Saskatoon college launches investigation into staff member after racist comments posted on social media - APTN NewsAPTN News

Saskatoon college launches investigation into staff member after racist comments posted on social media

Dennis Ward
APTN News
The MC College in Saskatoon, Sask., has suspended a staff member without pay while it investigates screenshots posted on social media on the weekend.

The personal messages were shared on Facebook by Tami Eileen Whitehawk and widely shared over the weekend.

The messages are from Chelsea Kowalchuk, a hair styling instructor at the college.

“Hahaha sorry you’re a fat ugly bitch that his family hates!!! You are an Indian let’s face it his family disowns you. You are pathetic.  You will never compare to me!!!” Kowalchuk wrote to Whitehawk.

Another shared message says, “Haha sorry you’re a pathetic broke Indian.’

Whitehawk is not a student at the school but is in a relationship with Kowalchuk’s ex-husband and was in an online exchange with her at the time.

“I don’t believe this is the way a MC college teacher should act,” Whitehawk responded. “Telling me I’m ugly because I’m native.  Awful, @mc college.”

Whitehawk, from the Cote First Nation, said she posted the messages online to expose Kowalchuk.

She told APTN News that the attacks have been going on for six months.

Kowalchuk could not be reached for comment.

Whitehawk’s posts of the screengrabs were also shared by the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN).

“Racism and racist comments can never be justified or tolerated under any circumstances,” the FSIN wrote online.

FSIN called on MC College Saskatoon to terminate the teacher immediately.

“Many of our First Nations students have attended this school and they don’t deserve this type of attitude from their teachers” said in the Facebook post.

MC College President Joe Cairo also took to social media to address the outrage.

“MC College is extremely concerned of recently posted screenshots on social media of a personal text thread that involved one its instructors.  Upsetting derogatory comments were made by the instructor,” wrote Cairo.

“There is never an excuse to use such comments and we are saddened that a staff member felt the need to use them.”

Cairo said the staff member has been suspended without pay and issued an apology to existing First Nations students and clients.

“These views do not reflect MC College or its staff. We will use this unfortunate incident as a sign that we still have much work to do to overcome past prejudices” wrote Cairo.

The school has not apologized directly to Whitehawk.

MC College is a school for make up, hair and fashion designers.

dward@aptn.ca

@denniswardnews

 

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