Western University student receives racist emails after calling out professor’s use of N-word

Western University's University College building, which sits atop University College Hill. Andrew Graham / Global News

A student at Western University received racist emails after she called out a professor for using the N-word during a lecture on Oct. 23.

The use of the word was recounted during a widely shared Instagram post from a student who later identified herself as Chizoba Oriuwa.

Soon after, an apology was published by the faculty of arts and humanities in which English lecturer Andrew Wenaus said that he “chose to use language that was offensive to those in attendance” but has “expressed his regrets to the university” and requested that the apology letter be published.

Late on Tuesday, nearly a week after the initial incident, a post on a Western student Facebook group revealed that Oriuwa had been receiving racist and hateful emails.

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The post contained five screenshots of emails allegedly sent to Oriuwa with most containing the N-word.

As of Thursday morning, the post had garnered nearly 2,000 reactions.

Within hours of the Facebook post, Western condemned the emails in a letter published to its university’s newspaper’s website.

The letter was penned by Western’s associate vice-president of student experience Jennie Massey, who told Global News that Oriuwa’s email address had been posted to 4chan, an online forum that has been linked to a number of mass killings such as the Toronto van attack from April 2018.

“What we’ve seen on campuses right across North America… is that when a student or a staff or a faculty member speaks out about issues of equity, diversity and inclusion, sometimes they can experience some backlash for their comments,” Massey added.

“Websites, like the one that the student’s email was posted to, are designed to co-ordinate that kind of backlash.”

The emails were also condemned in a letter posted to the Western University Student Council’s website.

The letter was penned as a joint response from the University’s Ethnocultural Support Services, the African Students Association, the Black Students’ Association, the Caribbean Students’ Organization, the University Students’ Council and the Society of Graduate Students.

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“Together, we stand in solidarity with Chizoba Oriuwa,” it said.

“There is absolutely no place for hate and racism on our campus.”

The letter added the student groups plan to meet to “discuss culture and system problems at Western that contribute to incidents like these occurring.”

Global News reached out to Chizoba Julia for comment but has not heard back as of time of publication.

Click to play video: 'Controversial forum 8chan linked to mass shootings'
Controversial forum 8chan linked to mass shootings

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