For me, September is really the start to the year – even now I can smell the scent of new leather shoes, pencil shavings and the heady aroma of the ditto machine! With it comes the anticipation and excitement of a new school year.
Summer always seem to go by so quickly, but this summer was marked by some significant actions that will continue to have an impact on all of us as we move into the new year. Events in Charlottesville and in Quebec have revealed a deep layer of hatred and racism that we condemn. What we saw and read, and the reaction from some in leadership, contradicts the values that our university community upholds – values of equity, respect, inclusion, and belonging.
In your interactions with the students who will be arriving over the next two weeks, please take some time to specifically reach out to those who were targeted by these events – our international students, our students of colour, our Jewish students, our Muslim students, and those students who identify as a member of a sexual or gender minority. Assure them that we are an institution that holds strongly to its commitment of respect to all community members; that here, they will find a welcome and enriching home.
Good luck for the start of term!
Sara-Jane Finlay, Ph.D.
Associate Vice President, Equity & Inclusion
University of British Columbia