Queen’s University student Nati Pressmann poses for a photo near where she lives in Toronto. Lance McMillan / Toronto Star

‘Numb to it’: Canadian students are keeping quiet about hate and discrimination they experience on their university and college campuses

Discriminatory and hateful incidents are remarkably common on Canadian college and university campuses, according to the 30,000 respondents to 17 separate student and faculty surveys since 2015, reviewed by the Investigative Journalism Bureau (IJB) and the Toronto Star. But failing confidence in schools’ ability or willingness to respond forcefully has driven reporting rates for abusive conduct to startlingly low levels.

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The scope of the problem of acts of hate on Canadian campuses is far greater than previously known, according to the data gathered by the Toronto Star/IJB investigation. TORONTO STAR PHOTO ILLUSTRATION

The hidden hate on campus: We tracked incidents at colleges and universities and found a growing problem

On university and college campuses across the country, there have been more than 500 incidents of hate-motivated vandalism, harassment or violence since 2014, according to data obtained from more than two dozen schools by the Toronto Star and Investigative Journalism Bureau. From torrents of racist online messages, to racist and incendiary graffiti on campus, to Indigenous cultural symbols vandalized, hate incidents on campus are largely happening with impunity.

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nti-LGBTQ activist William Whatcott moments before he surrendered to officers at Calgary police headquarters on June 22, 2018. EMMA MCINTOSH / STARMETRO

Why has the justice system failed to fix Canada’s hate problem?

Canada’s hate problem has reached new heights, an investigation by the Toronto Star and the Investigative Journalism Bureau has found. Robert Cribb, IJB's director, joins “This Matters” to tackle two key questions: How bad is Canada’s hate problem? Why does it keep repeating itself?

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Canada’s hate problem is reaching new heights, but its justice system has failed to dissuade prolific purveyors of hate and discrimination who repeatedly target vulnerable groups.