Queen’s community participates in Scholar Strike

Two-day event supports movements against anti-Black racism and police violence

Twenty Queen’s community members signed their name in official support of the event’s demands.

Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic) Mark Green released a statement on Sept. 4 supporting members of the Queen’s community who chose to participate in the Scholar Strike initiative.

The Scholar Strike is a labour action which took place from Sept. 9-10 across Canada and the United States and allowed individuals in higher education to pause all academic and administrative duties in a call for racial justice.

“Academics [ … ] have organized actions in support of movements against anti-Black racism and police violence against Black, Indigenous, and racialized communities,” Green wrote in the statement.  “I know that some members of the Queen’s community will want to take part in Scholars Strike Canada in various ways. The university supports these efforts and will be flexible where possible for employees who need to adjust their scheduled duties.”

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Green wrote that participating faculty members were expected to promptly inform their students, department heads, and dean’s office of any cancelations of synchronous classes. Students weren’t to be disadvantaged should they chose to participate in the Scholar Strike.

Participating staff members were expected to “request lieu time, vacation time, or flex their time” and managers were asked to accommodate where possible.

According to the Scholar Strike Canada website, 15 faculty members, one staff member, and four students at Queen’s had signed their names in support of Scholar Strike Canada’s official statement and list of demands.

Alana Butler, assistant professor at the Faculty of Education, participated in both days of the initiative and led the making ofa  Scholar Strike guidethat was distributed to the deans of all faculties.

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“My idea was to create a resource guide for educators at all levels to address issues of oppression and racism,” Butler said in an interview with The Journal. “Something positive, something with lasting impact that people could use beyond the [Scholar Strike].”

She thanked Rebecca Carnevale, director of operations, advancement, and communications, and Rebecca Luce-Kapler, dean of the Faculty of Education, as well as other colleagues for their support and contributions to the guide.

With support from faculty administration, Butler opted to sustain her synchronous classes and replace the regular curriculum with “a productive discussion around equity, diversity, and inclusion.”

“I think the faculty of education has a critical role to play in dismantling racism,” Butler said. “Racism and discrimination are perpetuated because of ignorance and lack of education, so it’s important for us to take the lead.”

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