Queen’s University’s Principal has made a statement regarding a racist image of a Queen’s Alma Mater Society (AMS) election candidate which became public during an election debate on February 2nd.
The image became public after a spectator at the event anonymously Airdropped the photo. Airdrop is a feature built into iOS devices which allow individuals to wirelessly transfer images and videos through a of Bluetooth and Wifi.
In his statement, Principal and Vice-Chancellor Patrick Deane called the incident “dehumanizing” and “traumatizing” for black students at the university.
“For Black students who have been subjected to images of anti-Black hatred and dehumanizing commentary, I can only imagine how traumatizing the past few days have been,” Deane said.
“As a community, we need to fully understand the severity of the impact that racist actions have on the people to whom they are directed. Such actions unwind progress, and divide us by fueling mistrust, pain and anger.”
While the Principal hoped that this February would be a month to celebrate Black histories and futures, the institution was forced to “confront again an image steeped in colonial racism.”
“I know that the Black community feels burdened by our failures, but I want everyone to know that our commitment to change and to take real action is resolute and strong,” Deane said.
Deane said that through the signing of the Scarborough Charter on Anti-Black Racism and Black Inclusion, the university has indicated its readiness to be held to account.
“I give my promise that we will continue to put in the effort and the resources to ensure that the Black community thrives and flourishes, not just at Queen’s but also beyond. I am hopeful that our university can become what it aspires to be – a fully inclusive institution that sees value in every member of its community,” he added.
Black student groups across Queen’s University have criticized both Queen’s University and the Alma Mater Society for their lack of action relating to the incident. They also criticized the individual pictured in the photo for initially refusing to initially step down.
A short time later, the entire team stepped down from the AMS election.