By Josh Visser
A controversial Facebook group has been taken down at Ryerson’s request.
Janet Mowat, Ryerson’s manager of public affairs, confirmed that Quinton Coish, the creator of the Facebook group “I’m a White Minority Group @ Ryerson,” met with two Ryerson officials and was asked to take the site down.
Ken Jones, the dean of the Faculty of Business and James Norrie, the director of the Information and Technology program, met with Coish on Monday afternoon, Mowat said.
“The group that Quinton Coish started was not an official Ryerson group, so he was asked to remove the (Ryerson designation) because that signals acceptance by the university,” Mowat said. “But what he does privately is up to him.”
Coish took the website down Tuesday morning and started another Facebook group — “I’m a White Minority @ a Toronto University.”
The RSU confirmed that they had nothing to do with the group being shut down, despite their condemnation in a Monday meeting. In an age where “Googling” is a verb, students should monitor their one public profile, says Abby Goodrum, a Ryerson professor who specializes in information technolgies. “Your persona on the web will stay around long after you have moved on,” Goodrum said.
This is of concern to both Coish and Jen Pringle who were quoted extensively in the Ryersonion article that started the controversy over the group.
Both say that they feel that the article misrepresented them and linked them to a story that had the term “white power” displayed prominently in the sub-headline.
“They pinned me as a leader of a group similar to the (Ku Klux Klan) at Ryerson,” Coish said. “It’s unfortunate and untrue. They’ve made an ass of me and others of well.” “It was very biased,” Pringle said. “I remember explicitly saying how real racism is today, how there is white privilege still today. The worst quotes were chosen.”
White privilege, said University of Texas professor and the author of In the Heart of Whiteness: Confronting Race, Racism and White Privilege. Robert Jensen, can be seen in the racialized disparity between white and non-white America in the distrubition of wealth and well-being.
“White people are given certain advantages (in society) and this is called white privilege, although it should be called unearned white privilege.”
Jensen added that this culture can be fought against with a sense of humour, but of the Facebook group he asked, “are they mocking themselves or reinforcing white supremacy?”
“Anybody, any race can join,” Coish said. “I remove anything that’s posted that’s racist or derogatory.” “We just make fun of rednecks,” Pringle added. “But I can easily tell how some people might think this is a racist group.”
Before the site was taken down, the group had risen from 64 members to 137 members in less than a week.