President Cassels' response to anti-Semitic posters found on campus

You may have seen in the media yesterday information about an incident in which a number of anti-Semitic posters were put up in the Cornett Building on Oct. 18. Although the posters were taken down immediately, this incident reminds us that racism and discrimination of many forms exist and must be addressed on this campus, as in society as a whole.

As indicated in my statement on Sept. 18, no forms of racism or discrimination are acceptable. This includes anti-Semitism and I fully endorse the online statement from Acting Director of Equity & Human Rights Cassbreea Dewis that provides information about the most recent incident and the university’s response to it.

Unfortunately, we also know that discriminatory, racist and anti-Semitic attitudes continue to exist; and this reinforces the importance of education and the responsibility of educational institutions like ours to confront ignorance and actively promote respect, inclusiveness and better understanding. 

We have policies and procedures relating to incidents such as these and committed community members and leaders who seek to respond to them effectively and expediently, and with careful professional judgement. I am grateful that these policies and procedures were used in this case to respond immediately, to investigate and to remain vigilant for any reoccurrence. I also know from my interactions with University of Victoria Students’ Society (UVSS) and Graduate Students’ Society (GSS) leaders how committed UVic students are to this task. 

What is of primary importance at all times is solidarity and common purpose among all members of the campus community in addressing and combating racism and intolerance in all its forms.

I look forward to continuing to work with you to make our university a diverse, welcoming and inclusive community.

President Jamie Cassels, QC
University of Victoria