Racism Here and Abroad, and Change

Like many of you, I have been watching with dismay the deaths, protests and riots in the United States resulting from longstanding social and systemic racism.


While watching international events, it is important to acknowledge that racism exists in Canada and in our own community. Whether it’s anti-Black, anti-person of colour, or anti-Indigenous, we can’t ignore it.


We have also heard from alumni on these issues. While statements and social media posts are never sufficient, neither is silence. Our values, including social justice, are especially important during difficult times, and we are called upon to examine what holding those values means.


These events highlight the prevalence of racism in society. We recognize these issues weigh heavily on our faculty, staff and students—particularly on those from the Black community as the current situation is focused on anti-Black racism. We must also acknowledge challenges faced by our Indigenous students and Indigenous people. These racial issues are not new nor is our campus immune.


Universities must be part of the solution and STU has a role to play in finding a positive way forward through education, research, engagement and ability to organize. The work that needs to be done—in our world and on our campus—is real and substantial. I hope that our students know that we will continue to pursue steps to combat racism and discrimination , including our commitment to continually review policies and practices that protect our community members and to create more space to amplify the voices of those of colour.


As we continue to find ways to do this, dialogue and feedback are essential. It takes courage to speak out and to use your voice. One example is the Black Lives Matter Peaceful March in Fredericton today being organized by a passionate and hard-working group that includes members of the STU alumni. We will always work with our faculty, staff, Students’ Union, organizations, clubs and societies to engage in conversations about race and racism and find specific ways to improve.


I know that many of you are being affected by what is happening. You are not alone and there are supports available. No matter where you are this summer, our counsellors Wendy and Kelly can connect with you—please email counselling@stu.ca.


Thank you, and please reach out to me if you have further thoughts and ideas.  


Dawn Russell

President and Vice-Chancellor