UBC Civil Engineering standing up against racism

Wednesday, June 10, 2020 | By Bernard Laval
UBC Civil Engineering standing up against racism

The Department of Civil Engineering stands in solidarity with the global Black community and supports the calls for justice for George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Regis Korchinski-Paquet, Tony McDade, Trayvon Martin and other Black individuals who have experienced historic, systemic, and ongoing violence and brutality at the hands of police and others.

These recent events in the United States and Canada remind us that we haven’t done enough to address the historic, systemic and ongoing racism faced by racialized groups. In saying this, the Department of Civil Engineering joins UBC President Santa Ono and the Faculty of Applied Science in developing meaningful ways to address entrenched and institutionalized racism with the hope of creating positive change. The Department further supports the Applied Science community and our colleagues around the world participating in #Strike4BlackLives, #ShutDownSTEM, and #ShutDownAcademia on June 10, 2020.

Civil Engineering is a profession dedicated to ensuring the safety of communities. Sadly, the voices and experiences of Black, Indigenous and other racialized scholars, students and citizens have historically been marginalized within these very communities on account of our design practices and technology development, and in many other ways.

As part of our commitment to addressing systemic racism in our curriculum, teaching, research, and operations, the Department of Civil Engineering pledges to do the following:

  • Form an Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee within the Department of Civil Engineering to review and amend racial biases in curriculum, teaching, mentoring, and research;
  • Hold space to actively listen to and understand the experiences of racialized students, staff and faculty in addition to providing funding to develop initiatives that facilitate dialogue concerning racialized issues;
  • Along with the Faculty of Applied Science’s EDI efforts, continue to provide workshops, learning opportunities, and resources on anti-racism and the marginalization of Indigenous peoples; and
  • Submit and publish a Report on the above and other commitments to the Dean of Applied Science in December 2020, and annually thereafter.

As a Department dedicated to instilling ethics into everything we do, we recognize Civil Engineering still has a long way to go in terms of being truly inclusive and equitable. We recognize that this is just the beginning and we welcome your feedback to help guide our efforts.

Sincerely,
Bernard Laval
Department Head

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