HALIFAX – A national research group is probing an allegation from a black university student that he was singled out based on his race during a conference in British Columbia and accused of stealing a laptop.
Shelby McPhee, a Nova Scotia graduate student in global politics, says he was asked for identification and racially profiled on June 2 by two white participants during a gathering of the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of British Columbia.
The Black Canadian Studies Association published McPhee’s allegations about the incident, describing how the participants “followed, harassed and photographed” the Acadia University student and accused of him taking the computer.
It notes in an open letter that the RCMP arrived and found the accusations against McPhee to be false.
They also say police came to the University of British Columbia campus and detained McPhee until a representative from the federation arrived.
The association says in a tweet that the federation representative only spoke to McPhee “after the police confirmed he had been fully exonerated.”
The federation says in a news release that it is treating the incident seriously “as it unequivocally opposes and denounces anti-Black racism, racial profiling, harassment and discrimination of any kind.”
It says it has met with McPhee and will continue to look into the incident.
The Black Canadian Studies Association says in its release that it wants a letter it has prepared sent to McPhee’s two accusers.
It is also seeking that theme of anti-Black racism be added to the theme of a federation congress to be held in 2020.
It says if the association remains a member of the federation, it will expect its fees be waived for the 2020 gathering.