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Spotlight on anti-Black racism at #YorkU, as Avolonto hearings finally begin

Updated: Feb 12




Prof. Aimé Avolonto’s arbitration hearings have finally begun, in what is already a landmark case about systemic anti-Black racism in Canada’s post-secondary sector.


The hearings will take place online, via Zoom, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. EST on the following days: 


  • Thursday, February 8

  • Monday, February 12

  • Tuesday, February 13


The hearings are open to the public, as is required by the York University Faculty Association collective agreement.


Additional hearing dates are expected to be announced soon.


If you would like to attend, please register at this link: 



After you register, you will receive a Zoom link by email.


We strongly urge Prof. Avolonto’s supporters, anti-racism campaigners, the York University community, and interested members of the public to attend the hearings.


The Avolonto case highlights how large institutions such as York University have responded to allegations of systemic anti-Black racism in their workplace–to target and blame its victims, leading to their discipline, termination, and removal from campus.


Prof. Avolonto’s experience was documented in the ground-breaking documentary “Black on campus,” produced by the CBC’s Fifth Estate. Watch the documentary here


Prof. Avolonto’s allegations are detailed in this 2021 press conference, featuring Prof. Avolonto, his legal counsel Ron Franklin, and eyewitnesses and supporters from the York University community.


Background


Prof. Avolonto is a professor of French literature and linguistics at York University’s Glendon College, where he first complained about anti-Black racism in 2016. When he requested an investigation into his experiences, the administration instead compiled complaints against him and has been trying to fire him since 2020.


The administration has claimed that Prof. Avolonto invented all his complaints, that he did not experience a single incident of anti-Black racism, and that his complaints represented harassment of white and non-Black colleagues.


Among other things, the administration claimed that a public speech that Prof. Avolonto delivered in his capacity as a York University Senator, during which he broke down and cried while describing his experiences of anti-Black racism at Glendon College, was an effort to harass and threaten white faculty.


Prof. Avolonto has four active applications at the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, the first of which was filed in 2018.


You can read Prof. Avolonto’s full account of his experience in his “Letter from a Black Colleague.”


More information about Prof. Avolonto’s case, including media coverage, is available at this website.


For more information, please email againstantiblackracism@gmail.com.


Against Anti-Black Racism is a network of students, faculty, trade unionists, and community members in support of Prof. Aimé Avolonto.

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