Response to Senator Percy Downe’s comments on International Students from Gaza

Response to Senator Percy Downe’s comments on International Students from Gaza

On February 9th, 2024, Senator Percy Downe posted segments of an exchange with Senator Marc Gold that raised serious concerns. In this exchange, Senator Downe made blatantly racist and Islamophobic comments, using dog whistles to portray international students as security threats unjustly. 

The University of Prince Edward Island Student Union strongly disagrees with Senator Percy Downe’s recent implication that international students—particularly those from Gaza—are a danger to our society. 

It is essential to highlight that Senator Downe’s statements lack any factual basis or statistical evidence. His reliance on unfounded claims perpetuates harmful stereotypes and contributes to the ongoing discrimination faced by Black, brown, and Muslim communities. Such statements not only reinforce negative perceptions but also fuel the growth of Xenophobia,  Islamophobia and racism.

International students’ presence greatly enhances our community’s cultural diversity and UPEI’s academic atmosphere. Rather than becoming the target of prejudice due to their origins or ethnicity, they should be accepted and supported in all capacities.

As the Student Union, we stand united in representing the interests and well-being of all students, including our international student community. We condemn any form of discrimination and will actively work to foster an environment where every student feels safe, respected, and valued.

Regardless of where our students come from, we are firmly committed to creating a welcoming and inclusive learning environment for every student. We urge stakeholders, other leaders and politicians to avoid using language that isolates any group and instead focus on creating pathways for communication and collaboration.

We ask that you take some time to refer to the BIPOC USHR’s (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color University Students for Human Rights)  statement on this matter.

To add your voice to this call for accountability and promote a campus culture that rejects racism, xenophobia, and Islamophobia, please sign the letter by clicking on the following link: