A Scarborough Campus Students’ Union (SCSU) election poster was vandalized with a racist remark last week.
The poster features Vice-President Equity candidate Nana Frimpong, who is part of the UTSConnect slate. Written in black marker, the defaced poster read: “Make UTSC black lower the admission average.”
The poster was originally found in the Humanities Wing building near the southwest hallway elevators by UTSC student Kayne Munroe, who wrote on Facebook that he threw it out after taking a photograph.
Munroe posted the photograph of the defaced poster on his Facebook page with the caption: “Let this be a reminder that racism is still alive and well.” As of press time, the Facebook post has been shared nearly 50 times.
“That comment on my picture wasn’t about me, it was about the people I love, represent, and look like,” wrote Frimpong in a statement to The Varsity. “If there’s one thing I know for sure it is this: Black people deserve to occupy the spaces that we occupy. To apologize for it is a disservice to the people that did what they had to do in order to see this next generation of leaders, thinkers, and believers.”
Frimpong also wrote that she was thankful for the support she has received since the incident. “I’ve been overwhelmed by the love,” she said.
On behalf of the UTSConnect slate, presidential candidate Sitharsana Srithas said, “UTSC often romanticizes the diversity on our campus but the reality is, even at one of the most racialized campuses in Ontario, anti-black racism and discrimination is still very prevalent.”
Srithas continued, “My team and I will not rest and will continue to fight anti-black racism and all forms of oppression.”
When asked about SCSU election procedure punishments, current President of SCSU Jessica Kirk said, “Based on our current demerit points system, the only clear distinction of procedures followed in the case of vandalism is that the CRO reserves the right to make rulings on issues and events not otherwise covered in the code.”
“In this case, the CRO has ruled that if the culprit of vandalism is found to be a candidate in the elections, they will be immediately disqualified,” Kirk added.
Kirk also mentioned that the Elections and Referenda Committee will be releasing a statement “condemning hate speech and anti-black racism.”
UTSC Vice-President and Principal Bruce Kidd said the university is investigating and is asking anyone with any information to contact Campus Community Police.
“We strongly condemn these vile acts and will not tolerate them. They defy the environment of inclusion and respect that we try to foster here at U of T Scarborough,” said Kidd.
UTSConnect — which includes five candidates running for executive positions on the SCSU — is currently the only slate running in the SCSU elections, with another three independent executive candidates vying for five positions total.
Voting will occur from February 7–9 in the IC Atrium, the Student Centre, and the Bladen Wing’s Tim Hortons.
Munroe did not return The Varsity’s requests for comment.
Editor’s note: This article has been updated to include comment from Bruce Kidd.