By Matt Kwong
Racist remarks overheard in the Early Childhood Education lounge will jeopardize students’ use of the space.
The “alarming” incident occurred Nov. 8, according to an e-mail sent the following day by ECE Director Carol Dale Shipley to faculty and two members of the student union.
“It is surprising and disturbing to me to learn that some ECE students may be capable of such racist thoughts,” she wrote.
According to the note, a faculty member sharing an office in the ECE lounge heard “very loud conversation” that was “cleary racist” in content. “The faculty member…was so offended by the incident that closure of the ECE student lounge was recommended,” it went on.
ECE instructor George Hamilton occupies an office in the student lounge, but said he was shocked to hear about such an offensive conversation.
“It’s a serious issue not just for the school, but for the whole university,” he said. Shipley said she didn’t know many details about what was said in the lounge and wouldn’t comment on the future of the area. “I have a meeting with the course union this week [and] we’re going to discuss this at the meeting and which further steps we can take,” she said.
Shipley emphasized her belief that the incident is an isolated one. No action will be taken in regards to closing the lounge until Thursday morning, when student union reps meet with faculty, according to Sarah Cobbold, a student advocate for the course union.
In spite of a prominently displayed copy of Ryerson’s Non-Discrimination Policy Statement in the lounge, fourth-year ECE student Jumana Obid said she’s disappointed to hear about racism within the program.
“I’ve never experienced hearing those comments, but people should know better,” she said.