I am sick of this... is it just me or this town has some obsession with bear spray? I ain’t sure how many people keep themselves up with the local media but there was another attack on a 18 year old last Sunday (21st March, 2010). Police has not released the identity of the victim but the assailant was described as white, 20 year old male with black jacket and camouflage backpack.
I am hoping our memory is still fresh when last year several students reported assaults on them. We need to keep in mind that the actual numbers of violent attacks are always higher than the reported ones. The worst part is where all persons in authority place all the responsibility on the victim to go through the whole process which is a trauma in itself. Students don’t either want to get into the whole mess of reporting the incident and following up with the police which can be emotionally, physically and psychologically draining for the victim. It’s worse for an international student where various things are at stake for them including the fear of not being in a secure environment anymore. Where students are scared that it will negatively impact them, it is important to remember that it is your right to be free from discrimination of any kind. You are protected under law to be protected from harassment and discrimination, don’t let people misinform you.
Last December when we saw an escalation in the violent attacks, I sent out a memo to students asking them to be more aware of their surroundings and be safe. I am aware that it is extremely unfair to ask people to take extra precautions when we should be trying to control the situation and take proactive measures but that’s something which ain’t in my power. And please don’t send me any messages that you haven’t faced any racism because you are all high and mighty. If you haven’t then my best wishes are with you and I hope that you never do because it ain’t a great experience to go through. I am in no way implying that the attack on Sunday was a racialised attack, what I am trying to point out here is that there are violent attacks going on in City and anyone can become a victim due to sporadic nature of these attacks.
In light of this new incident, I really want to ask the university administration what they have done so far, what sort of measures have they taken for protecting the students of this university especially racialised and international, as they are more vulnerable, apart from all talk and no action or are they waiting for someone to get severely hurt so that they will finally do something about it?
I hate to talk in terms of dollars and cents but if the university administration doesn’t cares about the rights of students then they should care about the money that fills their pockets. At the end of the day, we pay your salary, so we better get some customer service over here!