October 17, 2017
By: Leslie Claire Amminson
Students at Memorial’s St. John’s Campus were shocked to discover posters spreading anti-Islamic hate speech plastered around the campus over the weekend.
It is unclear as to who put up the posters and whether or not the individuals who did were acting alone or belong to a larger group. Campus Enforcement and Patrol immediately removed the posters.
In a statement released via the Memorial University Gazette, MUN President Dr. Gary Kachanoski condemned the actions of the individuals responsible. Writing: “These posters do not align with Memorial’s values and we strongly condemn the messages contained within […] We are committed to providing a safe, respectful environment for all members of the campus community and will not tolerate hateful speech directed towards members of our community.”
MUNSU had a similar reaction to the incident. “It was very disheartening, but it also is concrete evidence of the discrimination that some of our students do face and have been facing for some time”, said Renata Lang,
Lang cited MUNSU’s anti-Islamophobia campaign as something the student union does to combat racism and religious tolerance at MUN. Through this campaign, more posters with the slogan “No Islamophobia, anti-Semitism or Racism” have been put up around campus in wake of the weekend’s events. In addition, MUNSU has made efforts to accommodate more students at their events. For instance, some events have been organized outside of the Breezeway in order to be welcoming to students who refrain from drinking alcohol for religious reasons.
When asked what more MUN could do to support Muslim students, Lang referred to instances of academic appeal, stating that the norms and values of a society should be taken into account so that an equitable service is administered to all students.
“A campaign is a start,” said Lang, “but we want to see implementation in our policies and practices.”