By Jesse McLean
Heather Kere says she will call the police after a student sent the vice president education an e-mail that she calls a “racist threat.”
The e-mail, titled “KKK-White Power,” criticizes Kere and the Ryerson Students’ Union for promoting Black supremacy on campus. It also describes Kere as a “racist bitch.”
“It’s nothing less than a hate crime. It’s racist, it’s sexist and it’s very, very abusive,” Kere said, adding that she has also contacted campus security and the office of discrimination and harassment.
However, Justin Morris, the sender of the e-mail, says his comments were intended to criticize Kere’s decision to bring former Black Panthers to speak at Ryerson, a group he equates to the Ku Klux Klan.
This year, Kere has endorsed black militant Malik Zulu Shabazz and activist Angela Davis to speak at Ryerson.
Morris sent the message to the Ryerson Students’ Union executive on Friday afternoon.
In it, he said the RSU has taken an extremist approach to racism on campus.
“Maybe we can be very tolerant and invite black panthers to Ryerson to teach us that whites are some sort of disease and that we must be exterminated off the face of the planet,” Morris wrote.
In a phone interview, Morris said he was angry when he wrote the e-mail, using the subject head “KKK – White Power” to garner attention. “I probably wasn’t thinking at the time,” he said. “But what I wrote was not hate speech.”
However, Friday’s incident isn’t the first confrontation Morris has had with the RSU.
President Nora Loreto says Morris and his brother Trevor have sent several “homophobic and abusive” messages to RSU members dating back to November 2006, when the then-RSU executive denounced the “I’m a White Minority @ Ryerson” Facebook group, of which Morris was a member.
But Kere said the impact of the e-mail goes beyond the corridors of the RSU.
“Every marginalized group on campus is being targeted by this student, and he’s doing it in a proud way, which is the most disturbing part,” she said.
Grace-Edward Galabuzi, a politics professor and member of Ryerson’s Anti-Racism Coalition, said the e-mail speaks to a larger problem at Ryerson.
“The fact that a student at Ryerson feels comfortable sending this, and saying his name, it’s very troubling to me,” he said.
The coalition met on Monday night to discuss the e-mail.
But Loreto is doubtful that anything will come of Kere filing the issue with the office of discrimination and security.
She said she has contacted both over messages she received from Morris in the past, but nothing happened.
The CBC reported on Thursday that Ontario PC leader John Tory denounced Morris’s e-mail. Morris had been a member of the executive of Ryerson’s Conservative club, but resigned after the e-mail was made public.