December 13, 2020
The BC Community Alliance (BCCA) is extremely concerned by the disturbing reports from Simon Fraser University (SFU) citing the racial profiling of a Black Alumnus, Kayode Fatoba, by campus security on December 11, 2020. The Burnaby Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) say they received a call from campus security around 9 p.m. for help with “a man that was familiar to them refusing to leave the dining hall”. Unfortunately, this further escalation resulted in the violent physical assault and arrest of Mr. Fatoba by a Burnaby RCMP officer.
Mr. Fatoba attended SFU on a $60,000 Scholarship from TD Bank for his tremendous leadership and community involvement in Toronto’s Jane and Finch neighbourhood, which has garnered him accolades from the Toronto Police Service, Macleans Magazine, and the administration of SFU themselves.
Racialized students, particularly Black and Indigenous students, that pose no threat to themselves or the public do not require engagement with police, especially when they may be in distress.
The act of weaponizing law enforcement against Black and Indigenous people is a well known phenomenon throughout Canada. The reported incident involving Mr. Fatoba is another example of this disturbing truth.
Incidents such as these can be traumatic for the victim and also have an extended community impact, as they reinforce the collective trauma accumulated from years of over policing endured by Black and Indigenous communities in Canada.
The BCCA believes this incident highlights the greater need for SFU’s campus security to end the practice of racial profiling, “street checks”, and involving RCMP in non-criminal matters that occur on campus.
Black students continue to face undue harm and trauma in places of learning due to the presence of security and police forces on campus. The BCCA believes that SFU has demonstrated a lack of leadership when it comes to protecting their Black students and Alumni, which must be addressed. A more comprehensive and transparent report from the Burnaby RCMP should also be provided as there is conflicting evidence at this time.
This incident warrants further review and the BCCA will continue to monitor ongoing reports as more information becomes available.
The BC Community Alliance.