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.