Listening sessions set for Anti-Racism Working Group

The campus community will have an opportunity to offer input into the university’s anti-racism efforts as part of a series of listening sessions scheduled for next month.

Led by the President’s Anti-Racism Working Group, four listening sessions are scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 5 from 3-5 p.m.; Tuesday, Feb. 11 from 1-3 p.m.; Tuesday, Feb. 11 4-6 p.m.; and Wednesday, Feb. 19 from 5-7 p.m. all in the atrium of the International & Graduate Affairs Building (IGAB).

Campus community members can register for one of these sessions by emailing with your name, preferred email address, relationship to Western (e.g., staff, faculty, undergraduate, graduate student or postdoc) as well as the date and session number you plan to attend.

“Our focus is to have a better understanding of racism on campus by listening to the stories, ideas and experiences of the entire campus community, from students, staff and faculty members,” said Jina Kum, President of the Society of Graduate Students (SOGS) and one of three co-leads of the group.

Professor Erica Lawson, Undergraduate Chair, Women’s Studies and Feminist Research, and Lisa Highgate, Behaviour Intervention and Conduct Case Management in Student Experience, also serve as co-leads.

Last fall, Western established the working group to better understand the issues and concerns of the 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,” according to Western President Alan Shepard.

These listening sessions are an open and important part of that effort, Kum continued.

“We want to hear from the whole Western community to understand racism as a whole. We are not focused on a specific group or aspect,” she said, emphasizing all voices are encouraged. “We want a full conversation.”

The working group plans to issue a summary report of its findings and a list of recommendations in early spring.

The working group is also seeking written input via email at or by mailing a hard copy to the Anti-Racism Working Group (c/o Office of the President), Suite 2107, Stevenson Hall.