UBC, UVic not affiliated with ‘white student union’ Facebook groups: officials
CTV Vancouver Island
Published Wednesday, November 25, 2015 6:25PM PST
Last Updated Wednesday, November 25, 2015 6:31PM PST
Facebook pages linking supposed “white student union” groups to two B.C. universities are distasteful but don’t violate community standards, the social media giant said Wednesday.
A spokeperson for Facebook confirmed the company will look into complaints about a page called “UVic White Student Union,” one of many such groups springing up on users’ news feeds in recent days – including a nearly identical page for a “UBC White Student Union.”
“European-Canadian students on college campuses face unique and immediate challenges that are ignored or even actively denied in today's cultural climate,” the UVic page reads.
“We unapologetically provide a safe space for white students to air their true feelings about the future of our nation, discuss and reflect on the lessons laid down for us by our great European writers, philosophers, and artists, and develop a positive program to restore the pioneering will and greatness of our unique and virtuous people.”
Officials at both the University of Victoria and the University of British Columbia have confirmed the schools have no affiliation with the groups, and UBC officials raised questions about their legitimacy.
“Facebook groups claiming to be operated by “white students’ unions” across several North American universities, including UBC, appear to be a hoax,” UBC said in a statement. “Sara-Jane Finlay, UBC’s associate vice-president of equity and inclusion, said the UBC Facebook group is not affiliated with or sanctioned by the university.”
Despite multiple reports circulating that the white student union pages are fake, administrators of the UBC page and someone responding on the UVic page insisted they are both local and legitimate.
Facebook said it has looked into six similar pages in the last two days.
If any of those are found to have been created by a fake user profile, they’ll be removed, the company said.
But some say even though the pages appear to be a hoax, they’re harmful because they distract from real issues surrounding on-campus racism.
“There’s not a significant amount of traction or interaction on that white student union page,” said Kenya Rogers, director of external relations at UVic Student Society. “That doesn’t change that there’s other groups and there’s other platforms online where our members are experiencing harm from other members, and that’s a problem.”
More than 100 Facebook users have liked the UVic White Student Union page, while 654 people have liked the UBC page.
Similar pages have linked themselves to McMaster University in Hamilton and Western University in London as well as several American schools.