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