Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Race and Windsor's Dean Search

I have been observing from the distance Dr. Emily Carasco's human rights litigation against the University of Windsor's Faculty of Law. Dr. Carsco - who is a woman of Indo-Canadian background - was an unsuccessful candiate for the vacant position of Dean of the Faculty of Law. She filed a human rights complaint with the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal asserting that the school had violated her right to be free from discrimination on the basis of race by over-looking her for the position.

In responding to her complaint the school retained high profile union/human rights lawyer Mr. Raj Anand to argue that the school's acts and omissions in the search for a Dean was devoid of any racial animus and thus not in violation of the Ontario Human Rights Code. Mr. Anand - like Dr. Carasco is of Indo-Canadian background. If the University of Windsor retained Mr. Anand because of his Indo-Canadian background they are well within their legal rights to do so but if nothing more the optics of their choice of counsel reminds me of the popular anti-racist response "some of my best friends are Indo-Canadian." It may be that I am less than objective on this issue since the same Mr. Anand once represented me in litigation against the same University of Windsor. I don't know. Mr. Anand is by all accounts an outstanding laywer. It may be that nothing short of an Indo-Canadian lawyer can competently represent the University of Windsor in this particular litigation. It may be that this is all a coincidence - Mr. Anand is an outstanding human rights lawyer who so happens to be of Indo-Canadian background.

NOTE: This piece is written for the sole purpose of shedding light on an issue of public importance. It is recognized that parties are free to retain the lawyer of their choice.