University of the Fraser Valley campus in Abbotsford.

University of the Fraser Valley campus in Abbotsford.

UFV investigates reports of racial slurs from two students

Matter circulated on social media and was brought to university’s attention

Reports that two Abbotsford University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) students used racist language in private messages and a video are being investigated by the university.

In a message posted to social media, UFV said it is looking into the matter and “will diligently pursue under all applicable guidelines and policies.”

“The behaviour we have been informed of is not representative of the standard expected of UFV students,” the post said.

The matter came to the university’s attention after screenshots from private text conversations and a video were posted on social media.

“Rebecca” (not her real name), a woman who saw the posts, told the Abbotsford News that she was concerned about what had happened.

Posts shared by another woman indicated that she had been in private conversations with a couple and, during one exchange, the “N” word was allegedly used.

A video that the couple allegedly sent to the woman also used a racial slur for an Asian person.

Rebecca saw social media posts about the matter and, based on the couple’s profile information on Instagram, saw that they were UFV students.

She shared the matter on Twitter, “tagged” UFV in the posts and shared contact info for how others could make UFV aware of the situation.

Rebecca also posted a letter from “a concerned community member” that was addressed to the UFV administration and board, urging the university to take immediate action against the two students.

“To allow these students to go unpunished would demonstrate your university’s complicity in vicious racism and, ultimately, be an injustice to your students of colour on your part,” the letter states.

Dave Pinton, UFV’s director of communications, confirmed that UFV is looking into the matter.

“UFV promotes diversity and an inclusive environment – anything less that this type of environment will not be tolerated,” he said.

Pinton said if it is confirmed that the pair are UFV students and if the allegations are proven true, sanctions range from warnings to suspension or – in rare circumstances – expulsion. He said restorative justice options also exist.

Meanwhile, the UFV Race and Anti-Racism Network is holding a virtual event today (Monday), which was scheduled before this matter arose, from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. on Zoom for UFV students, staff and faculty.

Registration for “Breaking the Silence: Race and Racism at UFV” must be done in advance at https://bit.ly/2Z3gRX8

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Vikki Hopes | Reporter

@VikkiHopes

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