Letter to UTAA

Mr. Scott MacKendrick
President
The University of Toronto Alumni Association
J. Robert S. Prichard Alumni House
21 King’s College Circle
Toronto, ON M5S 3J3

Dear Mr. MacKendrick,

Thank you for your response to our open letter calling for Faith Goldy to be stripped of her Cressy Award.  While I appreciate a response, I was extremely disappointed that the UTAA chose not to strip Goldy despite her history as a white supremacist. The reason provided in the letter, that the award is given for “accomplishments at the time” is not only weak, it ignores the fact that many students who studied with Goldy at the time remember her having these views back then.

Awards and honours awarded in the past are frequently revoked based on an individual’s present actions. A current example would be the honourific Canadian citizenship of Ann San Suu Kyi, which was revoked after it became clear she would continue to be complicit in the genocide of the Rohingya people.

Since then, Faith Goldy has decided to run for mayor and using her platform to attack immigrants and people of colour. The UTAA’s decision does not hold up well in hindsight. The ease with which the UTAA can dismiss Goldy’s association with the award, calls into question how they can represent an alumni body that is diverse and spread out across all corners of the globe.  The fact that the UTAA characterizes’ Goldy’s views as falling within “the broadest range of people” and that she should shouldn’t be silenced (“encouraging the free expression of their diverse perspectives”) demonstrates that it believes white supremacy is an acceptable view on the spectrum of ideology.

The commitment to a diverse and inclusive campus where bigotry and hate are not tolerated are meaningless words in this context. If the UTAA wants to demonstrate its commitment to an inclusive campus, I strongly urge it to reconsider its decision and revoke Goldy’s award.

Of course, I understand that an award of this caliber warrants such a high standard of criteria, a standard evidently higher than those applied to honourific citizenship, that revoking it would set a dangerous precedent. I completely understand that and I hope the UTAA will understand that I cannot associate myself with an award under such circumstances. Should Goldy retain her award, I will return mine.

Sincerely,

Abdullah Shihipar

University College, 2016
Brown University MPH 2020

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