Dear Capilano University faculty members,
The world is rallying around the injustice of the killing of Black folks in the United States and Canada including George Floyd, Regis Korchinski-Paquet, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and others. Amidst this, discussions around white supremacy, police violence, and anti-racism are more prevalent than ever. We stand in solidarity and support with our Black community members: students, faculty, and staff.
Black lives matter.
Many Black folks are being asked for emotional labour, or feeling a sense of responsibility to engage online in more dedicated ways than before. Discussions about breaking down systemic racism are critical, but the inundation of information we are receiving — especially in response to such violence — is exhausting and triggering for racialized and, especially, Black students in our community. The Black community in Vancouver is small, and many members of this community have either had direct interactions with the police themselves, or know someone who has. These interactions are negative, violent, and traumatizing — and the current news and social media climate has the capacity to re-traumatize folks with these experiences.
On behalf of our students and the Black community, we ask you to proactively provide academic accommodations to Black students through the summer semesters, in recognition that students’ well-being is the first priority during these exceptional circumstances. While there are ways in which students may ask for accommodations themselves, such as approaching accessibility services or counselling, these are institutional barriers that many don’t have the ability to interface with at this time.
Our appeal is this: treat students with the same compassion you would hope to receive were your community grieving or under duress. We are an institution of higher learning, and right now our students are being called on to be community instructors and educate the world on systemic oppression, police brutality, and what it means to be anti-racist. We call on you to honour this additional labour these students have been forced to undertake, and listen with an open mind and heart when they ask for your support.
President, Capilano Students’ Union
CC: Laureen Styles (Vice President, Academic and Provost)
Ted Gervan (Dean, Faculty of Fine and Applied Arts)
Pouyan Mahboubi (Dean, Faculty of Arts & Sciences)
Brad Martin (Dean, Faculty of Education, Health, & Human Development)
Lara Duke (Dean, Faculty of Global & Community Studies)
Capilano Faculty Association