Experts don’t want conversations about hate-motivated attacks to end at Queen’s.
Queen’s faculty and staff attended a Zoom panel on Oct. 5 called “Contextualizing Waterloo: Gender-Based Violence and White Supremacy on Campus and Beyond.” Speakers included Barbara Perry, director of the Centre on Hate, Bias, and Extremism at Ontario Tech University, and Shana MacDonald, associate professor in communication arts at the University of Waterloo.
Perry and MacDonald both spoke to anti-feminist movements and the use of social media to promote misogynistic sentiments. This isn’t Perry’s first time discussing gender-based violence and white supremacy at Queen’s.
In April 2021, Perry gave her expert advice to the Queen’s Hate Crime Steering Committee, whose task was to assess Campus Security and Emergence Services’ response to hate motivated incidents on campus. The Hate Steering Committee released a report based on Perry’s advice.
Prior to the report’s publication, Perry observed the University’s responses to hate-motivated attacks were inadequate, as they’re not isolated incidents but part of broader trends which impact equity-seeking groups.
Perry told the panel she hopes the University has come to recognize the importance of addressing hate-crimes within a larger pattern; she remains skeptical about whether the report from the Hate Steering Committee would have been made public if the media hadn’t applied pressure.
“It took a year for the report to be released and I think had the media not poked, it might not have been released even then,” Perry said during the panel.
While no updates have been made to the Hate Crime Steering Committee webpage since May 2023, the University announced in September that Stephanie Simpson, vice-principal (culture, equity, and inclusion) will be implementing the Campus Security and Safety Initiative.
Beyond university campuses, panelists discussed how hateful ideas are often disseminated on social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook.
To combat anti-feminism in the digital world, MacDonald is involved in building a digital feminist network which aims to address online misogyny’s impact on learning spaces, and women’s academic mindsets. The project will mobilize expertise, share resources, and develop tool kits for combatting gender-based violence on university campuses.
“The digital feminist network is bringing together feminist and queer scholars at four universities: University of Ottawa, York University, University of Waterloo, and McMaster University,” MacDonald said.
Queen’s professors expressed interest in joining the project, which MacDonald said is still in its infancy.
Inside or outside the campus environment, Perry and MacDonald encourage discussions on white supremacy and gender-based violence to continue among members of the Queen’s community.
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