TPS course is over, students want answers on why it happened

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The Toronto Police Services-Ryerson course on “bias avoidance and diversity” may have ended last week, but the university’s Black Liberation Collective (BLC) is still looking for answers and clarification.

Ryerson did not formally announce the project while the TPS previously announced it in a press release on Jan. 22.

“We found out just like everyone else,” said Chrys Saget-Richard, a social work student and a member of Ryerson’s BLC.

The aim of the program was to teach officers how to avoid bias in the field and was taught by Ryerson faculty members. The course was optional and open to all members of the TPS.  

“We were literally walking when we saw that announcement on our phones, someone sent a message to Chrys being like, ‘Hey, what’s this?’” said Josh Lamers, a social work student at Ryerson and a member of Ryerson’s BLC.

“We’ve been here for a year and a half dealing with the institution and negotiating with them on how they’re going to address anti-blackness and anti-native racism and they were doing this low-key the entire time,” said Lamers.

In an email, it was confirmed by Ryerson and The Chang School that the TPS course ended on March 31, and that “there are no additional activities planned at this time.”

Saget-Richard said that while there were a number of concerns from the community, the university did not address them or provide answers to their questions.

“We didn’t know anything,” they said. “We’d asked a bunch of questions and through all of our communications more people have been like, ‘Hey, we have a lot of concerns. What are the parameters of this relationship, what is written down, what is this going to look like, how long is this going to be, what exactly is the investment, what exactly is the expected outcome, what is going on?’ and nobody answered anything.”

Ryerson president Mohamed Lachemi said that the project was a “pilot project” done between the Chang School of Continuing Education with TPS.

“We made it very clear that in the last senate meeting by the provost that we don’t have any – we have not signed anything – we have no agreement to continue with that,” he said. “But if there is any interest from both sides, and I’m talking here about anything from both sides to have the kind of partnership that people are talking about, we will consult with faculty, with staff and the rest of the community, and students and the rest of the community.”

Lachemi reiterated that if anything to do with this project happens again, consultations will happen.  

“We promise that if there is anything, we will make sure to consult and be very transparent.”

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