Dear members of the NSCAD community,
NSCAD University supports all faculty, instructors, staff and students who wish to participate in this designated time of reflection, learning and action.
Universities are not removed from the important conversations and work of social action. We must play a key role in the vigilance and safeguarding of human rights. Public intellectuals and artists espouse a moral duty to advance the agenda on political, economic and social reform.
Members of Canada’s academic community have been invited to take part in a Scholar Strike to protest the anti-Black, anti-Indigenous and colonial police brutality taking place in communities around the world and to spotlight the hiring practices at universities which disadvantage Black, Indigenous and People of Colour members of our communities.
NSCAD University firmly upholds that equity, diversity, inclusion and decolonization are essential components of a modern, accessible, and vibrant post-secondary institution. As such, NSCAD University’s senior leadership supports all faculty, instructors, staff and students who wish to participate in the Scholar Strike scheduled for September 9 and 10, 2020.
While activities on these two days (and over the rest of the academic year) may take many forms, we encourage those who wish to take part to engage in constructive conversations with colleagues, students and classmates about the systemic racial injustice we are resisting together. Practical resources and activities to foster these conversations may be found in the Digital Teach-in schedule [https://scholarstrikecanada.ca/schedule/].
NSCAD has also committed to hosting conversations about systemic racial injustice and redress for the NSCAD community over the upcoming year as part of the commitments outlined in both President’s Advisory Committee on Anti-Racist Initiatives (PADCARI) and NSCAD’s Academic Plan: Opportunity and Belonging, 2020-25. The schedule of these conversations will be announced shortly.
I appreciate that September 9 and 10 are the first days of classes for the Fall term and that, as we are online, there may be particular challenges for faculty and students communicating clearly about the nature of their participation in this event and the goals of the days of action.
Accordingly, faculty and instructors are asked to clearly communicate any intended class changes to the Dean and to students with as much advance notice as possible. Instructors should specify how these changes will affect students and what alternate plans are being put into place. NSCAD will provide additional resources on Brightspace to monitor and address students’ questions and concerns.
Staff members who wish to participate in Scholar Strike activities are asked to make individual arrangements with their managers. Managers should be as accommodating as possible with their employees who are interested in participating in this action.
Participation in this action is voluntary, and the university supports our community members using this time as they see fit. It is our hope that, in upholding the integrity of this initiative, we are able to give our friends and colleagues the space they may need to support one another during these challenging times.
We understand how difficult these last few months have been for Black and Indigenous community members and loved ones, and remind everyone who may be experiencing heightened levels of race-based traumatic stress to take advantage of NSCAD’s mental health and wellness resources. Now is the time to take care of ourselves so that we can continue to educate, uplift and inspire one another. The hope is that we will be #StrongerTogether.
Ann-Barbara Graff, PhD
Vice-President, Academic & Research and Provost