Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Dalhousie Accused of 'White Supremacy' amid Escalating Tensions over Racism

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Dalhousie Accused of 'White Supremacy' amid Escalating Tensions over Racism

Article excerpt

Dalhousie accused of 'white supremacy'

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HALIFAX - Amid rising tension at Dalhousie University, a former student interrupted a panel discussion about campus diversity Tuesday to accuse the school of "white supremacy."

"The myth that you share is that Dalhousie is doing a good job about equity and inclusion," said Ifo Ikede, a former computer engineering and computer science student at the Halifax university.

"We're swimming in a sea of white supremacy," he said. "The only people who are free to speak are white men and women."

His comments come as the university faces mounting criticism over its handling of recent incidents involving female students of colour.

Last week, an Indigenous member of Dalhousie University's board of governors said she was subjected to institutionalized racism.

Now the university is investigating political comments by a student leader -- a Muslim woman who wears a hijab -- who could face possible sanctions.

The incidents have sparked outcry both on campus and beyond.

A group of 25 law professors at Dalhousie's Schulich School of Law called on the university not to "police and censor" the tone of political speech, while the Ontario Civil Liberties Association accused the university of censoring political speech.

On Tuesday, a seminar at Dalhousie open to the public about the under-representation of non-white faculty at Canadian universities appeared to only accept pre-approved questions, prompting Ikede to interrupt concluding remarks.

Although the panellists responded to his comments before ending the lecture, the incident highlights the growing controversy engulfing the campus.

Ikede said he was upset about disciplinary action being taken against Masuma Khan, a member of the student council executive.

The fourth-year student could face possible sanctions for social media comments related to the Dalhousie Student Union's decision to abstain from Canada 150 celebrations in a show of solidarity with Indigenous Peoples.

In a Facebook post responding to criticism of that decision, she questioned why she should be proud of colonization and "over 400 years of genocide."

She used profanity in her post, signing off with hashtags that criticized "white fragility" and said "your white tears aren't sacred, this land is. …

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