Lasting change requires our work to be guided by the perspective, courage, knowledge, experience and expertise of BIPOC individuals, voices that have historically been marginalized here at Waterloo and beyond.
Throughout October and November we have held additional discussions with members of our Community Collaborative, for continued consultation on the initiation and structure of PART.
With their guidance and input we have finalized the thematic areas that were shared with the entire campus community for feedback in October. Additionally, actions to be considered under each thematic area were developed. These areas have become the foundation for the President’s Anti-Racism Taskforce, as well as its working groups and implementation teams. Members of the Community Collaborative, and other administrators across campus with specific areas of responsibility and expertise, have agreed to serve on the five working groups and four implementation teams. The chairs of the working groups will serve as members of the Taskforce.
Feedback received throughout consultations over the summer and through the fall, have been shared widely with working group members, and have formed an initial set of deliverables for consideration by each group.
Although our work and engagement are ongoing, the insights reflected below provides an unexhaustive snapshot of concerns and experiences gathered through our discussions with members of UWaterloo’s BIPOC communities.
Read about what we’ve heard so far
Engaged members of our BIPOC communities we’ve spoken with so far, have courageously and generously shared their experience and identified some areas for change. There are six thematic areas to be considered by PART, that are emerging from discussions with our Community Collaborative members, including:
- Campus representation (faculty, staff, students)
- Educational environment & the development of learners
- Health and mental health strategy
- Professional & academic development & mentorship
- Race, culture & ethnicity awareness
- Race-Based Data Strategies
We encourage continued feedback on the proposed thematic areas above, and on our entire anti-racism effort from everyone on campus.
Included below, is an unexhaustive snapshot of the discussions and insights shared through our consultation in August.
Lack of representation limits learning environment and pathways to success
- Career and academic success: Lack of representation in leadership for staff, faculty and students generates conflicting information on how to succeed in careers and in scholarship.
- Sense of exclusion: Being the only one, or the token person of colour, may not create explicit exclusion, but it does not help inclusion and belonging.
- Learning & pedagogy: A diverse teaching environment, BIPOC scholarship, and specific academic programs centering BIPOC voices are needed to reflect the student population.
Microaggressions & minimization create an emotional tax
- Silence: Lack of acknowledgement within offices and departments creates a feeling among students and staff that they are alone.
- Code-switching: BIPOC staff use code-switching as an unspoken tactic to manufacture inclusion and belonging. Personal vs. professional personas are developed, modifying behaviours, so others feel comfortable.
- Mental health: These and other sources of emotional labour impose additional stress on mental health, yet mental wellness supports are lacking.
BIPOC employees speak of a career-limiting brick ceiling
- Proving one’s worth: Engaged staff discussed a need to constantly prove and provide evidence for their worth and credentials, instead of being considered for their experience, expertise and potential.
- Barriers to advancement: BIPOC staff and faculty spoke of barriers to their advancement, and career progression does not happen as quickly as their peers.
- Need for sponsorship: Cultural change and increased sponsorship are needed to prevent and remove barriers to BIPOC faculty representation.
- Equitable opportunities: Equitable training, professional development and other opportunities for advancement were suggested to support BIPOC staff.
Leadership is needed to foster allies and create cultural change at Waterloo
- BIPOC are multidimensional: There is a lack of understanding about the diversity in culture and identities within BIPOC communities that needs to be addressed.
- Tools for allies: Ally and leadership tools are needed that encourage dialogue about and support the recognition and resolution of race-based incidents, specifically anti-Black and anti-Indigenous racism.
- Inclusive environment: We heard that concrete actions are needed to create more inclusive lab and office environments. Additional training is also needed to develop a new and more inclusive language on campus.
How we hope to foster continued collaboration
As the work of the Taskforce, its working groups and implementation teams progresses, we are committed to sharing updates on recommendations and actions, and will continue to facilitate conversation and collaboration amongst not only members of BIPOC communities who are guiding us in this work, but the broader campus community as well.
Last Updated: December 11, 2020