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Black Lives Matter Co-Founder Faces Backlash After York University Student Union Donation


Black Lives Matter (BLM) co-founder Alexandria Williams is facing backlash for conflict-of-interest allegations after the York University student union donated thousands of dollars to the activist group. Williams is also the Equity vice president for the York Federation of Students (YFS).

The Toronto Sun reported that, during Alexandria Williams' tenure with the York Federation of Students, the student union made two donations to BLM. The donations totaled to $7,500. The first donation, which was $2,500, was approved back in August last year.

"As long as there is injustice happening in our society, the YFS will support and stand in solidarity with all oppressed groups," YFS president Chenthoori Malankov said. "The YFS is a democratic organization and our members have the right to put forth motions and it will be discussed."

The agenda from the meeting, held privately at the York University Student Center, revealed that the student politicians were considering a motion moved by Williams to write letters on behalf of the YFS to Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders, Toronto Mayor John Tory and Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne. The motion was to condemn the police practice of carding.

In a separate motion, moved by another YFS executive Huda Alsarraj, was resolved by donating $2,500 to Black Lives Matter. The second motion was approved at the YFS's annual general meeting on Nov. 30, 2015. The agenda for that meeting showed Williams suggesting that the student union donate another $1,000 to the cause. It was unclear who amended the motion since the donation was bumped up to $5,000.

"I do think that it is a conflict of interest," Rena Silver, a student who attended the AGM and president of the Israel-advocacy student group Hasbara at York, said. "I believe the Black Lives Matter movement is an important one. And it certainly was not out of the question to donate money to an organization like that, but as a measure of professionalism and objectivity, someone else should have been the champion of the motion."

This issue comes after BLM has received a total of more than $100 million from liberal foundations and individual contributions.

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