2021 Report

We are writing to update the CNERS community on the commitments that the department made in our Statement of Support against Racism, White Supremacy, and Police Violence in July 2020. Over the course of the 2020-2021 academic year, we carried out the four actions identified in the Statement:

  1. We created an Equity and Social Justice Committee (ESJC) to foster inclusivity and anti-racism in the department. In its first year the committee was composed of eight members of CNERS community representing all major stakeholders in the department: faculty, staff, post-doctoral students, graduate students, and undergraduate students.
  2. We committed departmental funds to bringing IBPOC speakers to campus and restructured our speakers selection process to ensure greater diversity and representation in future years.
  3. The EJSC hosted three virtual events over the course of the year: two discussions on select African diasporic texts (including a local session of Eos READS) and one discussion on teaching and Indigeneity.
  4. As our annual monetary contribution from the department to a community organization working to dismantle white supremacy or police violence, the ESJC partnered with the CNERS Student Association to hold an online trivia night fundraiser for WISH, a Vancouver-based organization which works to improve the health and well-being of women involved in street-based sex work in Vancouver. The event raised over $1,000.

In addition to the actions outlined on the Statement, the ESJC undertook several projects to formulate strategies to work towards anti-racist and decolonizing practices in the department. In particular, we focused on the graduate program by reevaluating our application, recruiting and admissions procedures, funding, and requirements. This work is ongoing but we have one exciting bit of news to share so far: we have initiated a new department fund for graduate students from backgrounds underrepresented in our fields. We are seeking matching funds to make this fellowship more robust—if you have any interest in supporting this fellowship, please get in touch.

While we are proud of the progress that we have made this year and grateful for the support of, in particular, our graduate and undergraduate students, we also recognize that the actions we have taken are only a beginning. We recommit ourselves, a year later, to resisting white supremacy and its manifestations, in our department, at UBC, and beyond.