Volume 92, Issue 89

Wednesday, March 18, 1999


Update not done in time

Lone candidate can still lose

Campus hate crimes raise issue of racial tolerance

Beach not holding its water back

Brawl shakes up local bar

Study high on driving

Campus crime heats up with weather

Caught on campus

Campus hate crimes raise issue of racial tolerance

By Becky Somerville
Gazette Staff

Incidents of anti-Semitism at both Western and the University of Guelph have prompted progressive action against malicious activity and hate crimes.

Early Friday morning a cleaning crew was called to remove swastikas painted on the walls and notice boards of Guelph's French House in Lennox Addington Hall.

Keith McIntyre, director of security services for the University of Guelph Police Department, said while the vandal has not yet been apprehended, police are considering the incident a criminal offence.

"We're treating it as an act of violence with hate crime connotations to it. Anyone would be charged if we find out who did it," McIntyre said.

Currently the UGPD is interviewing residents of French House in order to determine whether or not they saw suspicious people or witnessed the incident, McIntyre added.

Irene Thompson, assistant director of residence life and desk operations for the university, said the entire campus is treating the incident as a human rights violation which is being thoroughly investigated.

"We have taken to labelling these kinds of things hate crimes and the campus has taken to dealing with them very seriously," Thompson said.

She added senior executives as well as students at the university have come together to discuss the problem and offer solutions. The interim solution, Thompson said, has been to change all the locks in the residence.

Michael Ramsay, director of residence for Western's Westminster College, said a similar situation occurred at the residence on March 17 where a Jewish student found a swastika of shaving cream on the door to her room.

While the college chose to deal with the problem internally through residents' council meetings and meetings with its Jewish students, Ramsay stressed this type of act is completely unacceptable and inappropriate.

"Generally people were offended by it," Ramsay said. He added student support and the issues raised about racism and anti-Semitism were constructive for all students and particularly the student directly involved.

Ramsay said he does not believe the incident is linked with the University of Guelph encounter and Westminster College has zero tolerance for hate propaganda of any kind. "I have no idea what would make someone do this type of thing."

Pete Hill, VP-campus issues for the University Students' Council, was appalled by the incident and said this type of behaviour absolutely does not belong on Western's campus or society in general.

"It's very unfortunate that it happened here, but I think an instance like this should be used to remind us that discrimination exists on this campus – that it can happen here and it is our responsibility to speak out against it," Hill said.

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Copyright The Gazette 1999