“White Student Union” Facebook page causes investigation at Western University
By Andy Redding
A Facebook page is stirring up controversy at Western University in London, Ont.
The page, entitled “WWSU White Student Union”, surfaced on Saturday and has received immediate complaints.
In the page’s “About” section, the Union describes itself as being “committed to providing a safe-space for white students at Western who wish to express positivity and pride in their heritage so that white students may feel secure and empowered in their identity as white persons at Western.”
In an anonymous online interview with Humber News, a creator of the page said that “As persons of whiteness, we feel it’s our duty to show that there is a great deal to be proud of in white heritage, and that it’s entirely within the realm of possibility to show that pride without being some caricatured neo-Nazi supremacist.”
While the page has received immediate critiques for being largely racist, its description states that, “The group is explicitly against derogatory and hateful comments towards any group of people, and comments inciting hate and/or violence will be removed and the perpetrators will be blocked. This page is for initiating insightful conversation, it is not a refuge for bigotry and harassment.”
The individuals who started this page are remaining anonymous at this time, due to safety reasons.
“In the wake of a plethora of threats made to us and anyone claiming WSSU affiliation, anonymity is no longer just preferred, it’s a must if we are to guarantee the safety of our members,” said the WSSU creator.
Western University is distancing itself from the Facebook page.
Kevin Hurren, communication officer for Western’s University Students’ Council, told Humber News, “The group isn’t actually affiliated with Western or the student union in any way.”
Because it’s a club that’s not affiliated or funded by the university, Western refused to comment, referring to a statement released on its website.
The statement, released on Sunday, said, “Western is investigating further to determine what actions need to be taken with this situation.”
“Its members are not known to us,” the statement said.
The Facebook group comes after numerous similar groups have popped up at other North American universities.
Western’s White Student Union posted on its Facebook page that its mission is inspired by its sister group, the UCLA White Student Union.
Similar groups also appeared in Toronto in September, where posters advertising a White Students Union appeared at three different universities.
As of Monday afternoon, the Western White Student Union’s Facebook page has 104 likes.