Statement from Vice-President, Human Resources & Equity Kelly Hannah-Moffat, and Vice-President and Provost Cheryl Regehr

October 3, 2020

The University of Toronto proudly supports the work of its Anti-Black Racism Task Force. The Task Force’s work will be challenging for all of us, but vital in bringing our community together to work towards ensuring that all Black members of our university community feel valued and supported. 

There has been an overwhelmingly positive response to several recent anti-Black racism initiatives at the University, including the National Dialogues, the Restore program, and the launch of the Task Force.  

It was therefore with profound regret that we have to report that soon after the Task Force’s launch, we received anonymous feedback on the Task Force webpage containing deeply hateful, racist comments against the Black community, as well as hateful anti-Semitic, anti-Indigenous, and Islamophobic comments.

Human rights, respect, and civility are fundamental values at the University of Toronto. The University has zero tolerance for hate speech, harassment, and discrimination.  We condemn in the strongest possible terms anti-Black racism, and all other forms of hate and racial violence.

The Task Force and the University value feedback from members of our community that provides insight on how we move forward positively to advance Black inclusion and excellence. The Task Force’s work will bring about difficult, painful, and challenging conversations for members of our community.  Backlash and resistance is a deeply troubling reality in the ongoing fight to eliminate all forms of racism. These hateful comments underscore the importance of institutional anti-racism efforts, which must have a key focus on systemic, structural, and individual forms of racism.

We have made the decision to disable comments from this webpage in light of the racist comments that we have received to date.  However, feedback from our community is at the heart of the work of the Task Force.  We are committed to creating spaces for dialogue over the coming weeks and months. If you have feedback to share in the coming days, you can email taskforce.chairs@utoronto.ca

For those who need support, we encourage faculty, librarians, and staff to contact our Employee & Family Assistance Program, and students to use U of T My SSP or the Navi wayfinder for campus resources and supports.  You can also connect to the Restore program offered by the Anti-Racism and Cultural Diversity Office.

If you are feeling threatened or fear for your safety, please contact the University’s Community Safety Office right away.