EQUITY, DIVERSITY AND INCLUSIVITY
"Racialized students across Western and HBK deserve to have equal access to education, and they deserve to access education in a safe and inclusive environment. We need to tackle racism as a community, engaging students in our efforts to dismantle the systems of oppression that marginalize BIPOC students."
Across Western and The Affiliates, there are groups committed to tackling anti-racism efforts. These groups often are renewed from year-to-year but are at different stages in terms of their progress and research. The EDI Network seeks to connect these groups, however, students are not bridged into these discussions. The EDI Network is also an opportunity for data sharing, this year the Anti-Oppression Working Group began to compile a database of anti-oppression, groups who choose to participate in the roundtable discussion should also be given the opportunity to contribute to this database. The findings of the work done by the EDI Network should be made available to students, this is why I would like to propose two town halls, one each semester to validate the work being done by the EDI Network, this would allow students at large to bring their feedback about the efficacy of our anti-racism work and to provide recommendations for areas of concern surrounding anti-racism. This will allow us to take a student-centric approach to anti-racism, by having all our work be informed by the student body. There will also be options for students to anonymously provide their feedback during the town hall.
There is an under-representation of BIPOC students across campus, we need to commit to attracting more BIPOC talent to Western. Messaging should be coming from BIPOC alum and their success stories, and then delivered to high schools and integrated into our recruitment strategies. There is so much power in representation, seeing people who look like you succeed creates a lasting impact, which will differentiate Western from its competitors. I also want to advocate for targeted entrance bursaries for BIPOC and International students to make Western an affordable option for them. This would be a collaboration with the Recruitment Office at Western.
Indigenous students face barriers to entry when it comes to post-secondary enrollment. Therefore, I will advocate for the creation of an Indigenous Student Mentorship Program, which will connect Indigenous high-school students with Indigenous University students and graduates to help facilitate their transition to University. This work will be possible through collaboration with the Office of Indigenous Initiatives at Western and the AVP Indigenous Initiatives.
All student leaders should have mandatory EDI training, this past year a program was available through OWL for student leaders to partake in. This should be mandatory across the board for anyone involved with the USC, including faculty councils and clubs. The way that we make this mandatory is by imposing penalties for non-compliance, this would ensure that everyone is receiving some form of training. This can be negotiated in the MOUs that we sign with the clubs and the faculties, stipulating that:
All members of a faculty council must complete the OWL anti-racism training within 60 days of their hiring. If they do not, they receive a penalty equivalent to two (2) absences.
All club executives are required to complete the OWL anti-racism training before the end of the Winter Term. If they do not, they will not be re-ratified for one (1) year.
Racism Reporting and Disclosure
Racism is a form of violence in our community and should be treated as such. The proposed creation of the Community Safety Office should include resources for instances of racism and should hire case managers who are competent in handling issues of racism. Currently, this office is proposed to have just one case manager, recognizing that violence is inherently disposed to discrimination it is important to hire more case managers who are competent in anti-racism metrics as well. This center should allow survivors of instances of targeted racism to file either a report or a disclosure, historically students have been unable to do a disclosure, which disenfranchises many students from coming forward. After this, they should be provided with the appropriate resources and sent to the correct office with their stories already documented. Resharing of racial trauma is exploitative, which is why students should only have to share their stories once before being referred to the Equity Diversity and Human Rights Office.