Race played role in U of O carding incident, investigator finds
'It was unacceptable, and it was wrong,' university president tells black student
An independent investigator hired by the University of Ottawa to look into a carding incident involving a black student has found that both race and inadequate training played a role in the incident.
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Student Jamal Boyce said he was skateboarding on June 12 when campus security officers approached him and demanded he produce identification. When he couldn't produce any ID, he was handcuffed and detained for two hours until Ottawa police arrived.
Boyce wasn't charged with any crime, and was released.
Toronto lawyer Esi Codjoe, former vice-chair of the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, was asked to investigate the incident itself, as well as how the university's security policies may have contributed to it.
On Tuesday, U of O president Jacques Frémont released Codjoe's report.
"The report concludes that race was a factor in the incident," Frémont said. "It also concludes that the university's outdated operational procedures and inadequate training was a second factor in the incident. I accept this report and its findings."
Frémont said he was initially surprised to hear about the incident, "yet, as a human rights lawyer I should not have been. I know how much the pursuit of inclusivity remains an ongoing struggle in society at large."
Without naming Boyce, Frémont then offered an apology.
"I'm deeply sorry for the way you were treated and for the humiliation you experienced. I apologize to you for what happened. It was unacceptable and it was wrong."
Frémont then apologized to the community at large, and especially to members of the university's racialized community.
Frémont outlined the steps the university has taken to prevent similar incidents, and said he has met with Boyce and asked him to join an advisory committee looking at ways to prevent similar incidents from occurring.
"I continue to have full confidence in our protection services officers," Frémont said. "It was my belief before the incident, and it is still my belief now, that overall the University of Ottawa remains a safe, accepting and inclusive community."
In September, another black U of O student, Wiliston Mason, said he was shocked when a security guard blocked his way and demanded identification at a university residence, where Mason works as a community adviser.
In a statement, the U of O said the security guard worked for a private firm under contract with the university, and would no longer be allowed on campus.