Press conference video
Updated: Apr 12, 2021
Prof. Aimé Avolonto and allies discuss allegations of anti-Black racism at York University.
Don't miss this video!
On April 8, 2021, Prof. Aimé Avolonto, an Associate Professor in the Department of French Studies, Glendon College, York University, appeared at a press conference where he revealed detailed allegations of anti-Black racism against university administrators, including President Rhonda Lenton. Prof. Avolonto's allegations include acts of race-based harassment, discrimination, and retaliation over a five-year period.
Prof. Avolonto provides an overview of his allegations in his "Letter from a Black colleague," which he released at the press conference.
Other speakers at the press conference included:
Deena Ladd: Executive Director, Workers' Action Centre
Ron Franklin: Founder, Franklin Law; and counsel to Prof. Avolonto
Sandy Hudson: Former Staff Representative, CUPE 3903; and co-founder Black Lives Matter Canada
Azinwi Kien Saningong: President, York Federation of Students
Fardosa Warsame: President, York University Graduate Students' Association
James Clark: Former Staff Representative, York University Faculty Association
Dr. Laura Mae Lindo, MPP for Kitchener Centre (ONDP) and Chair of the ONDP Black Caucus, recorded a separate statement of support, which appears at the end of the video.
Following the press conference, CBC's The National covered the allegations in this two-minute piece.
Prof. Avolonto is facing termination by York University President Lenton in response to public criticism he made about anti-Black racism at the institution. Prof. Avolonto first raised concerns about anti-Black racism in 2016 and has spoken publicly about his experience: for example, during meetings of York's Senate and in a recent broadcast of The Fifth Estate, which exposed systemic anti-Black racism at three Canadian campuses.
In a recent letter to Prof. Avolonto, President Lenton cited a Senate speech he gave in 2017 and his recent media engagements among her reasons to renew termination proceedings against him. Her first attempt was in August 2020.
The media advisory for the press conference is available here.
Join the campaign to support Prof. Avolonto! Email firstname.lastname@example.org.