Two Students Covering Anti-Racism Event Get a Reception That Is Anything But Welcoming

Two Ryerson University journalism students attempted to cover a Racialized Student Collective meeting March 11, only to be told they couldn’t because of their skin color.

Trevor Hewitt and Julia Knope, both white, were sitting in the on-campus meeting room when they were approached by a woman who “appeared to be setting up for the event,” according to the student newspaper, The Ryersonian:

“She approached Hewitt and Knope and asked if they had ever been racialized.

Hewitt said he then told the woman he wanted to cover the meeting for an assignment. He said the woman told him that because he was not a racialized student, he could not sit in on the meeting. Hewitt and Knope then left the room.”

The meeting was advertised on Facebook as part of a continuing effort by the group to build an “anti-racism community on campus:”

Image Credit: Facebook

Image Credit: Facebook

Knope believes keeping white people out of the discussion isn’t the best way for the group to achieve their goals:

“If their goal in these meetings was to end racialization then it needs to be something everybody is involved in. If some people are causing the problems, they need to know. Grouping yourself off… is not going to accomplish anything.”

Racialised [sic] Students Collective coordinator Vajdaan Tanveer confirmed to The Ryersonian that the two students were booted from the meeting because of their race. He also acknowledged that this might inhibit conversation:

“We don’t want (racialized) students to feel intimidated, that they can’t speak their mind because they are afraid of being judged or something they say might be used against them.”

He added that the group would have some open meetings, as well.


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