School of social work director steps down

(Courtesy Henry Prada website)

Henry Parada, who has stepped down from his position as director of the school of social work. (Courtesy Henry Parada website)

The director of Ryerson University’s school of social work has stepped down.

In an email sent to students in the school of social work on Nov. 16, Lisa Barnoff, dean of the Faculty of Community Services, announced that Henry Parada has left his position as director.

While a specific reason for his departure was not given, it follows an incident that occurred during an anti-racism meeting held last month.

According to the Black Liberation Collective (BLC), Parada walked out during a black instructor’s anti-racism presentation on Oct. 27. On Oct. 28, BLC sent an open letter to Parada, demanding that he resign.

The letter, which was shared on BLC’s Facebook page, says Parada walked out of the meeting “at a time when black folks were giving praise to a young black woman professor at a critical and vulnerable time…” It goes on to say that his actions “perpetuate anti-black racism” and that he does not “value anti-black racism scholarship, black women, black educators or education, black experiences, black life and ultimately black students.”

According to the National Post, Barnoff’s email states that Parada will remain an instructor and researcher at Ryerson.

A spokesperson for the school of social work was not available for comment. The Ryersonian tried to contact Parada, but he could not be reached.

A recent Facebook post by BLC says that the collective will continue to tackle larger issues of anti-black racism within the school of social work. Among a number of calls to action, the collective is demanding an official apology from Parada that states what he did at the meeting and an explanation of why he stepped down.  

BLC is also working in solidarity with the Indigenous Students Rising, a group that recently sent its own open letter, to obtain the university’s support for indigenous and black populations.

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