No room for racism or discrimination at UVic

Statement by President Jamie Cassels

There has been continuing discussion on our campus relating to the University of Victoria’s commitment to uphold our values as a diverse community and to combat racism. Last week, one of the University of Victoria’s Student Society (UVSS) advocacy groups, the Third Space, challenged students to participate in an interactive art installation where people could write comments about fighting racism and challenging white supremacy.

The unfortunate reality was just the opposite. The art project was vandalized by offensive graffiti and racist remarks. UVic’s Division of Student Affairs worked with the UVSS to remove those comments and to carefully consider the resulting outcomes. When it became apparent this strategy was not working, the UVSS requested the installation be taken down to mitigate against further damaging and hateful messages. UVSS statement

We celebrate our campus as an inclusive and welcoming community and we do not tolerate racism or the promotion of hatred against any person or group. Universities are places that encourage diversity of thought, opinion and ideas, and that value and protect freedom of speech. At the same time, there is no room for discrimination, harassment and hateful communications.  We remain committed to upholding our values as a community where we can learn, work and live with mutual respect. We all share a responsibility to eradicate racist attitudes and behaviour wherever we find them.

If you are a student who has been affected by the events of last week and would like assistance, please contact the Office of Student Life, Counselling, Multifaith Services, or the Office of Equity and Human Rights. If you are a faculty or staff member who has been affected, please contact the Office of Equity and Human Rights, or employee assistance.