For the second time in less than a month, Western University is dealing with controversy over a hand-written sign.
School officials issued a statement late Tuesday in response to a photo, taken over the weekend and posted to social media, showing four students standing infront of a banner that reads “Western Lives Matter.”
Associate Vice-President Jana Luker said in the statement that the photo has “produced outrage and backlash within our community,” and “co-opting the ‘Lives Matter’ phrase in this way is repugnant and trivializes the validity of this international cause and network.”
Noting that “Western does not tolerate racism” and banner is found “to be contrary to the university’s values,” Luker notes the University is working with Campus and London Police on an investigation to “determine whether individuals involved will be dealt with under Western’s Code of Student Conduct.”
The statement also links to a video of USC President Eddy Avila, who said that “equating the student upheaval of a Homecoming date change to the Black Lives Matter movement, which represents years of pain, oppression, and violence, is the epitome of ignorance and privilege. And it essentially belittles their entire movement.”
He goes on to encourage students to use their voices for good.
“Never be afraid to stand up for what you believe in, and by all means support any and every cause that truly means something to you, but do not do that at the expense of someone else’s struggle,” said Avila. “Please, use your voice wisely.”
Thousands of students celebrated ‘Faux-Co’ over the weekend, after Western delayed Homecoming celebrations in an effort to prevent out-of-control partying.
London Police Officers handed out 54 provincial offence notices over the weekend, compared to 76 last year.
They also laid 2 criminal code charges and issued 3 warnings.
One criminal code charge was laid in 2015.
Western’s handling of the “Western Lives Matter” controversy was more swift compared to the University’s response to another inflammatory hand-written message near campus.
The University was criticized in September for their initial response to reports of a message written on the window of a student rental on Epworth Ave. that read “No means yes and yes means anal.”