Sheets of paper with the phrase "It’s okay to be white" were taped to walls around the University of Manitoba campus this week. (Submitted by Cary Miller) The University of Manitoba is denouncing hateful messages posted on campus and sent to some fax machines in what the school president says is "a co-ordinated international effort by neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups."
"The university unequivocally condemns this and any other racist actions," David Barnard wrote in a statement sent to media on Friday.
"There is no tolerance for hate and discrimination, as I made clear yesterday in my remarks at the vigil in honour of the shooting victims in Pittsburgh: We share a sense of revulsion and need to act because of what we see happening around us. The treatment of refugees. The tone of anger and hatred in political discourse. The installation of corrupt regimes. A distressing number of hate crimes. Terrorist attacks."
A university must be focused on a search for wisdom and scholarship, which is underpinned by a shared perspective that working together is the best way to achieve that, he said.
"We must fight back against ignorance with knowledge. Against intolerance and racism with inclusiveness and acceptance. Against complacency with our words and our actions," he wrote. A hate message aimed at Islam is written on a wall on the University of Manitoba campus. (Submitted by Annie Beach) Sheets of paper with the phrase "It’s okay to be white" were taped to walls around the U of M campus this week.
Niigaan Sinclair, an associate professor in the department of Native studies, posted on Facebook that 50 to 100 signs were taped up and faxed to offices in multiple buildings across the campus.
As well, someone used black marker to scribble "F–k Islam" on some walls.
University of Manitoba Students’ Union president Jakob Sanderson said security footage shows someone taping the papers on walls on Halloween night.
The person was wearing a costume, making it difficult to identify who it is. A fax with the message was sent by A. Wyatt Man to the University of Manitoba’s Native studies department. (Submitted by Cary Miller) "I think the fact that people are actively taking steps to sort of hide their identity in saying this, and deliver these, really, in a threatening matter to the department of Native studies — where you have numerous faxes overflowing the machine when the person comes in in the morning — I think it’s quite clear that they know this is not acceptable behaviour," Sanderson said.
He urges anyone who comes across a message to report it.
"If any student sees anything like this, if there is any targeted messages like this, please don’t hesitate to reach out to the student union, please don’t hesitate to reach out to the university."
The university has removed the posters and security services is investigating, Barnard said, adding he believes the messages are part of "a co-ordinated international effort by neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups."
A sharing circle organized by students was held Friday morning to support the Indigenous population on campus, said Native studies department head Cary Miller.
As well, other campus organizations were planning events in support of groups who feel targeted by the messages, she said. It is enormously disappointing to me that in this era of reconciliation when we should be coming together because we are all treaty people and we are all Manitobans that there are still people who want to provocatively divide us "I have hesitated to speak on this as it is clear that publicity is what these perpetrators want. However, I think it hurts our affected students more to stay […]
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