March 2, 2018

 

Dr. Marie Bountrogianni

Dean, The Chang School of Continuing Education

 

Dear Dean Bountrogianni:

Re: Training Program for Officers of the Toronto Police Service

A news article entitled “Toronto police partner with Ryerson University for training program” has recently come to our attention.  The article may be found online at:

https://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/toronto-police-partner-with-ryerson-university-for-training-program-1.3770578

In light of a long and contentious history between the Toronto Police Service and members of diverse communities, particularly Black and Indigenous peoples, who have been adversely impacted by policing in this city, we have a number of questions and serious concerns about this training program.

 

As you are aware, Ryerson’s Academic Plan speaks of “City Building + Social Justice” and the university has taken several measures to promote values of equity and community inclusion. The announcement of this police training program came as a surprise to many in the Ryerson community and the city at-large.  From some quarters, it has already elicited condemnation, cynicism, discomfort, apprehension and dismay.

 

Our questions include the following:

 

  1. Why is Ryerson being used as a training ground for police officers as opposed to the Toronto Police College?

 

  1. Were Indigenous, Black, Muslim, Queer, Trans* and people of colour communities consulted about this partnership between Ryerson and the police? Were organizations advocating against poverty and homelessness and organizations for persons with disabilities consulted? If so, which individuals and/or organizations were consulted and when?

 

  1. The CTV News article of January 22, 2018 states:

 

“Police said the connection to Ryerson will ensure that existing police courses meet the standards of the “broader community” and facilitate research opportunities for both the university and the police service.”

How would a connection to Ryerson ensure that existing police courses meet the standards of the “broader community”?  How is the “broader community” defined?

 

  1. What is the difference between mandatory courses dealing with diversity being taught at Toronto Police College and the non-mandatory courses which Ryerson is proposing?

 

  1. How would non-mandatory courses in ‘bias avoidance’ offered to self-selected police officers benefit members of the community who are most affected by systemic discrimination and excessive use of force by police services?

 

  1. Is this a pilot project?

 

  1. Who assesses the validity or effectiveness of this training program?

 

  1. Are the proposed ‘diversity/avoidance of bias’ courses being offered free of charge to police officers?

 

  1. Who will be providing the proposed training and how were the instructors selected?

 

  1. How is this program being funded?

 

  1. Has Ryerson University or any of its associated institutes, labs or research centres, received funds from the Toronto Police Service for research and/or for this partnership? Please provide the names of said entities, any memorandum of understanding and a complete financial accounting of these agreements.

 

In a spirit of transparency, we believe it is vital that a public meeting concerning the training program be called to address these questions and community concerns.

 

We request that your office convene such a meeting, with accessibility accommodations, in March, 2018 (preferably March 13, 14, 15 commencing at 5:30pm) in a location on campus that can hold at least 100 persons.

 

Please contact Professor Anne-Marie Singh at [email protected] for further follow up and coordination of the proposed meeting.

 

Sincerely,

Kikélola Roach, Unifor Sam Gindin Chair in Social Justice and Democracy

 

Anne-Marie Singh, Associate Professor, Department of Criminology

 

Shiri Pasternak, Assistant Professor, Department of Criminology

 

Cathy Crowe, Distinguished Visiting Professor, Department of Politics & Public Administration

 

Pamela Palmater, Chair in Indigenous Governance, Associate Professor Dep’t of Politics

 

Leanne Simpson, Distinguished Visiting Professor, Faculty of Arts

 

Grace-Edward Galabuzi, Associate Professor, Department of Politics & Public Administration

 

Alan Sears, Professor, Department of Sociology

 

Myer Siemiatycki, Professor, Department of Politics & Public Administration

 

Lila Pine, Professor, RTA School of Media

 

Jenny Carson, Associate Professor, Department of History

 

Rachel Berman, Associate Professor, School of Early Childhood Studies

 

Rob Teigrob, Associate Professor, Department of History

 

Nicole Neverson, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology

 

Sedef Arat-Koç, Associate Professor, Department of Politics & Public Administration

 

Ken Moffatt, Jack Layton Chair for Social Justice

 

Annette Bailey, Associate Professor, Daphne Cockwell School of Nursing

 

Alok Mukherjee, Distinguished Visiting Professor, Department of Criminology

 

OmiSoore Dryden, Visiting Professor, School of Social Work

 

Amina Jamal, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology

 

Mark Campbell, Adjunct Professor, RTA School of Media

 

Brett Story, Assistant Professor, School of Image Arts

 

Emily van der Meulen, Associate Professor, Department of Criminology

 

The School of Social Work at Ryerson University

 

The RFA Equity Committee

 

Continuing Education Students’ Association of Ryerson (CESAR)

 

Black Liberation Collective at Ryerson University

 

Criminology Student Union at Ryerson University

 

Anti-Black Racism Network

 

 

 

 

CC:

President Mohamed Lachemi

Vice-President, Equity and Community Inclusion, Denise O’Neil Green

Provost, Vice-President Academic, Michael Benarroch

 

 

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