In October 2018 posters were placed on the Glen P. Sutherland Gallery of Art that contained hate speech. The posters were similar to the ones that surfaced at Brandon University last year around the same time in the term, and similar messages were placed on campuses around Canada this year as well. It quickly became apparent that there was a need for Brandon University to become safer, as the Galley is located on the very edge of Brandon University and there is very little in terms of security for students walking over to the building or working late at the building. Security meetings were organized with concerned students, groups on campus, and administration from the University. During these meetings it became clear that work needed to be done to ensure students on campus felt safe. Professors spoke out at the meeting about their concerns for both their own safety and the safety of their students when they were on campus after hours or in a secluded area of campus. Some security changes were made due to these meetings. First, cameras were purchased to be placed around the outside of the Glen P. Sutherland Gallery of Art. This would assure student’s felt more secure but also if there were any more posters put up, the individual/s would be caught on camera. Second, landlines were placed in the basement of the library building, another region on campus that was noted as being unsafe and an area that students often worked late in. Third, the University had added a daytime security officer to patrol the entire campus during the weekdays. An email was sent to BU students introducing Ishtdeep Khalsa as the new security officer, and this reporter has since observed Ishtdeep patrolling the campus. The email also asserted students should call 911 if they see a crime or are in danger. The process of holding security meetings also brought forward more concerns about campus safety. Professors were concerned about the university’s public response (or lack thereof) to racism on campus, a lack of support for professors dealing with disruptive and problematic students in their classrooms, and conflicting direction on calling 911 when hate speech/racism appears on campus. There was also some suggestion toward developing a safe space for students to go speak to someone if they knew anything about the hate speech posters, etc. It was suggested that BUSU or Student Services might offer such a space for students to come forward with any knowledge about racism on campus. A thought from the final safety meeting was that it would be appreciated to see various members of the university community speaking out against racism when it occurs on campus. When posters and stickers began appearing at the University of Manitoba around the same time as the ones at BU, many members of the university took to social media to speak against it. There was an immediate reaction from the university community which united people in the community but also made minority students feel safer. That type of response was not seen at Brandon University.
If you see one of these posters or stickers around campus, please call the physical plant to remove them. If you see them around Brandon, report them to the police. It is not recommended that an individual removes them themselves as they have been known to have blades or needles hidden behind them.