The Peel Regional Police (PRP) have arrested a UTM student following a report that the student had posted hateful comments on social media. 

Following the arrest, UTM Vice-President & Principal Alexandra Gillespie released a statement to the U of T community, which the university emailed to students on October 15. Gillespie wrote that the PRP released the student from custody, but the student cannot attend campus.

The arrest

According to Gillespie’s statement, UTM Campus Safety received reports of “threatening and hateful messages” that the student had posted, and reported the incident to the PRP. The Varsity has not been able to confirm the content of the messages with the student or the police. 

In an email to The Varsity, a PRP spokesperson wrote that officers attended “an educational facility in the area of Missisauga Road and Dundas Street” in response to the posts. After conducting an investigation, the police arrested the 19-year-old student off-campus on October 14. 

The PRP have charged the student with “utter[ing] threats to cause death.” If indicted, the student could face up to five years imprisonment.

The PRP released the student with the condition that the student cannot attend any U of T campus. U of T also issued a trespass notice to the student, which prohibits them from visiting any U of T property.

According to the PRP, the student is set to appear before the Brampton Ontario Court of Justice sometime in the future.

U of T’s response

On October 15, Gillespie released a statement to the U of T community explaining that the university will increase its security presence at UTM. In an email to The Varsity, a UTM spokesperson wrote that Campus Safety will deploy additional uniformed constables, as well as plain-clothed constables and building patrol officers. 

In her statement, Gillespie wrote that “Antisemitism, Islamaphobia, racism, hate, and discrimination of any kind have no place on our campus.” Students can report harassment or discrimination based on race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, and/or creed through the university’s Anti-Racism and Cultural Diversity office, via email or phone. According to its website, the office will keep complaints confidential “as much as possible,” within the bounds of its legal duties.

Gillespie also encouraged anyone who becomes aware of “concerning behaviours or messages” or who feels unsafe to contact Campus Safety and/or the PRP immediately. 

For more information on responding to crisis or emergency situations, students can visit U of T’s Preparedness at the University of Toronto resource — an online tool which includes information on important contacts, how to respond to different types of incidents, and safety features on campus.