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U of C students hope petition sparks real change to race discussion on campus

Past and present University of Calgary are pushing the city school to make a public stand against racism.

In an open letter published on June 9, students thanked the U of C for the public statements condemning anti-racism. They said, however, they want to see an actionable plan to stop racism on campus.

“We thank the University for this show of support, and for condemning anti-Black racism and racism in all forms,” the document reads.

“We now urge you, in your capacity as executive leaders, to put into action this commitment by taking a public stand against racism via a comprehensive statement, clearly outlined actionable steps, and metrics by which to measure the progress of these steps.”

In a joint effort by the U of C Department of psychology’s Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion committee (EDI) and students. The open letter is comprised of more than 1,000 names from faculty staff to post-graduate students.

Students wanted more from the university

Jusnoor Aujla, a fifth-year U of C student and EDI undergraduate committee representative said the open letter was to hold the university accountable to their racism remarks.

“They brought up the topic but didn’t really condemn the actions or ideas like police brutality and existing systemic oppression within our institution,” Aujla said.

“We really just wanted to create a letter that kind of demanded the university to speak to these issues.”

Aujla said the purpose of the open letter was to see some real change for the U of C campus.

“We would like to see [U of C] committing to having meaningful systematic reform within the institution,” he said.

“For the university to create a more inclusive environment, and also setting up measures to how they will keep themselves accountable to attain these goals.”

U of C response

In a statement provided by UCalgary, they said more change will come with their new VP of EDI, Dr. Malinda Smith.

“We received the petition and look forward to engaging with students, faculty, and staff once we are back safely on campus. Our new Vice-Provost of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI), Dr. Malinda Smith, will begin in August,” the university said.

“Her key focus will include campus-community engagement in a number of initiatives, including anti-racism to help ensure that our campus is an even safer space.”