AVP Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Anti-Racism issues statement on racial violence
A message from Dr. Christopher Taylor, Associate Vice-President, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Anti-Racism.
Dear Waterloo community,
I, like many of you, have been watching the news about recent incidents of violence in the United States motivated by hate. Personally, I’m tired of waking up every morning to pain, death, and suffering. Of people that look like me. That look like many of you.
The mass shooting during Lunar New Year celebrations in California and subsequent shooting in a small nearby agricultural community targeting newcomers is felt by not only those who lost loved ones, but by all of us.
And on Friday, the dehumanization of Black bodies was once again put on display when video footage of the murder of Tyre Nichols at the hands of Memphis police was released to the public.
These are the stories that are currently dominating our news feeds and they are tragic. We see them and we are hurt.
Also tragic are the stories that don’t grab the world’s attention. The stories of less sensational, but no less brutal acts of violence that are motivated by racism and hate. These happen in our communities almost every day. They happen in Canada almost every day – we are not immune.
It’s our responsibility to pay attention to big news stories and to the small news stories.
So today I remember the victims in the Lunar New Year and agricultural worker shootings. I remember Tyre Nichols. And I also remember these Canadians, just three examples from an endless list of victims of racialized violence here at home:
Safiullah Khosrawi, 15 – who was gunned down in 2020 outside his school, Woburn Collegiate.
Kartik Vasudev, 21 – who was shot on his way to work last summer.
Nyima Dolma, 28 – who was set on fire on public transportation also in the summer of 2022.
I also think today about the thousands of families grieving and being retraumatized by the seemingly unending stream of news about newly discovered graves at former Residential School grounds.
I think about the Jewish community being targeted with Swastikas scrawled on Synagogues so often that the incidents don’t always even make the local news. And I think about a woman wearing a Hijab walking down the street in broad daylight being attacked and having that Hijab violently torn from her body.
It’s not just this kind of explicit violence that racialized Canadians must contend with either. We know that racialized communities face many barriers. We live in a neo-liberal and settler colonial system that embeds systemic oppression within our institutions.
Waterloo is working to change this through initiatives like PART, but change can’t come fast enough. Some days this work feels heavy, for me and for my team. But we push on because we have to if we are going to make this university better.
I’m writing today to acknowledge this moment of explicit pain and trauma, to make sure that you know that there are supports for you at Waterloo if you are struggling right now, but I’m also writing so that you know that Waterloo sees you.
We do. I do.
Dr. Christopher Taylor
Associate Vice-President, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Anti-Racism
Support for Students
- Counselling Services - 519-888-4096 (#2 on prompt for Counselling Services)
- EmpowerMe, Student Assistance Program
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- Grand River Hospital - 519-749-4300
- St. Mary's Hospital - 519-744-3311
- Good2Talk - 1-866-925-5454
- Crisis Services Canada - 1-833-456-4566 or by texting 45645
- The Coping Centre
- Bereaved Families of Ontario-Midwestern Region
- Canadian Mental Health Association: Specific for support in grieving
Employee-based support for faculty and staff
WATonoBus gets green light to offer shuttle service on campus
The University of Waterloo’s all-weather, self-driving bus, the WATonoBus, has hit the road with official go-ahead from Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation.
Students, staff, faculty and visitors can enjoy the ride with a complimentary WATonobus shuttle service operating every Monday to Friday, from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
Travelling a 2.7-km route around campus, the WATonoBus makes four stops along the university's Ring Road – Davis Centre, South Campus Hall (Seagram Drive), Needles Hall and B.C. Matthews Hall (Columbia Street) – and can carry up to ten passengers.
Simply track the shuttle’s location and schedule on the WATonoBus mobile app, wait at a designated stop for it to pull up curbside and jump on board.
WATonoBus was developed at the Mechatronic Vehicle Systems (MVS) Lab and is part of the province's Automated Vehicle Pilot Program, which allows driverless cars as long as a safety operator is on board.
Equipped with multiple cameras, Lidars, radars, GPS and an in-house-developed software system, it senses traffic, pedestrians and cyclists to drive autonomously on the busy campus Ring Road safely.
Hop on the trolley to attend a book talk about streetcars and urban geography
Dr. Brian Doucet of the School of Planning is hosting a book talk entitled Streetcars and the Shifting Geographies of Toronto: a visual analysis of change on Tuesday, February 7.
"What can photos a city’s past reveal about contemporary urban challenges? This is the question explored by Brian and Michael Doucet in their book Streetcars and the Shifting Geographies of Toronto: a visual analysis of change. To answer this question, the Doucets select a quintessentially Toronto resource: photos taken by streetcar enthusiasts."
"These enthusiast-photographers did not intend to document processes such as deindustrialization, shifting demographics, gentrification and the rise of the post-industrial economy. They were primarily interested in the vehicles themselves. But for the Doucets, it’s everything around these vehicles that sheds important insights into how Toronto has changed and why through their depiction of ordinary, everyday spaces that otherwise would have gone unphotographed."
"In this book, Brian and Michael Doucet carefully and meticulously crisscross the city with these old images in hand, and carefully and meticulously rephotograph these old images. This technique is known as repeat photography and is a growing approach to understand how big forces of change manifest themselves in the built environment, streets and urban form. Critical visual analysis helps us understand that there is nothing natural, or inevitable about cities and how they change, and it helps to connect our own observations to wider shifts within our societies."
"Repeat photography does this by bringing old images into dialogue with contemporary planning, policy, political and public debates. These photo sets show the subtle and not-so-subtle economic, social, demographic and spatial changes that have taken place as Toronto has transitioned from an industrial and provincial city, to one of the world’s major global metropolises."
The book was published in 2022 with the University of Toronto Press, and was co-authored with Doucet's father, Michael, who is Professor Emeritus at Toronto Metropolitan University. The book was featured in the Toronto Star recently in an article written by Edward Keenan and the Doucets wrote about their work in urbanist magazine Spacing last year.
"Join us for this engaging and insightful discussion about how photography can be used to better understand cities and urban change," says the event copy.
The event takes place on Tuesday, February 7 from 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the United College GreenHouse (UTD 164). Refreshments will be provided. No registration is required. A limited number of copies will be available for purchase at a discounted price.
Brian Doucet is the Canada Research Chair in Urban Change and Social Inclusion in the School of Planning at the University of Waterloo. Michael Doucet is an Emeritus Professor in the Department of Geography at Toronto Metropolitan University.
Sustainability Action Fund open for applications until February 15
A message from the Sustainability Office.
Have a project idea to advance sustainability on campus?
The Sustainability Action Fund is now accepting applications for projects that will work towards the University’s Environmental Sustainability Strategy. Projects can include infrastructure improvements, campaigns, or activities to increase awareness of sustainability issues on campus, and programs to support sustainable behaviours.
Applicants can request between $2,000 and $30,000 in funding this term, and can be led by staff, students, or faculty members.
Some examples of past projects that have successfully received funding include:
- Reusable containers marketing;
- SDG youth training conference;
- Secure bike cage;
- Standardized waste receptacles;
- Arts/Environment gardens signage; and
- Biology Growth Chamber retrofit.
The deadline for applications is Wednesday, February 15. Full details and instructions are available on the Sustainability Action Fund webpage.