April 30, 2021
TORONTO - The Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA) is proud to release the second policy paper approved by OUSA’s Spring 2021 General Assembly, Addressing Racism & Religious Discrimination. The paper was written, approved, and published by students with the purpose of providing recommendations to support racial and religious equity at post-secondary institutions in the province.
"Students deserve to pursue their education in an equitable, and inclusive environment where they are safe and supported," said Megan Town, OUSA Steering Committee Member and VP Education at the Waterloo Undergraduate Student Association. “Addressing the concerns raised by racialized and religious students with evidence-based policy, and a comprehensive, proactive approach is crucial to ensuring the accessibility of post-secondary education in Ontario"
The paper illustrates some of the concerns, harms, and barriers faced by racialized and religious students as they seek to access and thrive in their post-secondary education. It focuses on gaps in provincial legislation and institutional accountability that perpetuate a system where racialized and religious students feel unsafe and unwelcome. It shows how these systems influence the experiences of students accessing support services, on campus, and in their communities, and highlights issues of access, transition, safety and security, amongst others.
In response to these concerns, students offer recommendations that, if adopted, would form the basis of a comprehensive, student-driven, provincial response to enhancing racial and religious equity and supporting racialized and religious students to feel safe and welcome as they pursue their post-secondary education. Specifically, students are asking for legislative change, institutional accountability measures, funding for racial equity work and student support services, the collection of equity-based data, and a number of other important measures to begin to address and respond to the harm experienced by students on their campuses.
"We hope that the provincial government will adopt the recommendations in this paper and follow the leadership and guidance of racialized and religious students, faculty, staff, administrators, and community leaders to continue this work.” said Ryan Tse, Vice President Education for the McMaster Students’ Union and OUSA Steering Committee Member. "It is crucial that the provincial government listens to the voices, experiences, and ideas of these groups, to ensure their processes are inclusive of those who are most impacted."
This policy paper and its recommendations were developed by students at OUSA’s member schools. It was passed on March 21st, 2021 at OUSA’s Spring General Assembly, held virtually.
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About: OUSA represents the interests of 150,000 professional and undergraduate, full-time and part-time university students at eight student associations across Ontario. Our vision is for an accessible, affordable, accountable, and high quality post-secondary education in Ontario.
Communications and Operations Coordinator
Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance
416-341-9948 |[email protected]