Norman Kwan

Interview with Norman Kwan conducted by Ruth Belay and Daniela Ansovini

28 January 2020 | A2020-0010/005S | Transcript (PDF) | Listen

Interview description

Dr. Norman Kwan, a graduate from UofT’s Faculty of Dentistry, provides his account of student and community response to CTV’s W5 Campus Giveaway episode. Airing on September 30th, 1979, the reporting alleged that Canadian citizens were being denied opportunity in professional graduate programs and targeted students who were visible minorities as unfairly occupying these placements, regardless of their citizenship or status as Canadians themselves. The xenophobic tone and misrepresentation of foreign students ignited protests across the country. Dr. Kwan discusses his involvement in the student response, particularly how the Chinese Students’ Association’s President, Dinah Cheng, approached and worked with Chinese-Canadian professional associations and community groups to protest, pursue a lawsuit, and create a set of demands. He describes the impacts and outcomes of their advocacy including CTV’s apology, solidarity built between different groups, the creation of the Chinese Canadian National Council, and the shift in his own political consciousness.



  • Chinese Students’ Association, University of Toronto
  • Canadian Television Network (CTV)
  • Ad Hoc Committee of the Council of Chinese Canadians Against W5
  • Council of Chinese Canadians (Ontario Chapter and Irene Chiu)
  • Federation of Chinese Canadian Professionals (FCCP)
  • Chinese Professional Association of Canada
  • New Democratic Party (NDP)

Subject Topics

  • Racism in the press
  • Discrimination in higher education
  • University admissions
  • Canadian race relations
  • Chinese Canadian activism
  • Chinese Canadian community
  • Professional graduate education
  • International students
  • Southeast Asian refugees
  • International students
  • Community organizing
  • W-Five

Citation: University of Toronto Archives. Oral History Collection on Student Activism. Oral history interview with Norman Kwan conducted by Ruth Belay and Daniela Ansovini, 28 January 2020. A2020-0010/005S.