I want to update you on specific steps that we are taking to make a clear and meaningful stand against racism and all other forms of discrimination. As Dean, I want to emphasize that the Faculty of Arts is dedicated to creating a safe, equitable, and inclusive environment for everyone.
As Chair of the President’s Advisory Committee on Mental Health and Wellness, I am profoundly aware of the ways in which racism and other forms of systematic discrimination and exclusion negatively affect the wellness of people who experience it on a daily basis, including members of the Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) communities on the predominantly white uOttawa campus. The conversations I have had with students, staff, and faculty have left a deep impression on me that have underpinned reading, reflection, and deliberation with superb committee members from across the university. Last fall, the President and Board of Governors endorsed every recommendation in the committee’s report (including recommendations to ensure the delivery of specialized resources to BIPOC community members, such as dedicated counsellors for intersectional mental health factors such as racism and discrimination) and now, I look forward to working with you to make the necessary changes in the Faculty of Arts to enhance the experience of all students, faculty and staff.
I am especially driven to implement the Faculty of Arts Building Belonging Action Plan. The elements within the plan have been in development since last summer: our values, our objectives, our pillars, and a list of concrete actions and activities helping us move closer to our goals. This initiative, along with other actions undertaken by the university, will lead us to a shift in accountability and greater understanding. We invite you to consult this plan and join us in our active combat against racism, racial inequalities, and all forms of discrimination and barriers in order to build a better future for everyone at uOttawa.
I have often said that it is a great privilege with profound responsibilities to be Dean of the Faculty of Arts. It is with that same sense of privilege and responsibility that I am focused on the urgent need to create a welcoming and inclusive environment for everyone. In this work, I continue to be inspired by professors and students in the Faculty of Arts, many of whom have been drawing attention in their scholarly activities to the ways in which white and Eurocentric perspectives have built barriers that prevent inclusion. In order to move forward, we must acknowledge and learn from the discrimination and inequalities that have been experienced on our campus, and to make positive changes in a timely fashion. I look forward to strengthening our collective place of learning with all of you.
Faculty of Arts