Racism has no place at Brandon University

June 3, 2020

Brandon University stands for tolerance, for inclusion, and for diversity in all forms. There is never an excuse for racism or bigotry and we strongly condemn all instances of hate and discrimination.

These are global struggles, and we recognize the protestors who are showing us their commitment and honour in the streets, particularly in the United States but also in cities here in Canada. We stand with them, both for racial justice, and against police brutality.

These are also local struggles. Yesterday, we were made aware of social media posts showing heinous and hateful acts of racism attributed to a person identifying themselves as a BU student. These posts showed disgusting and demeaning behaviour. We utterly condemn these horrible posts and are investigating through our Diversity and Human Rights Office. We have also reported them to the police.

We must also acknowledge our own complicity. Brandon University is an institution founded on colonialism, which had racism at its core. Education can be a force to repair the damage that we have caused, and the unique qualities of a university campus can ensure that minds are broadened and changed through exposure to new ideas and diverse cultures. It is our responsibility to confront and overcome ignorance. While we have made strides in recent years, and in recent decades, too often our progress is in fits and starts. Here, we reaffirm once more that we stand for equity and justice.

We pledge the following actions:

  • We will recommit to implementing the Manitoba Indigenous Education Blueprint
  • We will accelerate our work through the BU Senate towards Indigenous Reconciliation
  • We will enhance the racial awareness and sensitivity training offered to all students, both as part of pre-Orientation and Orientation and year-round
  • We will continue to employ a harm-reduction approach for individuals involved in incidents of racial injustice
  • We will continue to have campus-wide discussions on how education can help produce a more just society 

Racism can be insidious. Those of Asian descent have faced racism over origins of the coronavirus, for example. Racism can also be overt, as in this case, which directly targets Black people. And racism can be systemic, like that faced in Canada by Indigenous people. Unfortunately, many people experience all these forms of racism. We condemn racism in all its forms, along with discrimination and intolerance of all types.

  • These distasteful beliefs are to be found everywhere, and the Brandon University campus is no exception. However, there are ways for the BU community to come together in response:
  • Reaffirm your own support for diversity and inclusion. Be proud to be one of the people who keeps our campus so welcoming and safe.
  • Go out of your way to make positive connections with people and groups who are dissimilar from you.
  • Call out intolerance when you are able. If you can, use your privilege to advocate for and ally with others.

Brandon University staff, faculty and students come from many backgrounds, from around the world. That diversity strengthens our community, and provides us all with enormous benefits. We are committed to providing an environment that welcomes all, where everyone can feel safe, supported and respected for who they are as individuals with dignity and as full members of humanity.

The hurtful or hateful actions of a small number of individuals can have an outsize effect on marginalized groups and we know that disturbing expressions can have emotional impacts that require care and attention. We remind our entire BU community that we have services here to support you.

Students:

Faculty & Staff:

All:

  • Our Diversity and Human Rights Advisor, Cheryl Fleming, is available as a resource at 204-727-9785 or flemingc@brandonu.ca
  • Inappropriate postings on campus should be reported to Physical Plant at 204-727-9620
  • Inappropriate postings or comments on BU social media accounts should be reported to BU Communications at Communications@BrandonU.ca
  • In an unsafe situation, call our 24-hour security line at 204-727-9700, use an Emergency Blue Light Phone, or call 911.
  • Please download our BSAFE safety app from the BrandonU.ca/Safety webpage