Dear members of the UBC community.
I would like to begin by acknowledging that I am speaking to you from the traditional, ancestral and unceded territory of the Musqueam people.
My thoughts are with everyone affected by this week’s devastating storms, flooding and mudslides. It’s at times like this that we see the best in people, and I would like to thank the many people — including members of the UBC community — who have stepped up to help others at this time, offering comfort, shelter, food and water, or transportation.
UBC is committed to supporting any members of our community who have been affected.
Emergency funding is in place to assist students affected by floods and highway closures. Any UBC Okanagan students in need of urgent financial support can visit students.ok.ubc.ca/emergency-funding for more information. Students at UBC Vancouver who have been affected should contact their Enrolment Services Advisor if they have emergency needs. Details are available at students.ubc.ca.
Yesterday, November 18, I joined with more than 40 university and college leaders from across Canada for a virtual signing ceremony for the Scarborough Charter on Anti-Black Racism and Black Inclusion in Canadian Higher Education: Principles, Actions, and Accountabilities.
The charter is the result of a year-long collaborative process that started during the first National Dialogues and Action for Inclusive Higher Education and Communities, in October of last year.
We signed the Charter because its four principles of Black flourishing, inclusive excellence, mutuality and accountability are in alignment with UBC’s own inclusion action plan and anti-racism task force. Signing the Charter is just one of the initiatives that UBC has been taking to address systemic racism within our community.
Other initiatives include launching an Anti-Racism Initiatives Fund on both campuses, providing $200,000 for cultural programming; launching the Beyond Tomorrow Scholars Program to support recruitment and scholarships for Black Canadian students; hosting Canada’s first National Forum on Anti-Asian Racism; launching UBC’s Inclusion Action Plan and establishing a task force on Anti-Racism and Inclusive Excellence.
Since beginning its work in April 2021, the task force has made more than 50 recommendations, which are currently under review by the relevant stakeholder groups.
I look forward to providing further updates as this important work progresses. Please visit antiracism.ubc.ca for more information about our commitments and actions.
This week, my unsung hero is Ian Cavers. Ian has spent his entire professional lifetime here at UBC, as a faculty member in the Department of Computer Science. Ian played a crucial role in keeping the department functioning when COVID-19 hit, working through such issues as grading policy, technology issues, admissions planning, and setting up a student support program.
He also fielded countless requests for assistance from students and from colleagues, despite an already daunting amount of work, which he did calmly and cheerfully, often working 18-hour days. Ian is truly an inspiration.
Best wishes and stay safe.
Santa J. Ono
President and Vice-Chancellor