Vanier College promises swift action over alleged racism by professor in viral video

Vanier College is promising to address an incident of apparent racism by a staff member during an online class that was caught on camera and has been widely viewed on social media.

In a video posted to an Instagram account called The Armenian Report, a professor identified as Afshin Matlabi, can be heard repeatedly hectoring a student over their name, questioning why their mother’s family name was first in the student’s hyphenated last name.

“How come your dad didn’t put their name first and your mom put her name first?” Matlabi says to the visibly uncomfortable student.

“I’m telling you your problem,” Matlabi continues.

In their post, the account owner accused Matlabi of prejudice against Armenians.

“Many in the Armenian community at Vanier and the broader Montreal Armenian community have demanded the professor be terminated for embarrassing the student with armenophobic behavior,” they wrote.

According to the Vanier website, Matlabi is a teacher in the Communications, Media and Studio Arts program and a visual artist.

In a statement posted to Facebook, Vanier administration said they are aware of the video and “are taking this very seriously.”

“We have mechanisms in place to address such situations and the College is addressing this issue immediately. Vanier is a diverse community of learners and prides itself on trying to create a learning environment free of racism, discrimination and hate.” 

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