The last week has confronted us with striking headlines of violence against Black communities, a powerful reminder that we must stand alongside them in Canada, the US, and elsewhere in pursuit of justice, addressing systemic racism and redressing inequities wherever we might encounter them. Laurentian University recognizes the immense pain and the grief that Black communities experience and feel when faced with injustice. I write to you today to reaffirm my solidarity with and commitment to the Black community.
As we consider how we will act upon instances of racism and inequities today, it is critical to recognize our unconscious biases, take action, and amplify the voices of Black, Indigenous and People of Colour. We must continue to identify these issues and work together to prevent and address them through actions from the grassroots to the university’s executive level.
We must speak up, and we must speak out. We all have a responsibility to support the resilience and advocacy of equity-seeking groups. Embracing our values which give power to diversity, equity, and inclusion, we will move forward together - ensemble - maamwi.
These values are explicitly highlighted in our Strategic Plan and I am committed to continuing the conversation with students, staff, faculty, and alumni to ensure that appropriate resources are in place to promote and foster inclusion, acceptance and respect for the diversity that exists within our campus community. I will also be reaching out to student leaders from equity-seeking groups to assure them of my continued solidarity and support for their very meaningful initiatives and building an inclusive and equitable community of which we can all be proud. I also encourage members of our community who have been affected by these events to reach out directly to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have been personally affected by the events of the last week, we encourage you to access the resources and supports that are available to all members of our community:
- Counselling services on campus are available to all students by contacting (705)-675-1151 ext., 6506 or emailing Counselling@laurentian.ca. All resources are available at https://laurentian.ca/counselling.
- Counselling is also available through the Indigenous Sharing and Learning Centre by contacting email@example.com.
- We encourage Laurentian University’s international students to access the keep.me.SAFE program by downloading the app (My SSP or by calling 1-844-451-9137).
- Laurentian University faculty and staff can access confidential support services through our Employee and Family Assistance Program (the contact information is available on LUnet).
The Laurentian University community is made up of leaders in every corner of our student body, our staff, and our faculty members: this is our strength and the foundation on which our community is built. Our broader communities need us to take action, to be leaders, and to do more than we have done before. I have learned that this community, our community, is absolutely capable of affecting that change.