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.

Hiring Information

  • Employment Term: January 2022 - May 2022
  • Application Deadline: September 30, 2021 at 5:00 PM
  • Submit your application to uwsa@uwindsor.ca
  • Note: This is not a University of Windsor position. This is a position within the University of Windsor Students' Alliance (uwsa.ca), the independent and incorporated student union representing full-time students at the University of Windsor. 

Position Overview

The AfroFest Coordinator is responsible for delivering activities, events, and services that support the Black student experience and promote and celebrate Black equity on campus. The Coordinator must be committed and sensitive to supporting the needs of the Black student community. The Coordinator will develop, organize and implement all relevant programming events, including the African Diaspora Festival during Black History Month, likely in a virtual format. The Coordinator will develop community support, secure sponsorships, plan consistent events and activities throughout the year, book and organize talent, and recruit and manage volunteers. The Coordinator will assist in instigating change on campus to embrace and encourage a culture of understanding, openness, inclusion and acceptance.

For More Information

Please view the job description HERE.
 

 

logo: Anti-Black Racism Student Leadership Experience Grants

 

Six projects approved under the Anti-Black Racism Student Leadership Experience Grants program involve a range of approaches to dismantling barriers caused by racial oppression, says Marium Tolson-Murtty.

Strategic planning officer for anti-Black racism initiatives, she led the adjudication process, which awarded the $10,000 grants to support co-curricular activities through education, cultivation, and preservation of Black culture and history.

“I am proud of these excellent projects,” Tolson-Murtty says. “We had originally planned to approve just five, but the submissions were so good, we expanded the inaugural tranche of funding.”

The approved projects are:

Black Leadership Excellence,” which will train Residence Assistance and education residence students on anti-Black racism efforts on campus, including workshops, unconscious bias training, and more. Student team lead Brittney Ketwaroo will work with sociology professor Natalie Delia Deckard and residence life co-ordinator Lynn Charron.

Identifying Barriers and Creating Opportunities to Ensure Success of Black Studentss in the Faculty of Engineering,” aimed at recruiting Black students into engineering. Students Staecey-Merveille Ngabire and Aimée-Larissa Dushime will work with professors Rajesh Seth and Jennifer Jorhrendt.

We Were Here: Recovering the Stories of Windsor's McDougall Street Corridor,” a research project to document the history of McDougall Street, home to Black families that are descendants of the Underground Railroad. Student team lead Willow Key will work with Heidi Jacobs and archivist Sarah Glassford of the Leddy Library, and Irene Moore Davis of the Essex County Black Historical Research Society.

The Forgotten Ones: The Impact of COVID-19 on Black Families and Black Child Welfare Survivors Dealing with Child Protection,” coursework assignments to advance understanding of the implications of COVID-19 for Black child welfare survivors. Student team lead Josh Lamers will work with law professor Venkatesh Vasanthi.

Coaching and Mentorship Programs for Black Female Athletes,” education and engagement to promote Black female athletes into coaching certification programs. Kinesiology professor Kevin Milne, track coach Marcia Milne, and Lancer Recreation co-ordinator Sandra Ondracka will work with student leads to be named.

Understanding Barriers to Higher-Education at the University of Windsor Rooted in Racial Oppression, especially among Black Prospective Students,” recruitment and engagement of prospective Black students to the University of Windsor. Chris Busch, assistant vice-president of enrolment management, his team, and cross-campus collaborators will work with student leads to be named.

The grants are intended to foster student-led research and leadership skills, says Clinton Beckford, UWindsor vice-president for equity, diversity, and inclusion.

“These exciting projects will enhance the student experience and promote the training of highly creative and motivated students,” he says. “These valuable career-related transferable skills will provide future opportunities while cultivating awareness and advocacy for issues related to the experiences of Black people.”

More information on the progress of each of these projects will be forthcoming in the months ahead. Learn more about the Anti-Black Racism Student Leadership Experience Grants program.

Attention students!

The Rapid Action Unit (RAU) on student diversity data collection invites you to participate in a student diversity data collection consultation. The student diversity consultation will be facilitated by the RAU comprising of Dr. Clinton Beckford (Acting AVP Equity Diversity & Inclusion), Dr. Phebe Lam (Acting AVP Student Experience) and Lorraine Grondin (University Registrar). The University has decided to take decisive action on this long overdue initiative and your experience and expertise will help to guide the process of the implementation of the project. 

We expect that the consultation meetings will be held in the month of June. We hope you will consider participating in this capacity and would be grateful if you would let us know by Monday, June 7th. If you are interested in being a part of the consultations, then please email diversity@uwindsor.ca

Thank you for your time and consideration.

May 14, 2021

In recognition of the specific and ongoing issues of systemic racism faced by students, researchers, and faculty in Canadian higher education, the Office of the President has invited submissions for the UWindsor Anti-Black Racism Teaching and Learning Grant. 

The grants will fund:

  • research projects that focus on aspects of teaching in higher education;
  • academic units and educational leaders in implementing course and curricular reforms; and
  • scholarship on learning and teaching as it relates to anti-Black racism pedagogy. 

The Anti-Black Racism Teaching and Learning Grant will award up to $5,000 for teaching and mentorship grants, and up to $10,000 for teams working on curriculum design. Grant duration will be up to 24 months in total, with a start date no sooner than July 1, 2021. 

Applicants are invited to submit well-defined proposals that will demonstrably enhance teaching and learning by 4 P.M. Wednesday, June 30. 

Award winners will be expected to share their outcomes with the university community and to submit a final report of their activities to the Centre for Teaching and Learning. 

Review the full details, eligibility, and application procedures online.

March 24, 2021

Photo of Dillon Hall with text

A new grant program will support student projects to address Black historical studies within the Canadian context, barriers caused by racial oppression, Anti-Black racism, and advocacy throughout Canada and globally.

The Anti-Black Racism Student Leadership Experience Grants are intended to foster student-led research and leadership skills, enhance student engagement and the student experience, and assist in the training of highly creative and motivated students. It has been developed to advance the cause, awareness, and advocacy of dismantling Anti-Black racism on campus and in the broader community.

Five grants will be awarded in the amount of $10,000 each with a duration of up to 18 months.

Applications from student groups, campus clubs, undergraduate or graduate students collaborating with a faculty supervisor are due no later than 11:59 p.m. May 2.

Note: The deadline has now passed. The ABR Student Leadership Experience Grant Review Committee is finalizing the grant recipients. 

Review the full details, eligibility, and application procedures online.

April 5, 2021

Clinton Beckford
Education professor Clinton Beckford will take up an appointment as acting vice-president, equity, diversity, and inclusion, effective June 1.

Education professor Clinton Beckford has accepted a two-year appointment as acting vice-president, equity, diversity, and inclusion, UWindsor president Robert Gordon announced last week.

This appointment will provide guidance, advocacy, insight, and leadership as the University works toward a Senate-governed leadership role at the vice-president level. Dr. Beckford will lead a process to establish bylaws for the permanent position.

In this role as a member of the executive leadership team of the University of Windsor, he will lead and support efforts to address racism and discrimination on campus and provide guidance to ensure that equity, diversity, and inclusion priorities thoughtfully inform decision making.

Beckford is the associate dean, teacher education, in the Faculty of Education. Dr. Gordon praised his depth of experience as a highly respected advocate for social and environmental justice, as an agent of change in the ongoing work of dismantling systemic oppression on this campus and beyond, and as an educational and administrative leader.

“Dr. Beckford brings extensive research, knowledge, and experience working with racialized, marginalized, and Indigenous communities locally and internationally to this role, as well as a deep knowledge of our campus community,” Gordon wrote.

December 7, 2020

To all students, faculty, and staff,

Over the weekend, several faculty members and students received racist, threatening, and hateful anonymous messages, and they are extremely disturbing to read. The University condemns the language and intent behind these messages in the strongest possible terms.

We have forwarded the emails to our Campus Community Police and the Windsor Police Service, who are collaborating on an investigation into this matter. Those found responsible will be subject to serious disciplinary action and potential criminal charges. This attempt to spread hate has no place at the University of Windsor.

If you have any information related to these messages or the person or persons who sent them, please contact Matthew D’Asti at CCP - Campus Community Police mgcpolicestaff@uwindsor.ca

It is deeply troubling that so many members of our community have continued to deal with this kind of oppression, including the anti-Black racism, Anti-Semitism, homophobia, and other forms of discrimination included in these messages. We recognize the toll this has taken and the fear it has created among our community—and it must stop. It is absolutely imperative that all students, as well as members of faculty and staff, feel confident in a safe and inclusive environment at the University of Windsor, and that continues to be our priority.

To any member of our community who is feeling scared or uncomfortable: Please know you are not alone. I encourage you to reach out to Student Counselling Services at scc@uwindsor.ca. Students can also access confidential counselling by licensed counsellors through MySSP 24/7 via phone or text. Students can request a Black counsellor from either service. Faculty and staff can access confidential support through the Employee and Family Assistance Program, which offers professional and confidential counselling and information services.

Right now, we are focused on identifying the source of these messages so that we can pursue the appropriate action and work with law enforcement to press charges against the person or persons responsible.

We will provide an update as this investigation proceeds. Thank you.

Robert Gordon, PhD
President & Vice-Chancellor
University of Windsor

November 26, 2020

On Wednesday evening I received an email accompanied by messages allegedly exchanged by various members of the Delta Chi fraternity.

Many of the messages shared in this note are disturbing, unacceptable, and entirely incongruent with the values of our school and the work we are doing to create a more inclusive and equitable community at the University of Windsor.

I acknowledge and am very sorry for the pain this language has caused for our students, faculty, and staff. As President, I take responsibility for the progress we need to make to ensure that our campus protects the emotional, physical, and psychological safety of everyone in our community. We will be immediately launching an investigation into this matter.

Greek Letter Organizations like Delta Chi do not have a formal relationship with the University of Windsor. Nor are they recognized by the University’s Student Association. Like many off-campus organizations, they are permitted to book space on campus for meetings and activities. The University will be immediately suspending any opportunities for this organization to engage with University activities, pending the investigation of these matters. The University has contacted the US-based leadership of Delta Chi to ensure this matter is handled appropriately and promptly. We have also forwarded this matter to Windsor Police Services.

The University of Windsor is focused on addressing manifestations of anti-Black Racism, homophobia, and other forms of discrimination across our institution. To our students and staff: We hear you and we recognize this work is ongoing and nowhere near done.

Our Anti-Black Racism Task Force started its work today and is beginning public consultation with students, faculty, and other members of our community. Among other actions, we have also undertaken a third-party review of student disciplinary processes, led by former University Secretary and General Counsel at York University, Harriet Lewis. We appreciate the contributions of staff, students, and faculty in deciding on these and other actions, and we anticipate the completion of Lewis’s review this winter.

All this work is part of a much larger process underway across the University of Windsor, work that I know is essential to rebuilding the trust of our community. That work has already begun but we have much, much more to do before we can move forward as an organization.

For now, I want to thank our students, faculty, and staff for bringing this to our attention and for their ongoing work to make our campus safer and more equitable. We know this is work that Black faculty, staff, and students should not have to undertake, and apologize again for the distress this incident has caused. We will work together to root out racism and discrimination in all its forms.

I look forward to providing you with an update in the coming days.

Thank you.

Dr. Rob Gordon,
President and Vice-Chancellor

November 4, 2020

Last week, two instructors used anti-Black language (the n-word) as part of their class. We want to thank the students, staff, faculty and community members for speaking out and bringing this to our attention. We understand and acknowledge that this difficult and draining work should not be required in order for anyone to work, learn, and live in an equitable, safe, and respectful community.

The University recognizes the pain, trauma, and violence associated with this word, and the extent to which it is rooted in enslavement, oppression, and colonialism. The University is  committed to working with the entire campus community to listen and learn; to develop clear understandings of the history, impact, and implications of using this word. The President has also reached out to the Windsor University Faculty Association to explore a plan to work on these challenges collectively.  We need to work towards consensus about structures, procedures, and training that will enable us to develop the minds of students and meet our obligations as an academic institution without causing pain and trauma to members of our community. This process must respect the rights and freedoms that are integral to scholarly practice: it must also uphold our responsibilities as teachers and scholarly colleagues to create safe and respectful spaces for students, learning, and knowledge creation.

Everyone has the right to be treated with dignity, and to feel that they belong. These experiences clearly did not meet that standard.  We are sorry for these incidents and for the harm they have caused and continue to cause. However, we are aware that an apology – by an individual professor or by the institution -- is insufficient. An apology does not redress the impact on Black members of this community, or the erosion of confidence and faith that result from multiple incidents of this nature. These incidents are one of many ways that we, as members of this community, have perpetuated systemic anti-Black racism and its impact on our students and colleagues, and we must work together to change these patterns.

We are working to address these incidents and the patterns of oppression that produce them. Both of the instructors involved have apologized and are working with their department head to establish plans for moving forward. They are cognizant of the harm that they have caused and know that they, like the institution, must take steps to try to repair that harm and to make sure that this type of incident does not happen in the future. Students in the courses should also be aware that they always have recourse to a number of institutional processes to support them at this time: if accommodations are not already in place, students are always entitled to seek academic accommodation.  Please contact the University Secretariat for more information about these options.

The department has committed to greater engagement with the work of challenging anti-Black racism and the aspects of the institution that allow it to thrive, in order to create more equitable spaces, and of engaging with that work collectively in terms of shared expectations for their own programs and teaching practice.  The Faculty will facilitate formal dialogue and learning opportunities to ensure that the implications of these issues and others are well understood, emphasizing the voices of Black students, staff, and faculty in that work. As an institution, we have committed to a series of initiatives aimed at establishing community-driven priorities for change; collecting data that enables accountability metrics; improving our broader equity, diversity, and inclusion practice; and enriching campus learning about anti-Black racism and the Black experience. Incidents like these demonstrate that we must also continue to develop better and more effective lines of communication both to learn from and respond to those who are experiencing racism.  It is essential that all members of our community are more fully aware of the impact of their words, actions, and practices.

The Student Counselling Centre is available to any students who are in need of additional support and need to speak to someone.   Please reach out to them at scc@uwindsor.ca for an appointment.  Students can also access confidential counselling by licensed counsellors through MySSP 24/7 via phone or text. Students can request a Black counsellor from either service.  Faculty and staff can access confidential support through the Employee and Family Assistance Program, which offers professional and confidential counselling and information services. Again, we are very sorry for the pain this incident has caused and we are working, on many fronts and in a consultative manner, to address anti-Black racism on this campus.

In these changing and challenging times, expectations for safer learning environments are evolving rapidly. We must therefore create environments where everyone has equal rights to be respected, to disagree and debate, and to learn and create knowledge, based on the fundamental principles of intellectual inquiry. We are committed to finding this common ground. We strongly urge everyone concerned with this issue to engage with the anti-Black Racism Task Force:  the issue of anti-Black language in academic settings will be a focus of specific listening sessions leading to concrete Calls to Action, and we hope you will join us in articulating common goals for action.

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

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

Sep 9, 2021

The Lancer women’s basketball team will hold its 5K Run for Anti-Racism on Sept. 11 and 12.

Aug 24, 2021

New dates will allow more to participate in roundtable discussion of their experiences as Black alumni of the University of Windsor.