Dalhousie profs ask university to confirm blackface violates code of conduct

A group of law professors at Dalhousie University are asking the school's senior academic administrator to confirm that blackface violates the code of student conduct and personal harassment policy.

In a letter delivered to the Halifax university's provost today, 28 members of the law faculty say they are concerned with statements about blackface made by the school's new interim president, Peter MacKinnon.

His recent book, "University Commons Divided: Exploring Debate and Dissent on Campus," refers to costume parties involving white students in blackface.

The incidents sparked outrage on campuses, but MacKinnon suggests in his book there was a "lack of proportion" in the responses and that these were "just Halloween parties."

A group of Dal students spoke out about the book, saying it expresses "racist perspectives" and "oppressive rhetoric," which prompted MacKinnon to issue a statement saying he does not condone blackface.

But law professors are questioning whether the university's policies would sanction the use of blackface on campus this Halloween, or dismiss it as "just a party."