Working group on racism to begin its work

A working group exploring race relations across campus will begin its work in December with the aim of issuing a report on its findings in early March, Western officials announced.

This week, President Alan Shepard sent letters to numerous campus organizations asking them to nominate members to join the group. In addition to those representatives, other members with appropriate expertise will be added to the group.

Shepard is establishing the working group to better understand the issues and concerns the university faces as a campus community and inform a strategy “to move forward in our classrooms, in our research facilities, in our residences, on our sports fields, indeed, within all aspect of our university fabric.”

Reporting directly to the president, the working group will focus on the experiences of Western community members, particularly from racialized groups, with an aim to provide educational programs and enact systemic change against racism and oppression.

As part of its review, the working group will host “listening sessions” to give the broader campus community an opportunity to share their views and experiences and make recommendations for action.

“There is nothing more important to me as president than providing a safe and respectful environment for all members of the campus community to learn and work,” Shepard said.