In this CUS Broadcast issue, we would like to address the ongoing events of racism and inequality experienced by Black and Indigenous communities within Canada and at UBC. At the Commerce Undergraduate Society, we recognize that we have been a part of the system which has systemically oppressed and marginalized the UBC BIPOC community for large parts of our history. To take responsibility for our past inadequacies and to continue supporting all students’ personal, professional, and academic growth, we recognize that there must be actions of change.
At the Commerce Undergraduate Society, our vision is to create an inclusive and tight-knit community where every student feels respected and valued. Any form of racism and inequality has no place in CUS services, conferences, and affiliated clubs. Our school is built by its people and the strong community that has been established. We all have a role to play in this fight and we encourage all students to find ways to educate themselves and support their peers.
After listening to student suggestions, we are taking actions to address inequality and racism in the form of 3 pillars: Addressing the Issue, Community Impact, and Education for the Future.
Addressing the Issue
Amplifying the BLM Movement: We have already and will continue to strengthen our support and raise awareness for the Black Lives Matter Movement.
· We will be starting a new interview series with Black and Indigenous students at Sauder to hear their opinions and thoughts on how the CUS and the school can take further action to break down barriers for marginalized communities.
· We will be leveraging our marketing channels to share impactful educational resources and petitions to educate and amplify the voices of our students.
Land Acknowledgements and Indigenous Reconciliation: We are already and will continue to work closely with Sauder’s staff and faculty, as well as CUS services and clubs to improve our policies around Land Acknowledgements and reconciliation. Our intention is to educate and raise awareness about the continued oppression of the Indigenous people, instill purpose behind Land Acknowledgements, and find innovative solutions to reconcile our relationship with Indigenous communities.
· We encourage you to read CUS’s current Indigenous Reconciliation Policy (Section 13.04, Code of Procedures) to find out more about what we are doing as a Society and how we can improve for the future.
Commerce Student Award: We will be implementing a 5-year scholarship together with the Sauder School of Business and UBC to provide direct financial aid to students in the BIPOC community.
· The CUS will be putting forth $50,000 and another $50,000 will be drawn from the Sauder Endowment Fund for this project.
Opening Up the Conversation: The Board of Directors is planning to host virtual office hours throughout the summer and in the school year to open up this conversation to all of our students and listen to more opinions on matters like systemic racism. Our Board members will then bring student suggestions and concerns to our Board and Executive Meetings for us to further address and implement new changes.
· Suggestion Box: We hope to continue this conversation with you on this subject and would love to hear your voice, concerns, and ideas you hope to see at the CUS. We have a suggestion box available for anonymous comments for any questions or concerns you may have about the CUS.
Equity Portfolio: We are in the works of building a brand new portfolio at the CUS for 2021/22 to address equity issues. The vision for the Equity Portfolio will be to establish a culture of consent in reconciliation, relationship building, verbal communication, and respect for others. This portfolio will also represent the voices of students on all equity matters and host events and opportunities to further engage and educate students on challenges facing the BIPOC and LGBTQ2S+ communities.
Education for the Future
Training and Workshops: Together with the UBC Equity & Inclusion Office, we will host mandatory training sessions for all student leaders within the CUS regarding anti-Black and systemic racism, white supremacy, and the marginalization of Indigenous communities. We are also in the works of hosting workshops for our general student body starting in September for all students to learn more about these topics.
Education Reforms: We have recognized that topics such as systemic racism and marginalization of Indigenous communities are currently not included within our annual Sauder curriculum. Therefore, our Vice President of Academic Affairs will be working together with Sauder’s faculty and staff in the coming months to revise our curriculum for future years.
With these 3 pillars, this is just the beginning of our efforts in building an inclusive community for our students. We recognize that we are not professionals in social injustice and we thank you for your patience and understanding of our inadequacies. As always, we aim to continue improving as a student society and we would love to hear your opinions on this matter. Please reach out to us directly or fill out our anonymous suggestion box for us to better serve you.
In the next coming weeks and throughout the school year, the CUS will continue to speak with the Undergraduate Office, the Equity & Inclusion Office, and students to better understand the needs of our community and implement recommendations.
If you are in current need for support, please see the resources here:
𝗨𝗕𝗖 𝗪𝗲𝗹𝗹𝗻𝗲𝘀𝘀 𝗖𝗲𝗻𝘁𝗿𝗲: https://students.ubc.ca/health/wellness-centre
In addition, here are some recommended resources compiled by Sauder’s own HeWe to further your understanding. They put together an extremely comprehensive list full of fantastic resources. Thank you so much for reading through the CUS Broadcast. If you have any suggestions or recommendations for us, please do not hesitate to reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In case you missed our first broadcast, the CUS Broadcast was created for us to share important information with you during the COVID-19 pandemic. Through the broadcast, we hope to provide greater transparency for who we are as an Undergraduate Society and the inner workings of the CUS. For more information and to read other CUS Broadcast issues, please visit us at https://cus.ca/.