Sunday, 20 Sep 2020

Western University launches working group following professor’s use of N-word

Western University has launched a working group to address issues of racism and oppression on campus.

The group was announced in a letter published on the university’s newspaper website and comes after a week after a student called out professor Andrew Wenaus for saying the n-word in class.

The student, Chizoba Oriuwa, has been receiving hateful emails since she spoke up.

Oriuwa’s reaction to the racist term — which she shared on social media — after the lecture on Oct. 23 prompted an apology from Wenaus. The professor wrote that he “chose to use language that was offensive to those in attendance” but has “expressed his regrets to the university” and requested that the apology letter be published.

Within days of the apology being issued, Oriuwa began receiving emails that were littered with the use of the n-word.

The emails were condemned in a letter from Western.

Jennie Massey, associate vice-president of student experience, later told Global News that Oriuwa’s email address had been shared to 4chan, which then led to racist and hateful emails being sent to the student from anonymous accounts.

According to Western, its new working group will “focus on the experience of Western community members, particularly from racialized groups, with an aim to provide educational programs and enact systemic change against racism and oppression.”

The working group will report directly to president Alan Shepard and will include members from a number of student groups including the university student council.

Western said it will provide more details on the working group’s mandate in the coming weeks.


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