Presidents of King’s and Brescia release report on campus racial climate

London, Ontario – The Presidents of King’s University College and Brescia University College are jointly releasing a report on campus racial climate at the two institutions. The Presidents of King’s and Brescia jointly formed an Anti-Racism Working Group in 2020 with a mandate to provide a report that includes recommendations on where our institutions can create positive change. Through the recommendations contained in this report we can create healthier campus cultures that do not tolerate racism and discrimination.
 
The King’s/Brescia Anti-Racism Working Group conducted interviews of community members at both institutions. Through this qualitative research, their findings are that there is a lack of diversity on the campuses. Further, the majority of survey respondents perceived racism as an issue at King’s and Brescia. Around a fifth of the respondents were unsure if racism is an issue and roughly another fifth felt that it is not an issue, and that racial grievance has no basis.

Acts of covert racism such as jokes, slurs, micro aggressions, intellectual put-downs were more frequently witnessed or experienced than instances of overt racism such as physical assault or unwarranted interventions by campus police. Most participants in the survey say they encountered racial hostility occasionally rather than frequently, but the overwhelming majority of those who reported frequent occurrences of racism were racialized.

Those interviewed at both institutions support anti-racist actions such as awareness-raising about racism, curricular change to reflect the history and achievements of people of colour, decolonization of the curriculum and hiring for diversity. The report outlines that there is less racial diversity in higher levels of administration. While there is greater diversity among students, in the wake of successful internationalization, there is much less diversity among staff, professional officers, and faculty.

A significant percentage of the participants in the survey were unsure if channels existed to report racism.

The report outlines eight recommendations:

  1.  Acknowledge the prevalence of individual and institutional racism and create channels for reporting and discussing racism for both students and employees.
  2. Build a bold, durable, functional, and effective equity framework, with anti-racism as a core element.
  3. Fully involve senior administrators in anti-racism as a project.
  4. Build anti-racism into recruitment, hiring, retention, and promotion of faculty.
  5. Audit curricula and pedagogies; create inclusive curricula and use culturally-sustaining pedagogies.
  6. Decolonize the curriculum and launch an intentional and focused Indigenization program under the leadership of Indigenous scholars, Elders, and organizations.
  7. Educate and sensitize faculty, administrators, and staff in every unit that serves students and employees.
  8. Audit and modify budgets, documents, policies, and practices to reflect awareness of implicit bias and to remedy exclusions.

In response, the Presidents of King’s and Brescia have taken short-term steps to immediately improve campus culture. As well, longer-term plans are underway. In the meantime, the King’s/Brescia Anti-Racism Working Group will continue to work, reporting to the Presidents. The full report can be viewed on our website

The King’s/Brescia Anti-Racism Working Group is comprised of employees and students from both institutions. 

Quotes:
“We commit to challenging structures that anchor racism and discrimination, and to promoting an ethos of antiracism. At King’s, we are taking immediate action on more than 20 items across campus which we hope will lead us to become a place that is safer and more welcoming for all. These action items include updating our Discrimination and Harassment Policies and the Student of Code of Conduct; increased support to Indigenous students; providing channels for students to request redress for racism; and, overall, creating more opportunities for discussing race and racism openly, yet respectfully.” Dr. David Malloy, President, King’s University College.

“While Brescia has taken many steps to advance anti-racism initiatives and ensure equity and inclusion, our work is ongoing. We know that changes will not come overnight, but we are taking significant action to acknowledge our truths and build important, necessary steps towards systems change. Already, we have started to implement many of the recommendations, including faculty initiatives to decolonize our curriculum along with creating accessible reporting tools to disclose incidents of racism and discrimination. Our priority is to ensure Brescia is a safe, welcoming place for all community members, where racism or discrimination of any form is not tolerated.” Dr. Lauretta Frederking, President, Brescia University College

About King’s University College
King’s is a public Catholic University College which provides general and honors degree programs in the liberal arts, social sciences, management, and a master degree in social work. It is positioned in the top rank of institutions of higher learning in Canada for the high quality of its teaching faculty and student experience. Institutionally autonomous, King’s is academically affiliated with Western University, and King’s graduates receive a Western University degree. King’s is open to students of all faith backgrounds, with its community centered on the values of social justice, equality and the education of the whole person. Learn more about King’s University College at www.kings.uwo.ca.

About Brescia University College
Brescia University College, Canada’s women’s university college, is affiliated with Western University. Brescia students study a wide variety of subjects in the Schools of Behavioural & Social Sciences, Food & Nutritional Sciences, Humanities, and Leadership & Social Change in an empowering, compassionate, student-centred and invigorating environment. Degrees are granted by Western. As a Catholic University College, Brescia welcomes students from all backgrounds and values diversity. For more current and archived news, a listing of faculty experts, and photos please visit our Online Media Room, at brescia.uwo.ca/communications/media_relations.

For media interviews, contact: 
Jane Antoniak 
Director, Communications & Media Relations 
King’s University College 
266 Epworth Ave.
London, ON
jane.antoniak@kings.uwo.ca  
519-719-9366
@kingsatwestern 
www.kings.uwo.ca 

Rhea Johnson
Director, Communications, Marketing & External Relations
Brescia University College
1285 Western Road
London, ON
rhea.johnson@uwo.ca 
519-636-9408
@bresciauc
www.brescia.uwo.ca