Nova Scotia

Man banned for racially profiling black N.S. student at B.C. meeting

A national academic group has banned a man from attending its annual meeting for three years after a probe found he showed 'unconscious bias' against a black graduate student who faced false allegations of stealing a laptop.

Investigator finds Acadia student was 'implicitly accused ... without justification' of stealing laptop

Shelby McPhee was racially profiled while attending a conference at the University of British Columbia. (Shelby McPhee)

A national academic group has banned a man from attending its annual meeting for three years after a probe found he showed "unconscious bias" against a black graduate student who faced false allegations of stealing a laptop.

The Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences hired a human rights investigator after Shelby McPhee complained about his treatment during the June 2 meeting at the University of British Columbia.

According to a report released Wednesday, a white man attending the congress questioned McPhee's right to be on campus, took photographs of the 26-year-old student and "implicitly accused him, without justification" of stealing his laptop.

The human rights lawyer found the respondent, who is not named, subjected the Acadia University political science graduate student to heightened suspicion and displayed "unconscious bias against him as a black man."

MacPhee says the incident was embarrassing and made him and fellow members of the Black Canadian Studies Association feel unsafe at UBC. (Robb Douglas/CBC)

In addition to the suspension, the federation says it is requiring the respondent to show he has taken steps to increase his awareness of white privilege and its consequences before he's allowed back at the congress.

The federation says it has revised a theme for the 2020 annual meeting, with the new title being "Bridging Divides: Confronting Colonialism and Anti-Black racism."

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