Mantle must step down

At AMS Assembly last night AMS Council called for the resignation of ASUS President Jacob Mantle. The request was made in light of comments he made on a friend’s Facebook page.

Underneath a picture of two girls wearing scarves around their heads, Mantle wrote, “I like your Taliban picture.”

Mantle said he was hesitant to issue a public apology at first. He later changed his mind and issued a formal apology, saying the comment “does not in any way reflect [his] beliefs, nor those of [ASUS].”

Mantle must resign as ASUS president for his racist comment, regardless of whether he meant for it to be seen by anyone other than his friend; the view he iterates remains equally discriminatory in both the private and public spheres.

He was elected to represent a diverse student body and his insensitivity towards some of the students he represents shows he is unfit to continue in his role.

It’s disappointing that Mantle seems to be sorrier he was found out than he is for making the comment in the first place.

The apology’s devoid of sincerity and full of self-praise. Rather than solely acknowledging his wrongdoing, Mantle also attempts to distance himself from his action.

Although an apology was necessary, it’s a reactive response that can’t be substituted for proactive steps. Mantle said he wants to take “personal actions” beyond the apology, but doesn’t explain what they are.

On Sept. 20 the Queen’s University Muslim Students Association (QUMSA) club space was broken into and money was stolen from one of their charitable funds. Last week, there was another attempted break-in.

QUMSA members have also endured racist and sexist taunts against them.

While Mantle’s comment is not directly linked to the break-ins, the two cannot be treated as isolated events. They must both be seen as part of a continuum of Islamophobic acts at Queen’s.

By taking decisive action and asking Mantle to step down, students would send a clear message that this type of behaviour won’t be tolerated. But his resignation should only be seen as the first step in addressing racism issues on campus.

Mantle should have the opportunity to voluntarily step down. But his delay in issuing an apology and his faulty reasoning that the comment was meant to be private suggest he has yet to recognize the implications of his action.

He no longer represents students’ voices; now he needs to hear their demand for him to resign.

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