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University Council stands against racism

Queen’s governance body shares statement of solidarity with Asian Canadians, marking the beginning of Asian Heritage Month.

Every May, Canada marks Asian Heritage Month as a time to reflect on the experiences, achievements, and contributions of the Asian community in Canada. This year’s theme is recognition, resilience, and resolve, which focuses on stories of Asian Canadians’ perseverance in the face of adversity. It also serves as a call to action for all Canadians to come together to combat all forms of anti-Asian racism and discrimination.

Early last month, in the wake of increasing violence against members of Asian communities in Canada and the United States, the Black members of Queen’s University Council, initiated by Greg Frankson, came together to draft an important statement of solidarity, which was then endorsed by all council members at their April 28 meeting.

The statement strongly condemns anti-Asian racism, violence, and hatred, and urges all individuals in positions of authority across all sectors to take immediate action to counteract bigoted acts within their spheres of influence and responsibility.

“When communities of colour are subjected to emotional, psychological, and physical duress, remaining silent is not an option,” the statement reads. “We speak today with the hope that others will join with us to resist racism whenever it rears its ugly head.”

The statement also expresses support for the university’s ongoing efforts to ensure the safety, security, and health of Asian faculty, staff, and students, and encourages sustained measures to strengthen EDII efforts on campus and beyond.

“Racism has no place at our university, in our communities, or in Canada at large,” says Principal Patrick Deane, whose Statement of Commitment to Address Systemic Racism, made in August 2020, served to accelerate initiatives and programs to advance equity, diversity, inclusion, and Indigenization (EDII) on campus. “This statement by our University Council underscores Queen’s commitment to standing against discrimination in all its forms.”

University Council is one of the school’s three governing bodies and is comprised of elected members selected from and by alumni. Council members act as key ambassadors for Queen’s and serve to promote the interests of the university broadly.

“University Councillors help represent Queen’s and its values every day in their communities and within their networks,” says Chancellor Jim Leech. “Our campus community should feel energized by their words and encouraged that our council leaders – who also represent our global alumni community – stand firm for equity, respect, and justice.”

Visit Queen’s Secretariat’s website to read the University Council-endorsed statement in its entirety.