Conflicting reports surface about race stats at U of T

Conflicting reports have surfaced following a meeting held between members of the Black Liberation Collective and U of T senior administration last December, a meeting that resulted in the university’s decision to start collecting data from employees and students based on racial backgrounds.

According to Yusra Khogali, a U of T student and member of the Black Liberation Collective—a group self-defined as “a collective consisting of Black students who are dedicated to transforming institutions of higher education through unity, coalition building, direct action, and political education”—members of the collective’s U of T chapter were promised that the number of black employees at U of T would be increased when the group met with vice-provost, students Sandy Welsh; VP human resources and equity Angela Hildyard; and U of T’s anti-racism and cultural diversity officer, Sandra Carnegie-Douglas.

“They agreed to increase or try to increase the representation of black staff and administration at U of T reflected by the black population in Toronto, which is 8.5 percent,” said Khogali in an interview with The Medium last month when discussing U of T’s decision to collect statistics based on race. “They’re only going to aim to increase the population by 2.9 percent, which is based on Canada’s black population.”

U of T’s director of media relations, Althea Blackburn-Evans, denied that U of T agreed to reach a specified threshold of black employees.

“Numbers were not discussed in the meeting,” said Blackburn-Evans in an email to The Medium last week. “The university does not set numerical targets”.

When asked by The Medium about the claims, Khogali stood by the original statement.

“Those are exactly the promises that were given to us,” said Khogali.

Welsh and Hildyard did not respond to The Medium’s request for comment when asked about the claims made by Khogali.