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President Randhawa sends email linking timeline to address concerns of marginalized students

Photo courtesy of University Communications

By Evan Upchurch

Discussion of Western’s ethnic studies curriculum and academic structure, as well as the addition of online resources for undocumented students, are on the docket for Western this winter as marginalized students push for changes on campus.

These projects were listed in a timeline posted on Western’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion page, which was shared in an email to the Western community by President Sabah Randhawa on Friday, Feb. 8. The timeline also included other projects the university has completed and will be completing in the future to address urgent student needs.

The content shared was part of the university’s response to concerns student groups on campus have expressed about equity and student safety, according to a statement by President Randhawa.

The email came after a student sit-in held on Dec. 3 in which students spoke with President Randhawa about racism, homophobia, safety and other issues on campus following racial and homophobic epithets and threats of sexual violence that appeared on campus in November 2018.

Western has since revised its discrimination complaint procedure, opened a meditation lounge in Wilson Library and hired the first executive director of American Indian/Alaska Native and First Nations Relations and Tribal Liaison to the President, according to the timeline.

The timeline stated that the university is working on safety communications protocols, expanding the number of gender-neutral bathrooms on campus and developing an institution-wide bias education and response program. The email also linked a blog post and a statement from President Randhawa addressing the timeline.

“One of our top priorities for winter 2019 is to understand and address the concerns and needs of students from marginalized identities,” President Randhawa said in his statement.

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