Meet Mount Allison’s Anti-Racism Education and Response Team | Mount Allison


Feature

Meet Mount Allison’s Anti-Racism Education and Response Team

21 Mar 2019

Anti-Racism_mainIn 2017, a new pan-university Racism and Racial Harassment Prevention and Response Policy was established at Mount Allison to replace the original 2003 student-specific policy. Among a number of new provisions, the policy called for the creation of an Anti-Racism Education & Response Team. For the past two years, the six-member team has been working on their dual-mandate of building anti-racism education on campus, as well as responding to racism inquiries, disclosures, and complaints.

“In coming up with the name of the Anti-Racism Education & Response Team, it was definitely a very deliberate move putting education first,” says Adam Christie, team member and director of student life and international affairs. “Absolutely we take the response part of our mandate very seriously, but we also believe that education comes first. By trying to tackle the root causes of racism, hopefully we’re able to build up more awareness and contribute to there being fewer incidents of racism on campus.”

The team includes Christie, as well as students Nikky Kundliwal (diversity & inclusion intern) and Aminah Simmons, Maritza Farina (Modern Languages & Literatures), Patty Musgrave (Indigenous affairs co-ordinator), and Christa Mason (international student advisor).

Over the past two years, one of the team’s biggest accomplishments has been championing the renewed policy.

“The policy is now a clear guide on what to do if you have encountered racism directly or as a bystander,” says Farina. “We are also just putting it on the table so people are talking about it and becoming more aware. Just the fact that we have a group working in this area is the first step to education.”

This year, an anti-racism judicial panel was also established to adjudicate in the event of formal complaints against students.

Moving forward Kundliwal hopes there is an increase of people accessing the knowledge of the policy and actually feeling comfortable coming forward and reporting.

“This would be an accomplishment for us,” she says. “Because before people didn’t have a means to come forward.”

Christie agrees. He hopes that more people develop awareness around the policy and actively participate in its ongoing review.

“We want this policy to become even better over time and more integrated and entrenched in university life,” he says.

Farina says, for her, the education piece is crucial.

“When you have suffered from or seen racism, it hurts,” she says. “Much of the time, especially with students, racism is committed because of ignorance. As an educational institution, our first goal is to educate. We owe this to our students and everybody in this community.”

With every response, the team ensures education is prioritized, along with disciplinary action.

“There is no point in just having discipline,” says Kundliwal. “Our focus has been embedding education into each response. It is our responsibility as a community to be better.”

The bottom line, Christie says, is inclusion.

“We want everyone to feel safe, valued, and welcome,” he says. “Fundamentally, I want to believe that this is who we are and strive to be as a community. If we fall short, the policy is there to reinforce this.”

If you would like to contact the Anti-Racism Education & Response Team, you can e-mail the entire team at antiracism@mta.ca. You can also consult one-on-one with any member of the team.

 

Next Steps

Be part of one of Canada's best undergraduate universities