Today, the University of Toronto community is observing the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, in advance of this Sunday, March 21st. A few weeks ago, we marked International Women’s Day. Both take on added urgency, as members of our community join countless others in grief and outrage at the mass shootings in Atlanta, Georgia earlier this week, in which six Asian women were among the murdered.
As I stated in the immediate wake of the terrible news, the University of Toronto emphatically condemns anti-Asian discrimination and racism, and all forms of hate and racial violence. We also condemn all forms of discrimination, hate and violence against women. Our commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion, and to the human rights of all people is absolutely fundamental to our values and our excellence as an academic community.
To all members of the diverse Asian communities on our three campuses, please know that we stand in solidarity with you at this very difficult time. And we appreciate that it comes after a year of greatly increased incidence of violence, harassment and subtler forms of racism directed at Asian people in Canada and around the world, reports on which have been detailed recently in the media. It is particularly heartbreaking to hear, as we have done since the pandemic first emerged, that people in the Toronto region and many members of our own University community have been targeted in unconscionable acts of racism.
Let me close by saying that it is simply impossible to imagine U of T, Toronto and Canada without the incredibly vital contributions of our multicultural communities, which constitute such a powerful source of strength and excellence in all spheres, here and everywhere. And we are proud of and grateful to U of T’s very substantial Asian communities, locally and globally. Let us remember that of course we still have work to do in combatting racism, and let us commit to calling out hate whenever we witness it, and redouble our efforts to combat discrimination and violence on every level.
Meric S. Gertler
President, University of Toronto
For any members of the U of T community who need help in the wake of these events and ongoing concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out to the services available through our campuses, at the links provided below.
For all students, staff and faculty:
- Anti-Racism and Cultural Diversity Office (located on the St. George Campus)
- UTSC Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion
- UTM Equity and Diversity Office
- Health and Wellness Centre (St. George Campus)
- Health and Wellness Centre (UTSC)
- Health and Counselling Centre (UTM)
- My SSP (support available 24/7/365)
For staff and faculty:
- Employee and Family Assistance Program (support available 24/7/365)