Fair note: I have not done an interview for myself yet, and I am going to in the future. For now, this is an informed opinion article.
For those who haven't heard, starting back this February, Durham College's new student association, Durham College Students Inc. or DCSI, ran an election it had never done before, after the split of DC and UOIT (University of Ontario Institute of Technology)'s associations. These three men are a group who were able to win president and vice-president positions, and I describe them as a group because they are close friends, not because of their race, unlike how the rest of the DCSI allegedly did. The winners of the roles of President, Internal Vice President and External Vice President, would have a say in the responsibilities of, according to Durham Region, "the student health plan, campus radio station and outreach programs that include a food bank, women’s centre, pride + LGBTQ centre, and [the] sexual health resource centre." Jaylan Hayles won the presidency, Toosaa became the internal vice-president and Geoffrey became the external vice-president. But back in late June, they received notices out of nowhere that all of them were terminated from their positions, without any plan put forward to replace them. The three of them have reached out to friends and the media, saying they were mistreated by the rest of the association and eventually fired because of their race.
“We didn’t receive training [for the parts],” Jaylan told Global News, in reference to after the three of them were elected in. “Once we started asking more questions and started to get more intelligent about what was going on, they just kicked us out.”
Toosaa said, “I just wanted, you know, the answers for why.”
The three also said they were discriminated against, some discussions really became heated, and when emails had to be sent out, for them, it was always just one email, specially for them.
Back to the point, I remember when this election was taking place. About eight other people were campaigning against Jaylan and one individual with a name similar to Jagmeet Singh's had a poster above some doors that accidentally stayed up long after the election came to a close. I kind of giggled, numbering down the days no one else noticed it. Also, I ended up not allowed to talk to the three of them on my Riot Radio show about what they were hoping to do if they won. They were asked to follow these limits put in place on advertising themselves for the upcoming days. The four of us were hoping to do something to work on the campaign, which never went through, but they didn't need my help to win the positions.
And the association has not been able to publicly give much of another side. Apparently they wrote back that there were "confidential human resources matters" they couldn't talk about, but they also said, "We value diversity and want to be explicitly clear that DCSI is committed to maintaining a safe and inclusive workplace. One of our core promises is helping to ensure the campus is a safe, welcoming and inclusive space for all students, regardless of race, citizenship, background, or any other factor, and we remain committed to upholding this promise and continuing to serve our student community...The decision to terminate their employment was only made after careful consideration by DCSI’s student selected Board of Directors, in the best interest of the association and the students we serve."
Okay, well, if they really do completely value diversity, was it just a coincidence that all three of them were the only ones out of the association terminated, and all were black, at the same time, and none of them were told a reason as to their termination? Also, if their goals were to be within the interest of the students, well, that's the whole point of an election in the first place, and the students decided Jaylan would be fit for the presidency.
I understand that politics are never straightforward and there are loads of annoying confidentialities that are there for a reason, but the association failed completely at saying to the three and to us why they were fired. The three former presidents are currently working towards lodging complaints to the association, including an appeal and/or a human rights complaint after a judge dismissed an application they made in hopes of getting a judicial review that would reinstate them.
Now, look, this is where things really make me angry. There's been some commentary on this issue. But some people have said maybe the three of them were fired because they were incompetent and are now trying to grant themselves a privilege above white people by seeking sympathy. And that's putting it lightly. Some of these comments have been made about the Durham Region article, and they surprisingly got backup:
How can anybody in their right minds POSSIBLY believe than anyone would be fired strictly based on race in the ultra hyper sensitive political climate we've been living in for years now?! If you are black, Muslim, female or gay, YOU are handed the keys to the kingdom on a silver platter in 2018, so anybody with a brain and the slightest semblance of an education would clearly see right through this pathetic and shameless attempt at gaining sympathy from self loathing, socio-political millennial cucks.
This is why I will never hire a person of colour. I don't want to be called a racist if I have to fire them Is this racist? Yes it is, or is it just protecting myself from a lawsuit, and protecting my name?
it sickens me that articles about anti-black racism or crimes committed by black folk seem to draw the most comments, yet all the articles about crimes committed by white folks(which are the majority in durham) seem to be ignored completely by commenters...
There were positive comments too, especially on Durham Region's Facebook sharing of the article, of people like me who also have my opinion on how refusing to explain this coincidental termination draws skepticism, irresponsibility, corruption and suspicion.
Here are some examples: If DCSI would have put out a statement citing real reasons that had been documented than I might understand, but refusing to comment with a straight reason is suspicious. The termination letter with no real reason is inconsiderate at best, even if there was a valid reason they have every right to know why. If there were good reasons I don't see why they would neglect to cite them in the termination letter or when asked for further comment.
This is disappointing.
Until they have vocalized why they fired them how can anyone not assume race is involved? I’m sorry but I would be seeking legal advice if I was fired with no justification.
Lmao they get majority votes then dc scrambles the student association, what a joke
If the student association really did fire them only on the grounds of their race, then student presidencies are completely useless and the people we entrust with the issues and decisions on the campus are disgraceful. Until they can expressly share why they were terminated, it's fair to assume they were fired for their race. And when I read comments calling minorities spoiled and calling the actions my friends are trying to do "pathetic and shameless" and calling anyone who disagrees a self-loathing, socio-political millennial cuck (if he even spelt it right), when I read stuff like that, I am ashamed to be a white male. One time, when Jaylan was working on the west coast, he heard someone sobbing in the park, and it was a little boy, around 13. He didn't know him, but the young guy had a rope with him, and Jaylan refused to leave this boy alone despite his wishes to be left alone. The boy wanted to hang himself because he felt no one in the world cared about him. But Jaylan did. If I heard someone crying in the middle of the night in the city, I probably would've been too shy to walk up to them. All three of these guys stick by their friends and are the last people I can think of who would ever deserve what's happened to them.
Their lawyer, Jason Bogle, hopes that the three will have their roles restored. “These young persons proudly worked for these positions and deserve the right to participate in their school's governance for their tenure,” he said to Durham Region.
I am hoping to speak with Jaylan, and Geoffrey and Toosaa if they manage to be available, in the coming week to discuss this issue further.