Queen’s University’s Principal and Vice-Chancellor has released a statement in response to a racist “zoom hack,” that occured on February 2rd, 2021.
The zoom event was a guest lecture presented by Dr. Kathryn Lofton at the School of Religious Studies, who spoke about “The Present Life of Blasphemy: Kanye West in American Popular Culture.” During the lecture, witnesses saw the hackers displaying hateful anti-semitic imagery, including swastikas.
In a statement, Deane condemned the incident and called the incident “hateful, sexist, racist and anti-semitic.” “We are grateful to our staff and faculty for acting as quickly as they could to address this destructive and hurtful assault on what should have been an invaluable academic and learning opportunity,” Deane said.
“Queen’s extends a personal apology to Professor Lofton and all those who attended for any harm they suffered due to this incident.” Deane added. “There is no place for harassment and discrimination on our campus. It is particularly alarming when there is no warning of such an attack and limited means of defense in an anonymous, cyber world.”
Queen’s University Information Technology Services are now investigating the origins of the incident to prevent the incident from occurring in the future. The incident has also been reported to Campus Security and the Kingston Police.
Queen’s Hillel has condemned the attack, and have said that they are supporting several Jewish students who were affected by the zoom hack. “We stand in solidarity with students from other marginalized communities who were also impacted by the horrific imagery and messaging,” Queen’s Hillel wrote.
“Zoom bombing” has become a common occurrence since the start of the pandemic. Last week, an online event organized by racialized students at the University of Waterloo was hijacked by hackers spewing hateful slurs.