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Photo: Marta Kierkus

Open letter to president Frémont signed by 16 groups on campus 

Sixteen student associations at the University of Ottawa have signed an open letter addressed to president Jacques Frémont condemning the June carding and handcuffing of a Black student by campus security, calling for change.

Jamal Koulmiye-Boyce, Conflict Studies and Human Rights Association (CHRA) vice-president of academic and university affairs, was handcuffed by a campus security officer and detained on campus grounds for over two hours for not having identification on hand on June 12. He was then released without charges.

“Noting Jamal Koulmiye-Boyce’s integral role … in delivering academic and university-related resources to his peers in CHRA, we are appaled by the treatment towards a person who has dedicated his extracurricular involvement to bettering the university experiences of his peers,” the letter, posted online Saturday, reads. 

The groups say they welcome the university’s response so far and list eight further calls to action.

These include a public apology, a review of all carding policies on campus, making counselling immediately available to those impacted by the June 12 incident, and ensuring administrative support to the University of Ottawa Students’ Association (UOSU) and other student associations to establish resources to address campus racism and support Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPOC). 

The letter also calls for the U of O to engage in a comprehensive consultation with the Black Student Leaders Association, the BIPOC Caucus of the Association of Professors at the University of Ottawa and future UOSU-established student resources to hear their needs and concerns to then develop a comprehensive strategy to address anti-Black racism. 

The letter calls for the university to publicize the results of the ongoing inquiry into the incident, led by former vice-chair of the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario Esi Codjoe, and to collect, analyze and share information on the experiences of BIPOC on campus, especially in interactions with campus security.

“We are committed to assisting the University in implementing anti-racism and decolonization measures,” the letter concludes. “We welcome a meeting with the University President to further discuss the need for concrete action.”

The signing groups include the CHRA, Engineering Students’ Society, Science Students’ Association, Telfer Student Council, Nutrition Student Association, Human Kinetics Student Association, Psychology Students’ Association, The International Development and Globalization Student Association, Criminology Students’ Association, Health Sciences Student Association, Communication Students’ Association, Students’ Association of the Faculty of Arts, Undergraduate Nursing Student Association, Computer Science Student Association, Association of Students in Civil Law of Outaouais and Economics Student Association.