As stories of racism and discrimination towards Black, Indigenous, and people of colour continue to dominate public discourse, more and more shocking allegations come to light about the lived experiences of systemic racism. Despite what some might believe, Montreal is no different. One week ago, a number of student testimonials under the hashtag #thisisartschool revealed shocking accounts of racism in Montreal university classrooms.\nModibo Keita, a former music school student behind the #thisisartschool movement on Facebook, shared over 100 accounts of racist, ableist, and sexually predatory behaviours, by professors in art schools in some of Canada's most prestigious universities.\nThe allegations date back to at least a decade or more.\nSeveral of the student testimonies involved professors and experiences at some of Montreal's leading institutions.\nMany of these students refer to "systemic barriers," "underrepresentation," discrimination, and even sexually perverse behaviours, including coercion.\nKeita told MTL Blog that his own experiences with racism in a university setting "completely changed" his perceptions of these institutions.\nThe #thisisartschool movement has gained incredible support since it first began.\n"It shows that the problem is real," explains Keita. "It made me realize that those institutions are only valid because we validate them."\nMTL Blog reached out to both Concordia and McGill Universities regarding these allegations.\nDerek Robbins | Dreamstime\nConcordia acknowledges that "there is no place for racism at Concordia University" and that it "takes such matters very seriously and encourages all members of our community to speak out about racism and report incidents."\n"We also encourage all members of the community to take advantage of our internal accountability mechanisms so that we can properly address these issues."\nIf you have a friend that is a BIPOC/Non-Cis White Male that went to arts school and you don’t share this;\n\nSHAME ON...Posted by Mo Dibo on Wednesday, July 1, 2020\nMcGill issued a similar statement, saying that it's "committed to a respectful and inclusive environment for students, staff, and faculty."\nThe university, however, said that it has "been made aware of troubling allegations of racial harassment and discrimination recently."\n"Reports of harassment or violence involving a member of our community are taken seriously and we are committed to dealing with them swiftly and effectively."\nWhile some schools are quick to condemn racism and launch investigations, individuals like Keita who have experienced discrimination first-hand argue that universities need to "act on this" and stop issuing "bogus statements."\n"Unfortunately, I think the first step would have to be to fire anyone that cannot accurately convey an art form and review curriculums," explained Keita.\nMo Dibo | Facebook\n"Preventing bias," he said, "starts by accurately reflecting the art form in the early stages."\nMo Dibo | Facebook\nThough "everyone somehow finds their place" explained Keita, he argues that "universities are the epitome of systemic racism."\nMo Dibo | Facebook\nIndependent projects such as Keita's own The Shed Montreal concert series help tackle issues of systemic racism in the arts and aim to break down the barriers faced by BIPOC artists.\nWhile there's still a lot of work to be done at an institutional level, there's hope that bringing more awareness to these issues is a big step towards progress.