Giancarlo Di Peco
In the wake of the high-profile police shooting death of Michael Brown, an unarmed black youth, in Ferguson, Missouri, a number of students who view themselves as visible minorities assessed the atmosphere at Humber College.
“This college is very comfortable,” said Jung Bahadur-Singh, 20, a second year electrical engineering student. “It’s friendly here. I never have any problems here. People help me.”
“I don’t think there are any tensions at Humber. It’s a big, diverse school,” said third year Culinary Arts student Kayton Sankey. “I think everyone gets along very well. Everyone is here for school.”
Brown, 18, was shot and killed August 9 after an altercation with officer Darren Wilson, who was reportedly trying to move Brown and another man off the street and onto the sidewalk. Shots were fired and the two men fled the scene. Brown allegedly was struck by several of six shots fired by Wilson.
The killing of Brown sparked protests in the city of Ferguson that often sparked clashes between residents and police. The nightly protests and clashes carried on for weeks after the killing, garnering heavy media attention. Residents believed the killing was racially provoked and took to media outlets to voice their protestations.
“I think due to the situation they [the protestors] had to rebel like that,” Sankey said.
“Violence on violence doesn’t really solve anything though,” she said.
I don’t think there are any tensions at Humber. It’s friendly here. I never have any problems.”
Humber College student
“It was messed up, because you know, he was a young boy…Life down there (in the southern United States), it’s hard,” said Clinton Ubad, 24, a Computer Programming student.
In comparison, students believe the community here is safe and secure.
“There’s no difference, everyone treats people the same,” said Bahadur-Singh, who is from India.
Campus security at Humber says it recognizes the large number of diverse cultures and is prepared to handle any racially charged situations at any time.
“We appreciate and celebrate the diversity of Humber College,” said Director of Public Safety and Emergency Management Rob Kilfoyle. “We will engage the assistance of our Centre for Human Rights, Equity and Diversity for cases or incidents that appear to involve Human Rights violations or concerns.”
Kilfoyle said the security guards employed at Humber are well trained to professionally handle the most sensitive situations.
“They receive human rights training and extensive customer service and ‘Humberization’ training, which covers such items as dealing with individuals that have limited English skills,” Kilfoyle said.
“We try hard to hire and attract security guards and administrators from a variety of races and cultures, so that we are representative of the community we serve,” he said.
Kilfoyle encouraged students who feel they are being bullied or are victims of racial abuse are encouraged to reach out to campus security, Kilfoyle noted.
“I would recommend that they contact Public Safety (security) who can ensure their immediate safety is addressed, and then assist them in connecting with various resources on campus.”