September 4, 2020
Academics across Canada and the United States have organized actions in support of movements against anti-Black racism and police violence against Black, Indigenous, and racialized communities on September 9 and 10. Information on “Scholars Strike Canada” can be found here. I encourage community members to become better informed about the impact of racism on Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour (BIPOC) communities and about critical issues of transformative justice by accessing the many resources found on the site.
As I have previously expressed in recent statements, advancing equity, diversity, inclusion, and Indigeneity (EDII) is central to my work as Provost, and to the work of all members of Queen’s senior leadership team. As outlined in the recent declaration of commitment to address systemic racism, Queen’s leadership is actively taking steps to bring about meaningful change within the university. There is much we need to do to address the systemic barriers that exist throughout the university, and Queen’s is committed to doing that work.
I know that some members of the Queen’s community will want to take part in Scholars Strike Canada in various ways. The university supports these efforts and will be flexible where possible for employees who need to adjust their scheduled duties. I encourage employees to take some time next week to reflect and engage in dialogue on racism and oppression. I also encourage faculty members to think about how you can help implement the TRCTF and PICDRI recommendations, and to use class time where appropriate to promote dialogue and content on anti-racism and EDII. The Centre for Teaching and Learning recently collaborated with the Human Rights and Equity Office in the development of modules on equity, diversity and inclusion in pedagogy and practice. The modules are under Creative Commons licensing, so Queen’s faculty members can use the content from those modules to help inform their approaches to teaching and to supplement course content.
Faculty who intend to cancel a scheduled class meeting (in person or online) on September 9 or 10 are asked to inform their students and their department head and dean’s office of the cancellation as soon as possible, along with information about when and how the learning activities that were planned for the class will be covered or made-up. Providing clear information in advance will be especially important as many students will be orienting themselves to new courses, as well as new modes of learning during the pandemic. Faculty members are asked not to disadvantage or deny students reasonable alternative access to materials, including if they choose to participate in Scholars Strike Canada activities during regular class time.
I also know that some faculty members will not be able to cancel scheduled classes in order to ensure students stay on track throughout the term. I encourage these faculty members to reflect on how they can implement anti-oppression, anti-racist, and Indigenous curricular content linked to learning outcomes, as recommended in the TRCTF and PICRDI reports.
Staff are asked to request lieu time, vacation time, or flex their time to participate in the events of September 9 and 10. Managers are encouraged to accommodate such requests where operationally possible, even on short notice.
Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic)