Law student groups at the University of Ottawa are at it again. Those pesky students are demanding respect from their peers and the communities and institutions they participate in.
Last week the Black Law Students Association (BLSA) Ottawa Chapter took to the internet, local media, and held a press conference, to speak out against the racist graffiti found in the men’s washroom at the Faculty of Law.
In his interview with the CBC Radio the President of the Ottawa BLSA chapter, Christian Levien, said that the graffiti is reflective of a tension that is generally on campus. He contends that law schools as institutions are places of privilege and people don’t realize how offensive their remarks can be. He referenced recent comments in classrooms and online which questioned whether some students have access to law schools because of their “minority status” as opposed to their merit. Through a blog post the Black Law Students indicate that they “stand in solidarity with those from marginalized communities who are told they are not worthy to access higher education.”
The BLSA has raised the question: how proactive should law schools be about combatting discrimination? They’ve called on the Faculty to create an equity committee that would deal with these types of grievances and they’re advocating for the University to institute mandatory anti-discrimination training for all students. Some have said that mandatory training is an exaggerated response, but can we really overstate the need to rid our institutions of this kind of discrimination?