Oral History Collection on Student Activism
Interview with Ike Okafor conducted by Ruth Belay
31 March 2020 | A2020-0010/017S | Listen
Ike Okafor, currently the Senior Officer for Service Learning and Diversity Outreach at the University of Toronto’s (UofT) Faculty of Medicine, was a founding member and former President of the Black Student Association (BSA) at UofT. In the interview, Okafor provides a rich account of community and advocacy work aimed to specifically address systemic barriers to higher education for Black students. He discusses his experiences seeing the under-representation of Black students at UofT, the founding of the BSA in 1999, and re-establishment of the Fourth Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha. He speaks to the dual interests of these groups: to create community and support access to post-secondary education, and describes how these aims were supported through the activities of a number of closely aligned initiatives.
Okafor describes how his later professional roles at UofT, in the Office of Student Recruitment and the Faculty of Medicine, have focused on leveraging the institution’s resources to better support and attract a diverse student body. He discusses the role of public institutions and the necessary urgency to recognize the social contract by which they are underpinned. This reorientation would emphasize responsibility of public bodies to significantly serve the public, require collaboration with community partners, and meaningfully support equity objectives.
Note: This interview was recorded remotely on a video call. This has affected the audio quality in some areas. Please contact the archives if you would like a copy of this interview's transcript.
- Black Students’ Association (BSA)
- Annual Black High School Conference, Black Students’ Association
- National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE)
- New College – University of Toronto
- Black Medical Student Association (BMSA)
- Huron-Sussex Residents Organization
- Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. (AΦA)
- Tan Furu
- Black Business and Professional Association (BBPA)
- Toronto District School Board (TDSB)
- Racial justice
- Access to post-secondary education
- Equity in education
- Discrimination in education
- Community partnership
- Institutional transformation
- Institutional response
Citation: University of Toronto Archives. Oral History Collection on Student Activism. Oral history interview with Ike Okafor conducted by Ruth Belay, 31 March 2020. A2020-0010/017S.