Editor’s note: The article below contains offensive language.
ABBOTSFORD (NEWS 1130) — The University of the Fraser Valley has started probing accusations of racism made against two of its students as a national conversation about systemic racism continues across Canada and beyond.
The behaviour catalogued online includes multiple uses of racial slurs in screen-captured private text messages and short videos posted to Instagram. The accused are a white male student and his girlfriend, who is described as being of Asian descent.
In a statement shared on Twitter, UFV says it strongly condemns racism and hate speech in all forms, and anything less than a diverse and inclusive environment will not be tolerated.
“The behaviour we’ve been informed of is not representative of the standard expected from UFV students,” it says.
The university says an investigation was opened Sunday afternoon.
Hi there. We are taking this matter seriously. pic.twitter.com/TcPovsAC0w
— U of Fraser Valley (@goUFV) June 22, 2020
Text communications appear to show the male student casually dropping the “N word”. He can also be heard calling his girlfriend a different slur in an Instagram video.
“U say I can’t say n—– but u can say poc? Maybe ur the racist”, the student writes in one of the documented direct messages.
His girlfriend defends the language in one Instagram video saying, “There’s a difference between saying it to someone when you don’t know them and saying it in a friendly context.”
One of the people being investigated appears to defend themselves in a series of screen-captured conversations, claiming they were goaded or manipulated into saying racist things. Representatives for the other party declined to comment on the record to NEWS 1130.
UFV director of communications Dave Pinton says the investigation is focused on the school’s harassment prevention policy, which prevents behaviour considered discriminatory by the BC Human Rights code.
“That includes humiliating, offending, or demeaning people on the basis of race, colour, sexual orientation, political belief, religion, and much more,” he says.
“There are a range of sanctions if these people are UFV students and if the allegations are proven true. These sanctions range from warnings to suspension or expulsion.”
Other students have been sharing their reactions to the Twitter thread online.
“I promise you as a Black man there is no difference,” says one student in a video posted to Twitter. “You have no right to call me the N-word ever.”
He also calls the students out for racial slurs used in several direct messages.
An open event was previously scheduled for Monday afternoon in which students will be encouraged to share their own stories about racism, and discuss specific calls to action.
NEWS 1130 has reached out to UFV, and the parties involved in the allegations for additional comment.