Statement after acts of racism in the US and Canada

May 31, 2020

Dear Western students,

I know many of you are horrified at the number of racist incidents that have repeatedly unfolded in the news over the past week. To our Black students, I know you are in pain and I continue to be committed to doing something about it. I feel a deep sadness and anger as I have observed harmful and violent acts repeated in the news.

As I have said previously, there is very real systemic racism embedded in the fabric of our society that affects thoughts, choices, and actions – which we have seen on vivid display this week. These are not isolated incidents, and this is why it is important to acknowledge that Black lives matter. Incidents of violence against Black, Indigenous, and racialized peoples are pervasive. We have to remember that Canada is not immune to these acts. 

It’s not enough to be horrified, to reshare posts, or to send your thoughts. It is time for each of us to actively engage in anti-racist work. Whether that means educating yourself about microaggressions, or by using your privilege to actively disrupt harmful norms that you see play out around you.

Fostering a positive campus climate for all students remains a top priority for Western. We have recently hired a coordinator of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Education, and will be rolling out new anti-racist educational programs and resources in the coming months.

This is already a challenging time and these events have made it immeasurably worse. If you need support, or just someone to talk to, we are here for you. Visit the Digital Student Experience site to learn about our well-being supports. In addition, the University Students' Council Ethnocultural Support Services, Black Students' Association, the SOGS Racial Equity & Inclusivity Commissioner & Society of Graduate Students (SOGS) Peer Support provide student-led supports available to you. 

If you would like to talk to me, I would welcome it. You can email me directly at avpse@uwo.ca.

With care and commitment,

Jennie Massey
Associate Vice-President, Student Experience
Western University