Important Message from WLUFA

Dear colleagues,

On June 19th, we learned more details of the University’s campus-wide strategy to address anti-Blackness and systemic racism at Laurier (An Action Plan). WLUFA recognizes that it also has much work to do in addressing its own role in perpetuating racism and harm to Black, Indigenous, and racialized colleagues and better supporting them in resisting racial inequity and injustice. We want you to know that the Executive will be working with WLUFA’s Diversity and Equity Committee to engage this labour within the WLUFA community as well.

WLUFA is also committed to doing better in holding the Laurier senior administration and itself more accountable in moving beyond statements of solidarity to concrete and meaningful action for Black, Indigenous, and racialized faculty. Towards this goal, WLUFA has asked President MacLatchy and the Executive Leadership Team for transparency and accountability in addressing how they are implicated in and perpetuate anti-Blackness and racism at Laurier.  We have requested a response to the following questions[1]:

·       How has anti-Blackness at Laurier specifically harmed Black faculty, students, and staff?

·       How is white supremacy culture embedded within Laurier and how is it reflected in Laurier’s internal work culture, structure (including Special Constables program) and leadership?

·       What systems of accountability are needed for Laurier’s white senior administrators, faculty, staff, and Board members to support the ongoing individual work of becoming anti-racist colleagues?

·       What systems of accountability are needed for Laurier’s senior administrators to ensure the eradication of anti-Blackness, systemic racism, and white supremacy in campus culture and leadership?

·       What is the Executive Leadership Team’s response to the concerns raised by the student-authors of the ‘Being Raced’ report and outlined in their Open Letter, titled “Stop Exploiting Anti-Black Racism Statements to Uphold Institutional Violence. It is Dismissive, Uncritical, and Racist”? When will the Laurier community hear this response? How will the senior administration hold itself accountable?

·       How does the University plan to engage in anti-racism work in a holistic and long-term way that does not include assigning the vast majority of work to a single diversity officer while also expecting extra volunteer or service work for faculty and overworked staff with little to no additional compensation?

·       How are Black, Indigenous, and racialized communities being welcomed and centered in the development of this strategy? How will this strategy incorporate and amplify the work of Black and Indigenous faculty, staff and students on our campuses?

·       How will Laurier engage with critique from Black people whose experiences with the University are shaped by anti-Black racism, who have pointed out the hypocrisy of the June 2nd solidarity statement (titled “Laurier commits to direct action to achieve racial justice”)?

·       How will the University name, honour, and account for the labour involved in internal and external anti-racism education, whether formally or informally? Is the University compensating Black, Indigenous, and racialized staff, faculty and students adequately?

·       How will Laurier protect Black community members who will be become targets as this work is undertaken? What are the policies and practices in place to protect racialized staff, faculty, and students from aggression and micro-aggression?

·       Will this strategy involve hiring Black, Indigenous and other racialized individuals in faculty, staff, and leadership positions?

·       Will this strategy involve changes to our HR policies and procedures through an explicitly anti-racist lens? Will this review be undertaken by a person with the necessary internal expertise, which comes from the lived experience of racism and resistance?

·       How will this strategy address the need for regular equity and anti-oppression trainings for senior leaders, faculty, staff, and Board members?

·       What resources have been committed to develop this strategy? What further resources are committed to implement the recommendations?

·       What opportunities exist for faculty, librarians, staff, and students committed to equity, diversity, and inclusion to engage with the process and participate in the development of priority action items? When will these stakeholder groups learn about these opportunities?

We will be in touch with the senior administration’s response to these questions and will organize a public forum later in the summer/early fall for further discussion and feedback.

[1] These questions are adapted from critical anti-oppressive work done by Articule, Quebec, and anti-oppression educator Rania El Mugammar’s suggestions for how Canadian institutions can move beyond solidarity statements to action (https://www.raniawrites.com

WLUFA Executive and the D&E Committee

[1] These questions are adapted from critical anti-oppressive work done by Articule, Quebec, and anti-oppression educator Rania El Mugammar’s suggestions for how Canadian institutions can move beyond solidarity statements to action (https://www.raniawrites.com

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