Trauma in the Classroom for Indigenous Scholars: How Should We Respond? (book review)

This is the second in a series of book reviews written by FAUW’s Indigenization Working Group.

Book cover: Colonized Classrooms: Racism, Trauma and Resistance in Post-Secondary Education by Sheila Cote-MeekCote-Meek, Sheila. Colonized Classrooms: Racism, Trauma and Resistance in Post-Secondary Education. Fernwood, 2014. 175 pp.

—Shannon Dea, Department of Philosophy

Earlier this year, in the days and weeks following the devastating one-two punch of the acquittals of two White men on trial for the murders of Colton Boushie and Tina Fontaine, many post-secondary educators asked themselves how they should respond in the classroom. To discuss the topic, CBC Radio One turned to Sheila Cote-Meek, whose 2014 Colonized Classrooms addressed the matter square-on.

Sheila Cote-Meek is a professor of Indigenous Relations, and Associate Vice President of Academic & Indigenous Programs at Laurentian University. In Colonized Classrooms, she reports on and extrapolates from her doctoral dissertation, for which she interviewed fifteen Indigenous university students, faculty members and Elders. Cote-Meek uses Indigenous, post-colonial, feminist, and critical race scholarship ranging from Frantz Fanon and bell hooks to Gregory Cajete and Laara Fitznor to frame and expand upon what she learned in those interviews. Continue reading “Trauma in the Classroom for Indigenous Scholars: How Should We Respond? (book review)”

Responsible Investing Working Group Report Going to Board of Governors on June 5

The Responsible Investing Working Group (RIWG) released its report to the University community for the first time on Thursday, May 31, as part of the agenda package of the Board of Governors (BoG) meeting happening in only a few days (Tuesday, June 5). The agenda contains a motion to endorse and implement the report recommendations.

This working group was formed in response to the strong interest and advocacy of some UW community delegations. It was tasked with making recommendations on whether and how to incorporate environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors into decision making for the investment of the university’s endowments and your pension funds.

Our members are keenly interested in how their pensions are managed. In a March 28 blog post, we said we would “seek input from members and formulate a response” when the report was released.

As I hope you will understand, FAUW is unable to keep our commitment to you. Four working days is not enough time for the FAUW Board to read and understand the report and then gather feedback on it from our members. As such, we requested that this agenda item be for information only at the June 5 BoG meeting, thereby delaying the vote until the next meeting, in October. This request was denied.
Continue reading “Responsible Investing Working Group Report Going to Board of Governors on June 5”

Missed the Waterloo Debate on Post-Secondary Education? Watch it Here

On Wednesday, May 16, a coalition of student and employee groups at Laurier, Waterloo, and Conestoga hosted a debate on post-secondary education issues with provincial candidates in the Waterloo riding. We’d like to thank Kimberly Ellis-Hale from the Laurier faculty association in particular for her leadership in organizing this event.

The participating candidates were:

  • Green Party: Zdravko Gunjevic
  • Liberal Party: Dorothy McCabe
  • New Democratic Party (NDP): Catherine Fife
  • Progressive Conservative (PC) Party: Dan Weber

You can watch a recording of the debate on the Laurier Students’ Union Facebook page (even without a Facebook account).

Don’t have time to watch? Here are a few highlights of what each candidate said about their party’s stance on key PSE issues. Note that this is hardly an exhaustive summary of the conversation.
Continue reading “Missed the Waterloo Debate on Post-Secondary Education? Watch it Here”

Faculty Members Advocate for Divestment from Fossil Fuels

This is a guest post submitted by a member. For FAUW’s position on this issue, please see our recent blog post on the Responsible Investing Working Group.

—David DeVidi, Philosophy

The global movement to divest from fossil fuels has been growing on our campus since 2015, initially driven by undergraduate and graduate students. Faculty members are now organizing to support students in their call to the administration to withdraw our endowment and pension investments from fossil fuels and re-invest in a low carbon future. This post outlines the reasons for divestment and the progress toward it—globally and on our campus—and welcomes you to get involved.

Why divest?

Available data indicate that our university has invested at least $68 million in fossil fuels, in companies like BP, Total, Exxon/Imperial Oil, and Royal Dutch Shell that have been leading contributors to the climate crisis. There are pressing environmental and ethical reasons to withdraw our support from these companies. There are also reputational costs to consider: it is difficult to present Waterloo as an innovative, socially responsible university concerned with advancing environmental sustainability if our investments say otherwise.

The financial case for divestment is also very strong. A PhD student in our School of Environment, Enterprise and Development (SEED) program estimated that our university lost approximately $20 million over the 2011-15 period by investing in fossil fuels as opposed to having a low-carbon portfolio. These significant losses mirror the ongoing devaluation of fossil fuels as the global community decarbonizes to align with the 2015 United Nations’ Paris Agreement. Continue reading “Faculty Members Advocate for Divestment from Fossil Fuels”

Reading Indigenous Writes by Chelsea Vowel (book review)

This is the first in a series of book reviews written by FAUW’s Indigenization Working Group.indigenous_writes_web

Vowel, Chelsea. Indigenous Writes: A Guide to First Nations, Métis & Inuit Issues in Canada. Highwater Press, 2016, 240 pages.

—Katy Fulfer, Philosophy/Women’s Studies

I have good intentions when it comes to Indigenizing the university and decolonizing my teaching. I have resources available to help with the latter, but the former leaves me feeling overwhelmed. However, dwelling in a space of inaction is irresponsible. ‘Having good intentions’ won’t address structural injustice (and can perpetuate it).

Thankfully, educator and lawyer Chelsea Vowel wrote a primer for people like me who know that I ought to—and need to—know more than I do about Indigenous issues in Canada. I was attracted to this book because I’m a mega-fan of the Métis in Space podcast, in which Vowel and co-host Molly Swain provide a smart, sarcastic look at representations of indigeneity in science fiction film and television. Vowel brings the same sense of humour to Indigenous Writes: A Guide to First Nations, Métis & Inuit Issues in Canada. Continue reading “Reading Indigenous Writes by Chelsea Vowel (book review)”

A (Huge) Thank-you and an Update on our #multiculturalUW Campaign

Dear community,

We have been overwhelmed by the generosity of the hundreds of donors who are making clear that they support a #multiculturalUW. [If you don’t know what this is about, see the post “FAUW Supports a Multicultural UW. Will You Help?“]

We created the campaign quickly because we did not want to delay in telling Indigenous and racialized campus members that we have their backs. And, to be honest, we had no idea how quickly this campaign would grow and outstrip the modest goal we had set for it. We should have known that thousands of University of Waterloo students, staff, faculty and alumni, and friends across the country would share our positive message and help us to wildly exceed our fundraising goal.

We are proud to partner with Shatitsirótha’ (the Waterloo Indigenous Student Centre), and with the Collective Movement Award (on the recommendation of UW’s Black Association for Student Expression) for this campaign. But now, as the number continues to climb, we are cognizant of the concern that other campus diversity initiatives—and other racialized and new Canadian groups—in addition to these two could also benefit from the community’s generosity.

We have spoken with our Shatitsirótha’ and Collective Movement partners and they agree. So, in the coming days and weeks, we’ll be consulting with Waterloo’s two student governments and other campus partners for advice on where to direct the funds we have raised, and continue to raise, beyond our initial goal. We’ll take our time to make sure that the decision we make is fair. And then we’ll let you know what we’ve come up with. In the meantime, thank you again for proving that University of Waterloo supports its diverse, multicultural community!

Meet FAUW’s Equity Committee

On April 6, 2018, our members voted to change the name of the Status of Women and Equity Committee to “Equity Committee.”

The Equity Committee is concerned with equity issues, in line with the protected grounds of the Ontario’s Human Rights Code. The committee engages in educational and advocacy activities as appropriate and liaises with other related committees of the University, OCUFA, and CAUT.

The name change was prompted by a desire to better reflect all aspects of the committee’s focus, past and present. The new name also reflects current initiatives on campus to ensure diverse, inclusive, and representative equity-based action. Our mandate is to represent the interests of a range of equity-seeking groups and it’s important to us to more accurately reflect that diversity in our language.

The committee’s name will be followed by “formerly the Status of Women and Equity Committee” for the next several months to facilitate the transition. Please bear with us as we update our website and other documentation. Note that the stand-alone SWEC website will be archived soon and the Equity Committee section of the FAUW website is your best source of up-to-date information.

Learn more about the Equity Committee on the FAUW website.