Statement RE: Ryerson/TPS Partnership Action
Today we celebrate and say ‘good riddance’ to the Toronto Police Services. The relationship between Ryerson University and Toronto Police Services ends on March 31st, and we hope it stays that way.
For those who may be wondering what happened, Ryerson University established a relationship with the Toronto Police Services (TPS) and told the public that they were creating a course on diversity and bias avoidance. We brought forward our concerns almost two months ago, only to receive one email from President Lachemi. Concerns expressed by staff and faculty and many community member were met with statements more distressed with the legal process than answering questions and serious concerns.
The partnership meant that cops were in our classrooms and that Black and Indigenous student, staff, and faculty safety was compromised. We weren’t consulted, thought of, or answered even though we are the main stakeholders in this institution. To sell out our safety for a “bias avoidance and diversity course” is disgraceful. Ryerson has already admitted to its own anti-Native and anti-Black racism, and said they were “committed” to dealing with these important issues. We are sure the course, and allowing them in other classrooms, did not solve the pervasive anti-Black and anti-Native racism within the Toronto Police Services for which the Ontario Human Rights Commission is investigating them.
This is a reminder that we see you, Ryerson. We see through the way you created confusion around this partnership, trying to throw each other under the bus and avoiding accountability. We know both the Chang School and administration of Ryerson, including President Lachemi, was responsible for the implementation of the program. Everyone involved must be held accountable, and we plan on doing just that.
Ryerson must answer to our absent Black Cultural Studies program that was promised? Ryerson must answer when time and resources will be allocated towards programs and curriculum geared to supporting its marginalized students, rather than building new centres like the upcoming Centre for Policing and Social Justice – which the purpose of is yet to be promoted.
For an institution that prides itself on equity, community and inclusion, you have to do better. There are outstanding demands that you have to meet. There are promises you’ve made that you have to keep. You have your own set of recommendations from reports you’ve published that you have to implement. The campus is watching, we are watching, and we demand better.
The Black Liberation Collective-Ryerson