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UWindsor's Commitment to Confront, Educate and Eliminate Anti-Black Racism

UWindsor's Commitment to Challenge, Confront and Eliminate Anti-Black Racism

A Message from President and Vice-Chancellor Rob Gordon

As an institution of higher learning, the University of Windsor has a duty to its faculty, staff, students and broader community to strive to be an agent of effective change. We have failed to fully address the pervasive racial injustice that manifests in society and on our campus. The year 2020 represents a significant shift in the global conversation around Anti-Black Racism. Black, Indigenous, and racialized peoples in Canada continue to face oppression, and the work of eradicating Anti-Black Racism and oppression in all its forms on our campus is critical. The University of Windsor is affirming its commitment to challenge and dismantle systemic oppression. A truly inclusive future for the University of Windsor begins with our actions and choices today. We invite all members of the campus community to engage in this important work.

October 2020 

In June 2020, the University of Windsor committed to a series of concrete steps to lay the groundwork to combat systemic anti-Black racism on campus; support equitable access to opportunities for Black students, staff, and faculty; and foster safer, inclusive, welcoming, and anti-racist communities on our campus. We need to fully address racial injustice, as it manifests in society, and as it has manifested on our campus: these actions are a starting point. 

These are the commitments we have made, which we intend as foundational steps toward a comprehensive long-term strategy:

  • Establishing a University of Windsor Anti-Black Racism Task Force with the goals of  (i) listening and learning of the perspectives on anti-Black racism across the University; and (ii) identifying necessary policies, programs, pedagogy, research and the appropriate actions to address anti-Black racism in all forms;
  • Developing a training and educational framework to raise awareness and understanding of anti-Black racism, whether intentional, unconscious or systemic, as well as proactive and remedial strategies to deal with it;
  • Implementing mechanisms to better understand, monitor, and track forms of racial discrimination across the University including a racial demographic data collection framework; and
  • Commissioning an external review during 2021 of our broader institution-wide equity, diversity, and inclusion processes; policies; programs; committees; and reporting structures.

To date we have taken the following steps:

  • Established an anti-Black racism working group to advise on the timelines and establishment of these initiatives, drawing on experienced Black faculty, students, staff, and board members.
  • Established two support positions, an Anti-Black Racism Strategic Planning Officer and a Special Projects Coordinator, to provide strategic insight and methodological and logistical support to the Task Force and other initiatives. I am pleased to announce that Marium Tolson-Murtty and Jeremiah Bowers have accepted these positions. We are privileged to be working with these two experienced and talented individuals. 
  • Finalized, through a consultative process, the terms of reference, call for nominations, and nomination processes for the Anti-Black Racism Task Force, which is launching today.
  • Established the University’s Anti-Black Racism website, which will evolve in keeping with our collective efforts.
  • Planned a retreat for the University’s academic leadership on anti-Black racism, to be offered by Dr. Joy Mighty (Carleton University) in October.
  • Established a planning group involving faculty, the Office of Human Rights, Human Resources, and the Centre for Teaching and Learning to consultatively develop an education and training framework. Development is underway: as a first step towards more sustained and systematic programming, preliminary professional development activities through Human Resources and the Centre for Teaching and Learning have been implemented, with more programming planned for the coming year.  Preliminary online learning resource collections have been posted, with more to follow.  
  • Planning is underway for Board of Governors training focused on principles of inclusive and anti-oppressive governance.
  • Preliminary planning for the external review of equity, diversity and inclusion infrastructure at the University has been undertaken, as well as initial research on approaches to racial demographic data collection, which will serve as the basis for consultation with a cross-functional advisory group.    
  • Establishment of professional development funding and research/teaching grants for faculty and staff is underway. 
  • There are many initiatives and projects unfolding within the Faculties and in units across campus: this is a commitment we all take seriously. 

There is much more to do. A truly inclusive future for the University of Windsor begins with our actions and choices today. We invite all members of the campus community to engage in these efforts.  

UWindsor's Commitment to Eliminate Anti-Black Racism

A message from President and Vice-Chancellor Rob Gordon

June 11, 2020

To the University of Windsor Campus Community,

The past few weeks have been exceedingly difficult for the Black members of our campus community.

The senseless killing of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis police has set off a firestorm of protest that has served as a stark reminder that anti-Black racism remains pervasive not only in the United States, but in our country and on our campus. It was a blatant demonstration of anti-Black racism and it has resonated with all of us who decry racial injustice and discrimination.

Last week, the University of Windsor’s statement on the death of Mr. Floyd did not go far enough and failed to both fully recognize the significance of the moment and explicitly condemn anti-Black racism. The University thanks all of those who brought this to our attention.

We are committed to equity, diversity, and inclusion, but we also know that our University can and must do more when it comes to the issues that focus on equality and human rights. And we recognize that the University has not dealt with racial injustice in a meaningful way in the past, particularly as it applies to anti-Black racism.

We must make real, substantive change, and make a commitment to look squarely at systemic anti-Black racism on our campus and deal with it. As a University, we have to do better. We must also do what is right. There must be a place for voices to be heard, for students, staff, faculty and alumni to be engaged; a plan is needed for change; and there must be a process for accountability.

With that in mind, the University is taking the following measures as a first step:

In partnership with our student governments (UWSA, GSS and OPUS), we will establish a University of Windsor Anti-Black Racism Task Force. Representation will include our students, staff, faculty and alumni and will complement the recently announced Anti-Black Racism Committee in the Faculty of Law. The Task Force will focus on: (i) listening and learning of the perspectives on anti-Black racism across the University; and (ii) identifying necessary policies, programs, pedagogy, research and the appropriate actions to address anti-Black racism in all forms. The Task Force will be established over the coming months and begin its work in Fall 2020.

The University will immediately establish a training and educational framework to raise awareness and understanding of anti-Black racism, whether intentional, unconscious or systemic, as well as proactive and remedial strategies to deal with it. Students, staff and faculty will be invited to participate in training opportunities which will be mandatory for all senior administrators and Board of Governors members.
To better understand, monitor and track forms of racial discrimination across the University, we will explore a partnership with the Ontario Human Rights Commission to implement, among other things, a racial demographic data collection framework. This will help to better understand the challenges faced by our marginalized students and allow future progress to be assessed.

Working with the Office of Human Rights, Equity & Accessibility (OHREA) and other units across the University, we will also commission an external review of our broader institution-wide equity, diversity and inclusion processes, policies, programs, committees and reporting structures. This review will be a collaborative undertaking, welcoming contributions from across the University community.
The University is committed to providing resources for each of these initiatives and will also establish an assessment and reporting process to effectively monitor and communicate progress moving forward.

We are now ready to make much-needed change as it relates to anti-Black racism at the University of Windsor. We will need everyone’s help. And together, we will make a difference.

Recent News

Oct 20, 2020

Tuesday, Oct. 20, is the deadline for nominations to the University of Windsor the Anti-Black Racism Task Force.

Oct 16, 2020

As part of a series of concrete steps aimed at combatting Anti-Black Racism on campus, the University of Windsor has issued a call for student, staff, and faculty nominations and self-nominations for the University of Windsor the Anti-Black Racism Task Force. Task Force membership will be predominantly Black.