Sudbury

Laurentian University student expresses concern about racism

A Laurentian University student says her school still has a way to go when it comes to curbing racism on campus.

Laurentian official says steps are being taken to address racism

A Laurentian University student says not enough is being done to address racism on campus, but an official with the school says work is being done to make the campus a safe space for everyone. (Erik White/CBC )

A Laurentian University student says her school still has a way to go when it comes to curbing racism on campus.

Fourth-year student Hediyeh Karimian says she started to get concerned after two incidents on campus. In October, posters with the phrase 'It's ok to be white' showed up on campus. In March, students found a swastika on a cafeteria table.

The university did respond to both incidents. But Karimian says there have been no updates since.

She says she feels the university's silence is creating an uneasy atmosphere for students of colour.

"And you know, what message is this university sending? You guys are comfortable with taking international students, who pay three times the tuition ... but when they come here you don't make it a comfortable home for them," she said.

"I'm pretty disappointed in the university."

To help students who share the same concerns, Karimian started a support group.

From left to right: students Litha Ncansia, Hediyeh Karimian and Kadre Gray are all members of a student group who have concerns about racism. (Submitted by Hediyeh Karimian)

"Through us talking about it more and more, we started hearing about other people's stories of racism on campus," she said.

"The way the university deals with situations of students of colour is sad. It's not good."

Recommendations coming forward

Laurentian says it's already trying to get ahead of any hate messages on campus.

Chief of Staff Alex Freedman says work is underway by a task force looking into racism issues on campus.

"This is going to provide us with a series of recommendations about how to continue to work on this," he said.

"We have to work at creating safe spaces and we have to work actively at making diversity part of our society."

Freedman says says the investigation into the swastika incident is ongoing.

Sudbury police say they are not aware of any neo-nazi groups on campus.

With files from Casey Stranges