Statement from President Shoukri and Provost Lenton on Incidents of Hate Graffiti

As we have been seeing on the world stage and within higher education, we are living in a global context that is increasingly complex. Over recent weeks, at both our Keele and Glendon Campuses, evidence of anti-Semitic, anti-Black and Islamaphobic hate graffiti and threats have been found in various locations.

We want to be very clear to the York University community and beyond: this kind of hate does not represent who we are, and is in complete disaccord with our values of respect and inclusion. We condemn all acts of hate, and we embrace diversity as the very foundation of our institution.

Our diversity is our strength. As one of Canada’s largest and most multicultural universities, we are home to more than 60,000 students, faculty and staff who can trace their roots to 157 countries globally.

As a university community, we must continue to defend the values of equity, inclusion, academic freedom and freedom of religion. Actions designed to intimidate, silence or exclude those with opposing views are not tolerated by the University, nor should they be tolerated by individual members of our community. Meaningful dialogue includes respect and empathy.

The safety of our students, faculty and staff is our highest priority, and we are committed to fostering an environment where everyone can learn, work and live safely. York’s Community Safety team responds immediately to all incidents, and works closely with the Toronto Police Service throughout any related investigations. We will continue to work with police as the investigations into these incidents unfold and those responsible are brought to justice.

We have been working proactively with student groups and other campus groups to ensure a safe, inclusive and respectful campus community for all. We will continue to speak directly with community members as we develop an action plan to address the concern that these incidents have raised, and to do everything we can to prevent it from continuing.

We must continue to serve as an example, on our campuses, of the tremendous success of Canada’s multicultural model, showing that it is indeed possible to embrace diversity and different perspectives while celebrating our shared values.

We are calling on all members of the York University community to be vigilant and to respect one another. An act of hatred toward one of us is an act against all of us.