The Student Association of George Brown College (SAGBC) delivered an open letter to George Brown College Thursday, July 23, calling on the college to take more meaningful action to address and end anti-Black and anti-Indigenous racism.
The letter lists eight key demands toward supporting students through the struggles of racism on campus.
- Make available the full and complete Review of George Brown College Truth and Reconciliation and Anti-Racism/Diversity
In 2018, the college hired a consulting firm to examine GBC’s existing anti-racism policies. The findings of the final report (2019) were not made available to students or community. The recommendations, the knowledge, and the potential were kept from students.
Where’s the report?
- Status reports on the implementation of the Review of George Brown College Truth and Reconciliation and Anti-Racism/Diversity
Receiving a report is not the same as taking action against racism. Students are experiencing racism. Students are invested in ending anti-racism. The college needs to honour students as aware, informed, and engage. Honour students with communication.
Where’s the implementation?
- Establish and hire senior leadership positions for Truth and Reconciliation/Indigenous Education, and senior leadership positions for Anti-Racism Education
Invest in strengthening the Black and Indigenous leadership of students and staff. There are still gaps in whose voices have decision-making power in our schools. There is a need for equitable hiring. Anti-racism is a professional competency.
Where’s the representative leadership?
- Establish an Office of Anti-Racism
Too often equity work is downloaded to too few people and to already overworked offices. Students go under-served. Or, equity issues compete for scarce resources. And, anti-racism work gets neglected. Students need more equity services than currently exists.
Where’s the support services?
- Establish a GBC-wide Anti-Racism Council with the involvement of faculty, students and staff
GBC benefits from an engaged and passionate student and staff community. To achieve collective change, honour lived experiences and have those most impacted at the table. Closed meetings don’t work.
Where’s the inclusion?
- Reopen the First Aid Offices, with a commitment to culturally competent care
GBC’s expectation that students contact security for health and safety is not a viable option. Consider how security and policing are tied to histories of racism and violence. Students need access to accessible, responsive, and judgement-free health and safety supports on campus.
Where’s the health & safety?
- Academic accommodations for grieving Black & Indigenous students
The overwhelming number of lives lost due to anti-Black and anti-Indigenous racism impacts Black and Indigenous students. There is an opportunity to review academic supports and policies for how they either harm or help students.
Where’s the academic compassion?
- Condemn injustices for what they are – systemic and targeted anti-Black racism
All institutions need to look at themselves – not just now – but as part of a long-term anti-racism vision. The college needs to admit and name racism and white supremacy when it’s happening in and beyond campus. Call out racism.
Where’s the accountability?
SAGBC continues to advocate for the rights of students and pushes to secure an academic environment free from racism. For the full letter delivered to George Brown College, please click here.