Nova Scotia

Dalhousie grad gets long-awaited apology from university via tweet

Two years after Dalhousie University withdrew its decision to punish Masuma Khan over an anti-Canada 150 post on Facebook, Khan still feels ramifications from the incident and is demanding a public apology from the university on campus.

'It's not good enough. It's not even a real apology,' says Masuma Khan

Masuma Khan says she wants the university to apologize to her publicly and on campus. (Alia Youssef/The Sisters Project)

A former Dalhousie University student who was almost disciplined by the university two years ago over a Facebook post regarding Canada 150 celebrations says she's unhappy with an apology that only came this week after she publicly called out the university for not having provided one.

"It's not good enough. It's not even a real apology," said Masuma Khan. "I want them to apologize to me on campus. I want them to say sorry for everything they've done."

In the summer of 2017, Khan, who was then the student union's vice-president, wrote on Facebook that "white fragility can kiss my ass. Your white tears aren't sacred, this land is."

The Halifax university received a complaint about Khan's comment and proceeded with a formal discipline process after Khan declined a proposed informal resolution — undergoing counselling and writing a reflective essay.

In October 2017, the university withdrew its disciplinary action against Khan.

Khan, who now works for a non-profit organization, took to Twitter on Sunday to remind the university she's been waiting on an apology for two years.

On Monday, the university apologized over the course of three tweets.

"We recognize that when you went public with concerns about the Dalhousie University proceeding involving you, that both you and your family endured hateful and demeaning comments," the post said in part. "We regret that this happened, and we're sorry for that harm."

Khan wants the university to detail how it has taken accountability and issue a public apology that isn't "just a reply on Twitter."

Dalhousie tweeted its apology to Khan on Monday, Oct. 21. (Dalhousie University/Twitter)

"If you're going to write a memorandum about me and tell people that you're justified in taking on the discipline case and then you're gonna write a whole memorandum to people when you withdraw the case of discipline, why can't you write a memorandum saying that you're actually sorry?" said Khan.

She said she feels traumatized by the incident and said air travel has become more difficult, noting she feels she's more prone to additional screening since the incident with Dalhousie.

Khan wants the university to acknowledge how the incident has contributed to her being a target of harassment and death threats.

"Their lack of accountability or care for me as a human being has [negatively] affected my life," said Khan.

Dalhousie University statement

In a statement to CBC News that included parts of the Twitter apology, university spokesperson Brian Leadbetter wrote the university strives "to be a respectful and inclusive community where everyone feels welcome and supported.

"We know that Ms. Khan was a strong advocate for students, and she was always a champion for student voice on campus."

Khan said she is meeting next week with Dalhousie's vice-provost of student affairs.

With files from Anjuli Patil