Hold University of Toronto Political Science Accountable for Awarding Bigotry

Hold University of Toronto Political Science Accountable for Awarding Bigotry

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Yiğit Özçelik started this petition to University of Toronto Department of Political Science and

(CONTENT WARNING: SEXUAL VIOLENCE, RACISM)

(See GOALS at the bottom.)

---4 February 2021, 7PM EST---

The Political Science department at the University of Toronto has given the David Rayside Undergraduate Scholarship, a prestigious award intended for people who advance the goals of equity, accountability and diversity, to a student who has been recorded by other students in vocal support of, among other similarly hateful ideas,
* Denial of Canadian genocide of Indigenous peoples (on the faulty basis that systematic Canadian massacre of Indigenous peoples was unintentional),
* Refusing to call sexual assault survivors 'victims' on the (faulty) basis that it is an act less violent than murder or torture and is thus somehow undeserving of the adjective.

Such statements, when harbored, expressed and tolerated, silence marginalized students. This is unfair, unsustainable and unacceptable to students belonging to marginalized demographics, who have a right as much as any other student studying at the University of Toronto (a public Canadian institution) to participate in their post-secondary education without having their basic human dignity called into question.

The creator of this petition can attest that he has seen screenshots, photographs and possibly other records plausibly belonging to the award recipient that corroborate the statements by the recipient, paraphrased above. These records included public social media accounts, where the recipient identified themselves clearly.

Visual evidence of these statements cannot be provided at this point as the award recipient in question has used their enormous privilege to harass and silence individual students seeking accountability by employing lawyers, forcing people to take down publicly hosted records of their bigotry from at least one other petition. Recall that this person was chosen for a scholarship intended (on paper) for empowering marginalized people. The University of Toronto administration's decision to tolerate and encourage such bigoted and hateful behavior is not acceptable.

By promoting a vocal rape and genocide apologist, the Political Science department administration has proven that they are incompetent at leading a diverse group of students and thus pose an active danger to the education of all marginalized students on campus, especially students of Political Science. Administrators of this department have then doubled down on this decision, claiming that they stand by the award because they only evaluated candidates based on their applications and (implicitly) that they assume no responsibility of vetting the candidates they endorse and platform as exemplary members of our community.


You can find the doubling-down statement here: https://politics.utoronto.ca/2021/02/statement-on-david-rayside-award/

---GOALS---

We thus hereby call the following members of the Political Science department administration at the University of Toronto to rescind the most recent David Rayside Undergraduate Scholarship award, publicly apologize to the University of Toronto community, and then resign:


Acting Chair, Professor Robert Vipond
416-978-2846
robert.vipond@utoronto.ca


Associate Chair and Undergraduate Director (St. George Campus), Professor Dickson Eyoh
416-978-3342
dickson.eyoh@utoronto.ca


Associate Chair, Special Projects (Awards & Research), Professor Linda White
416-978-2857
lwhite@chass.utoronto.ca

It is our hope as the signers of this petition that the replacements for these positions will actively enforce an environment of respect, and understanding for systematic barriers marginalized students face.

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"Outstanding scholarship, teaching, and learning can thrive only in an environment that embraces the broadest range of people and encourages the free expression of their diverse perspectives."

-- University of Toronto, The Division of HR & Equity, "Our Commitment to EDI." See https://hrandequity.utoronto.ca/inclusion/ .

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