Racist posts outrage BU students

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Students at Brandon University took to social media Tuesday and Wednesday to denounce racist social media posts made by some of their classmates.

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This article was published 04/06/2020 (849 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Students at Brandon University took to social media Tuesday and Wednesday to denounce racist social media posts made by some of their classmates.

The posts, made by a group of four people, stretch back as far as October 2018 and as recently as Tuesday of this week.

White members of this friend group make frequent jokes about their black friend being a slave or for sale. One video shows a black man in a cage pretending to act like an animal as he is referred to by the racial slur n—– by several unseen voices.

A screen shot of the apology offered for posting racist things to social media. (Screenshot)

Another post from Tuesday appeared to make light of “blackout Tuesday,” a social media initiative in support of the protests against anti-black racism and police brutality happening in the United States, by insinuating it involves a sex act with black men.

See ‘University’ — Page A2

Complaints about the posts were made by other Brandon University students on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat.

On Wednesday, the university denounced the posts on its website.

“Yesterday, we were made aware of social media posts showing heinous and hateful acts of racism attributed to a person identifying themselves as a BU student,” the post said. “These posts showed disgusting and demeaning behaviour. We utterly condemn these horrible posts and are investigating through our Diversity and Human Rights Office. We have also reported them to the police.”

The university’s discrimination and harassment policies lay out the procedure for such an investigation. After receiving a complaint, an appointed investigator will review the complaint with the complainant and create a summary of allegations.

That summary will then be provided to the person being complained about and will be given 10 days to review the complaints and prepare a response before being interviewed by the investigator. After the interview, the investigator will analyze the facts presented to them and decide if further steps, such as more interviews with witnesses and evidence gathering, need to be completed.

After a final report is presented, the university will decide if the matter constitutes a breach of the rules. Possible corrective actions that can be taken at this point include banning a student from residences, ording the student deliver a formal apology, suspension, supervision or expulsion.

Brandon Police Service confirmed to the Sun that the matter was brought to their attention, but they did not have any specifics to provide on their investigation. Staff Sgt. Kevin Loewen said the officer working on the case is now off-duty until Sunday and will pick it up again on their return to work.

University spokesperson Grant Hamilton told the Sun the university will be unable to comment on specific investigations due to privacy laws.

This isn’t the only racist incident at Brandon University in recent years. In June 2019, a teepee on university grounds set up as an activity for a conference addressing decolonization was burnt down during the night.

After the incident, Aboriginal community co-ordinator with the Brandon Urban Aboriginal Peoples’ Council Jason Gobeil said what happened was an “atrocity.” Gobeil had been giving lessons on how to build teepees and their cultural importance during the conference, later leading a community effort to build several new teepees at the same site.

In 2017, stickers from a white supremacist organization were found in multiple locations on campus.

In the wake of the racist social media posts, the university has pledged to recommit to implementing the Manitoba Indigenous Education Blueprint, accelerate the BU Senate’s work on reconciliation, enhance racial sensitivity training provided to students, continue to employ a harm-reduction approach to instances of racial injustice and have campus discussions on how education can create a just society.

The Brandon Sun is not printing the names of the accused until charges have been laid.

» cslark@brandonsun.com

» Twitter: @ColinSlark

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