I am GlenDONE: The Need to Recognize Discrimination on Our Campus

Photo: Lauren Clewes

Photo: Lauren Clewes

Considering the rise – or public emergence – of anti-Semitism, anti-Black racism, Islamophobia, and many other forms of discrimination plaguing our society today, it is time to wake up from the comfortable, apathetic, and lucid dream state that we call reality, and begin to critically evaluate our surroundings. It is time that Glendon –  often marketed as a beautiful, chipmunk-filled, rose-garden harboring, diversity loving centre of excellence – begin questioning its self-proclaimed beauty and start facing the harsh truths which are quite far removed from these “magical” descriptions.

Firstly, let’s recognize that the Glendon of our dreams only truly exists for a few months a year. The rest of the time, we know Glendon as a cold, barren forest, isolated from the city, where there are more skunks than chipmunks, and more cigarette buds than flower buds. If we were to look beyond Glendon’s aesthetic appearance, there lays a true problem on its campus. Feelings of repulsive hatred are being expressed through demonstrative actions.

To give some necessary background on what is meant by the above statement, here is a brief timeline detailing the events of the previous weeks, in case the e-mail sent out by our principal didn’t quite capture the gravity of the situation:

March 7: Racist graffiti targeting the Black community was found all around the first floor COE men’s washroom.

March 8: Anti-Semitic comments, crude drawings of swastikas and a bomb threat were found in a stall of the same COE washroom.

March 9 : Anti-Islamic comments and a bomb threat were found in the same bathroom stall.

March 15: The same bathroom stall was closed to accommodate a police investigation for yet another act of discriminatory graffiti.

March 20: York Hall was temporarily evacuated by Toronto Police Services for a ground-level investigation due to the discovery of bomb threats and anti-Semitic comments in the building.

In light of these events, Glendon club executives and representatives of the student community met with five members of the administrative staff of Glendon College on March 16th to discuss productive, preventative, and proactive methods to deal with incidents of this nature. The student body has come up with a list of measures that must be taken to respond to the current situation. It is our hope that the implementation of these measures will be imminent.

It is very unfortunate that Glendon, our beautiful home, has been victim to such heinous acts of hate, but it brings our attention to a very real issue. We must stop pretending that Glendon is a utopian, mystical place which remains untouched by the issues of the real world. We have to know how to address these problems head on, and we need a concrete protocol in place that can be followed when such despicable acts of discrimination occur. Currently, such a protocol does not appear to exist at Glendon.

If Glendon truly wants to be recognized as a beautiful, inclusive, and multicultural hub that inspires and promotes its students diversity, we must learn to celebrate each other’s differences, and welcome the ideas of others while simultaneously condemning hate. We must foster a community firmly grounded on principles of acceptance and understanding, rather than fear and ignorance.

It truly does start with us, the students. The administration has shown, through their weak response, that it will be up to us to make a difference; to stand up against discrimination. It starts with acknowledging hatred for what it is, and vehemently challenging it.

These events do not mean that Glendon is a place filled with hatred. It is, however, filled with apathy. Pretending these issues do not exist only succeeds in fostering an atmosphere of naïveté and indifference. The next time someone says “Glendon is such a wonderful place”, smile and recommend they try the pizza in the cafeteria. It will be the first step in revealing that even the most gorgeous of places conceals the most grotesque things.

Together, we truly can “Make Glendon Great Again”. Together, we will stand united against hatred and discrimination.

Students are encouraged to report any information they have regarding the incidents that have occurred. Students are also encouraged to approach security officials in future to reporting any incident that they feel is discriminatory or threatening in nature. For those affected or concerned by these events, Counseling Services (111A) are available. They can be reached at 416-487-6709 or at counselling@glendon.yorku.ca.

Security Services Contact Information:

General Phone: 416-650-8000 or Ex. 58000

Urgent Phone: 416-736-5333 or Ex. 33333

Email: scc@yorku.ca