Concordia creates new task force to tackle racism on campus

The university promises to create a safe campus for students of diverse backgrounds

Due to rise of racism on campus, Concordia has created a new task force which promises to create a safe campus space. Photo Matthew Daldalian

On April 3, Concordia President Graham Carr informed students by email that a new task force called Standing Together against Racism and Identity-based Violence (STRIVE) has been formed. 

The creation of the task force comes after months of increasing tension on campus. On Nov. 8, 2023, a confrontation in the Henry F. Hall building between Israeli and Palestinian students turned violent. More recently, on March 13, a few students from the Muslim Student Association (MSA) expressed that they do not feel safe on campus, due to claims of Zionist students verbally harassing them on a regular basis. Several members of MSA accused students of calling them terrorists, pro-Hamas supporters and MSA terrorists. 

According to Carr, since October 2023, there has been an increase in “manifestations of hate, acts of intimidation and other instances of identity-based violence.” In his statement, Carr said these incidents are unacceptable. 

The university created STRIVE as a result of increasing identity-based violence on campus. According to the university’s website, the task force will aim to address identity-based violence, strengthen anti-discrimination efforts and develop new policies and initiatives to combat discrimination at Concordia. 

The task force will consist of one overseeing body and six subcommittees. Each subcommittee will consist of one lead and three members representing staff, students and faculty. The subcommittees will tackle key issues, including antisemitism, anti-Arab racism, Islamophobia, anti-Asian racism, transphobia, as well as campus climate and campus engagement. 

For each subcommittee, the university will examine existing campus policies and systems in place for complaints. The university will also evaluate the community’s access to campus services and speak to the relevant Concordia and Montreal communities to deduce what measures are needed. 

According to Concordia’s website, the committees are seeking participants to join the task force. 

This isn’t the first time the university has created a task force. Concordia currently has one task force, the Task Force on anti-Black Racism. Alongside the task force, Concordia also created a committee on Sexual Misconduct and Sexual Violence in 2018—the latter of which has been heavily criticized by students. These criticisms involve being non-student-centric and unable to adequately deal with cases or listening to student complaints. 

Carr promises to notify the student body of any advancements or progress made by STRIVE.