Dean's Task Force on Anti-Racism: Report and Recommendations

Dean's Task Force on Anti-Racism

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Members: Carolyn McLeod, Thy Phu, Nandi Bhatia

Goals: This report establishes a framework for addressing the issue of racism in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities and expanding this framework to broader forms of discrimination.

Context: On March 3, 2020, we had our first meeting to explore strategies and best practices for dealing with racial discrimination. We discussed questions raised by Dean Michael Milde and came up with ideas that might offer guidelines for fostering a robust environment of inclusion, equality, acceptance and acknowledgement of racial diversity through dialogue, consultation, critical engagement in the classroom, training, and curriculum reviews. Our recommendations, based on several subsequent discussions, are summarized as follows:

1. Creation of a permanent Anti-Racism Committee

The Anti-Racism Committee of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities will respond to concerns about equity and inclusion for racialized groups while taking an intersectional approach to race and racism. To this end, it would serve as the “go to committee” for students, staff and faculty members who wish to share theirconcerns and pointing them towards appropriate resources available at the university level. The specific guidelines of this committee can be drawn up in consultation with appropriate stakeholders. Broadly, the committee could assume the responsibility of:

i)  organizing anti-racism workshops.

ii)  conducting periodic diversity reviews (once in 4 years, for example).

iii)  supporting reviews of undergraduate and graduate curricula across departments in consultation with undergraduate and graduate chairs.

iv)  conducting periodic consultations across the Faculty, including graduate and undergraduate students, staff, and faculty members.

v)  supporting the increased representation of racialized groups and the promotion of racial diversity.

2. The implementation of mandatory anti-racism training for all faculty

i)  The Faculty may get in touch with the Canadian Race Relations Foundation (CRRF), which is “Canada’s leading agency dedicated to the elimination of racism and all forms of racial discrimination in Canadian society.” The link to the Foundation is https://www.crrf-fcrr.ca/en/ The Foundation provides free Education and Training workshops for which information can be found at: https://www.crrf- fcrr.ca/en/programs/education-and-training.

The Faculty may connect with the Foundation and explore the possibility of arranging workshops for leaders, faculty members and staff. At the university level, these workshops could be facilitated through the Leadership Forums organized through the Office of the Provost.

ii)  The Faculty may identify non-governmental organizations or consultants outside the university that offer anti-racism workshops. In this regard, the London Cross-Cultural Centre could be consulted. These workshops may require a dedicated budget.

iii)  The Faculty may identify a trained group of faculty and staff members at the university who could provide workshops at the Faculty level. To this end, the Office of Equity and Human Rights Services at Western can be consulted: https://www.uwo.ca/equity/


3. A review of curriculum by each department and program informed by anti- racism and diversity considerations

i)  The Centre for Teaching and learning (https://teaching.uwo.ca/) at Western may be consulted to provide a template for mapping the curriculum in each department. The point persons for this exercise are Aisha Haque and Beth Hundey.

ii)  The Faculty may introduce diverse teaching practices, syllabi, and evaluation methods. More active and interactive classroom spaces may also be introduced.

iii)  Individual departments may connect with the SGPS sponsored program “Own Your Future” for delivering workshops on “Decolonizing the Curriculum.” This workshop is listed as part of their offerings.

iv) Every syllabus may include a clause regarding unacceptability of racial and other forms of discrimination, and a list of resources for students to consult.

4. Other recommendations

i)  Short Term: review of departmental and Faculty level webpages to ensure that communication aligns with the commitment to inclusion and diversity within the Faculty and with the university more broadly.

ii)  Long-Term: Targeted opportunity hires at the Faculty and Staff level; allocation of resources for ongoing training and workshops.