Western letter on student targeted by racist emails

The following letter was issued to the campus community Wednesday from Jennifer Massey, Associate Vice-President (Student Experience).

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Dear Western Community,

Western is aware that a student was targeted yesterday with hurtful messages after speaking out on issues of racism on campus.

The student’s email address was shared in a non-Western online forum which has led to several hateful and racist emails being sent from anonymous accounts. This happened in the early hours of the morning and I reached out to the student immediately. We have taken steps to ensure that this student is supported and safe.

Fostering a positive campus climate for all students is a top priority for Western. This means ensuring the physical, emotional, and cultural safety of all. Racism in any form is not acceptable and we are already having conversations about actions that can be taken to address it and how we move forward.

It is important to acknowledge the racial dimensions to this backlash. Racism is not just about individual behaviour – there is very real systemic racism embedded in the fabric of our society that affects thoughts, choices and actions. We have to acknowledge this truth before we can address racism on our campus in meaningful ways.

Western strongly condemns all forms of hate and racism. Student Experience has opened a dialogue beginning with a number of ethno-cultural student organizations in addition to the USC and SOGS to discuss how best to address these issues on campus. We are working to provide opportunities where all parts of the campus community can come together to talk about how we move forward and you can expect to receive more information about the actions we will take, and opportunities to participate in dialogue.

We want our campus to be an environment where everyone feels safe and respected, and able to speak up without fear of reprisal.

Together, we will co-create the change that is needed.

Any students who have concerns or a need for support are encouraged to reach out to Student Support & Case Management (Student Experience) at SSCM@uwo.ca or any of the resources below.

Jennifer Massey
Associate Vice-President (Student Experience)

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Western has several services in place for any students who have concerns or are in need of support:

Student Support and Case Management. Comprehensive care and coordination of university-wide resources for support. sscm@uwo.ca.  8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday.

Health and Wellness (formerly Psychological Services). Walk-in crisis counselling and bookable mental health counselling appointments. (519) 661-3030. 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Friday in University Community Centre (UCC) 11.

USC Peer Support Centre. Drop-in non-judgmental, confidential, peer-to-peer support. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday in UCC 256. A support group for black students led by a black facilitator will take place 4-6 p.m. Nov. 1.

Graduate Peer Support. Drop-in non-judgment, confidential peer-to-peer support. 5-7 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday in Western Interdisciplinary Research Building (WIRB) 1110.

Equity and Human Rights Services. Information and advice on Western’s discrimination and harassment policies. (519) 661-3334. equity@uwo.ca. 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday.

Western Foot Patrol. Free walk-home service for students on campus. (519) 661-3650. 6 p.m.-1 a.m. Sunday-Thursday and 6 p.m.-midnight Friday and Saturday. Foot Patrol will be closed for Reading Week, Nov. 1-10.

Western Campus Police. All campus emergencies and liaison with London Police Services. 911 / (519) 661-3300. Staffed 24/7.

Good2Talk. Free confidential mental health helpline. (866) 925-5454. good2talk.ca. Staffed 24/7.