A black college student was kicked out of a prestigious university after a white fellow student allegedly attacked the black undergraduate and became an unwilling participant in the groundbreaking study: Don’t Start None, Won’t Be None: Consequences Related to the Involuntary Reception of “Deez Hands.” But, while the school severely disciplined the black student, the white student seems to have escaped with no punishment except, of course, a generous donation from the black student’s supply of “that smoke.”
In February 2019, 27-year-old Jordan Afolabi was running late to his Human Resources Planning class at Windsor University, according to the Toronto Star, which reviewed a report by a law firm charged with investigating the incident. Running across campus, Afolabi, who is black, finally reached the building at the university’s School of Business where the class was being held. As Afolabi rushed through the entrance, the door hit a white student who was coming out of the building.
“Yo, what the fuck was that?” asked the white student.
“Don’t fuck with me,” Afolabi replied. “I don’t have time for this today.”
Aside from being late, Afolabi wasn’t feeling well. He thought he hurt himself during a workout the previous day and was experiencing discomfort in his lower back. Needless to say, Jordan wasn’t with the shits on this fateful winter’s day.
Although the white student could’ve simply let it go, he instead decided to engage Afolabi, having no idea that Afolabi was under the weather. If the oblivious Caucasian scholar had adhered to the principles of KeepItMoving-ology, he wouldn’t have discovered one important fact:
Jordan Afolabi can fight.
The Star continues:
The other student, who is bigger than Afolabi, gave different versions of what happened next to campus police, Windsor police and the investigator. He said he pushed Afolabi; he also said he didn’t touch him at all. Afolabi told the investigator the other student pushed him with both hands on the chest when they were between the two sets of doors. Afolabi’s laptop backpack fell to the floor and his airpods fell out of his ears.
Afolabi, who is trained in mixed martial arts and boxing, responded by hitting him in the face, twice. Afolabi told the investigator he was suffering severe pain in his lower back after what he thought was an injury during weightlifting. The pain eventually turned out to be appendicitis which later ruptured and had to be removed in an emergency procedure. Afolabi also told the investigator he perceived the other man as a threat and reacted knowing he could not withstand the pain of a strike.
The other student came toward him again, and in response Afolabi punched him twice more.
The investigator wrote Afolabi was “more likely than not” reacting to the aggression to protect his back.
The other student, who is white or white-passing, told the external investigator he sustained major injuries from Afolabi’s punches to his lips, mouth and nose, and has anxiety. He also feels dizzy, he said, and saw a neurologist in April.
After Afolabi gave his classmate an impromptu tutoring session on the customs and traditions of getting knocked in your shit, he called his brother, a long-established practice following the time-honored ceremony known as the “throwing of hands.” (Although, in many cultures, participants are known to go get their cousins. It varies by region).
While he was on the phone with his brother, Afolabi ran into the professor whose class he was late for and asked the educator what he should do. The professor laughed off the incident and said he wanted nothing to do with it. During the conversation, which Jordan’s brother recorded, the professor didn’t advise the student to go to the campus police or even leave class.
Of course, the white kid went straight to the cops.
No, not the campus police. The cops-cops.
So, when Afolabi went to the campus police the day after the initial incident, they informed him that the other student had filed a complaint that he was “attacked and beaten” by an unknown black male. But Afolabi still had no idea that the other student had taken it even further until the Windsor police arrested Afolabi and held him overnight (the charges were later dismissed).
In March, Windsor University’s Academic Integrity and Student Conduct officer Danieli Arbex sent an email banning Afolabi from the campus outside class times—even if he was doing group work. When Arbex met with Afolabi two weeks later, she told him that she heard that the other student was the aggressor but “maybe we feel so afraid of someone else that you can do that to defend yourself.”
“Fear—especially if you’re referring to my demographic—is not a justification [for] attacking anyone aggressively,” Afolabi explained, according to a recording of the meeting. “On paper, I’m a very scary-looking guy. But in reality, I’m ambitious, I’m an A student and I’m trying to be a lawyer.”
Arbex agreed to lift the restrictions. But when Afolabi received the email the next day, he learned that Arbex had banned him from stepping foot on the campus for the remainder of his term.
After reading the email, he made an appointment to see Arbex, hoping to plead his case once more. When Arbex saw Afolabi waiting in her office, she told him that his presence made her “very uncomfortable.” Afolabi told her that she was treating him “like a dangerous black man” who was a “threat to the campus.”
So, Arbex called the police too.
Afolabi decided to take his complaints to the highest level, writing a letter to Windsor University President Douglas Kneale. He dropped the letter off at Kneale’s office and also sent one to Ryan Flannagan, the university’s associate vice-president of Student Experience.
In the complaint, Afolabi explained that the other student’s “claim that he suspected I was going to assault him and his decision to pre-emptively assault me are also examples of behavior that is heavily influenced by subconscious racial biases and fears.” He added: “I believe this is the same fear that drives police officers to shoot unarmed Black victims before asking questions and before making reasonable evaluations of their situation.”
When the university’s president hadn’t responded to his complaints in over a month, Afolabi decided to go see the president in person. When he arrived, the president’s female receptionist began speaking very quickly, explaining that he must send the complaint in writing (he recorded the conversation, too). When Afolabi replied that he had already sent a formal written complaint, the receptionist responded by politely offering some warm cookies and ...
Just kidding. She called the cops.
A freedom of information request would later reveal that the police were summoned for “a Black male who won’t give his name or state his business and he’s kind of loitering.”
Three cops arrived, and Afolabi played the recording. The police initially “appeared confused” and went to talk to the university president, who was hiding in his office the entire time. When the cops returned, they informed Afolabi that he was now banned from entering that building because the receptionist and secretary were “adamant they are in fear” of him. Afolabi recorded this conversation, too.
The school eventually determined that the incident was “poor judgment” on the part of both parties. Using the investigation by the law firm, the school’s associate vice-president found that Afolabi hadn’t violated the school’s code of conduct because he used a “reasonable level of force” to defend himself, and had delivered the punches in a response to an act of aggression.”
Once the school cleared him of the violations, Afolabi met with Arbex’s boss, Ryan Flannagan, to see if his race had played a part in Arbex’s decision to ban him from campus. In recordings of the meetings, Flannagan told Afolabi that the sanctions had nothing to do with race, explaining that he made people feel “unsafe” because of the “level of violence” he used and his martial arts training.
The Sun could not find any evidence that the white student had ever been punished in the incident.
Afolabi is still enrolled at Windsor University, where he will graduate in March. He is still banned from the building that houses the president’s office as well as the Student Experience building where Flannagan works. He is barred from all contact with Arbex.
After he graduates, Afolabi plans to study law. He has applied to the school he plans to attend. Luckily, according to University Magazine, Jordan Afolabi just happens to live near one of the top five law schools in Canada:
The University of Windsor Law School.