Diversity training required for University of Windsor students following racist messages

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The University of Windsor is considering whether or not Greek organizations can play a role on campus after years of research on a series of racist messages allegedly sent by members of the Delta Chi fraternity last November.

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“The comprehensive review should reflect the roles (Greek organizations) are willing to play and the responsibility they consider to be part of the relationship with the university, ”University of Windsor president Dr Robert Gordon said on Wednesday, announcing the end of the school’s research.

“We have contacted and are willing to have further discussions to decide how we will support, or not support, those organizations as they join our university.”

The University of Windsor on Wednesday announced the end of a nearly year-long investigation into a series of racist messages allegedly sent among members of the Delta Chi fraternity last year.

In a statement, Gordon said Greek organizations are currently not allowed to operate on campus pending the review. Prior to the survey, Greek organizations had no formal relationship with the university but were allowed to book space on campus for events.

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The University of Windsor president Dr Robert Gordon (right) and Dr Clinton Beckford, the school’s vice president of equality, diversity and inclusion, on Wednesday, November 17, 2021, provide an update to an event involving Delta Chi fraternity in 2020.
The University of Windsor president Dr Robert Gordon (right) and Dr Clinton Beckford, the school’s vice president of equality, diversity and inclusion, on Wednesday, November 17, 2021, provide an update to an event involving Delta Chi fraternity in 2020. Photo of Taylor Campbell /Windsor Star

Now, the university has disciplined students involved in the racist messages, along with ordering mandatory diversity, equality, and inclusive training.

“Major disciplinary actions have been imposed, including a requirement for sanctioned parties to undergo rigorous, appropriate training through the office of Dr. (Clinton) Beckford, the vice president’s office for diversity, equality and inclusion,” Gordon said.

The training is overseen by Dr. Clinton Beckford, an education professor appointed vice president of the university on equality, diversity and inclusion earlier this year.

The nine-hour training, completed over six sessions, addresses racism, sexism, anti-feminism, Islamophobia and anti-indigenous racism through different university departments, Beckford said.

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“We’re a university and when students come to us, we expect them to leave better than they came,” Beckford said. “It’s about knowledge, but also about their character as people and citizens.”

Asked if he feels training can adequately address the event, Beckford said he is confident that taking a “restorative approach” is appropriate for students.

“I think it’s appropriate. These are young people and although we want them to understand what they did wrong, we also want to provide them with tools to be better people. “

Gordon declined to comment on other specific disciplinary initiatives for involved students.

A series of racist messages, allegedly sent and shared among members of the Delta Chi fraternity in a private group chat, appeared last year on a public Instagram page. The messages were later shared with university officials, prompting the investigation.

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The messages include homophobia, contemptuous expressions for blacks and Jews, and references to lynching.

The international headquarters of the Delta Chi Fellowship suspended and ultimately closed the Windsor chapter of the Fellowship.

Gordon said Wednesday that the university has also started a working group on anti-black racism, appointed a director of anti-racism and organizational change in addition to appointing Beckford to his role. A review of student disciplinary processes is also in the works.

“The university takes things like harassment and discrimination very seriously and we encourage everyone staff, faculty and students continue to present such events, ”Gordon said.

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