Antiracism in the Writing Centre
BCWCA Statement of Commitment to Antiracism
The British Columbia chapter of the Canadian Writing Centres Association commits ourselves to working from an antiracist lens. The Association will support individual Writing and Learning Centres, and the people who work within them, as they take up the ongoing challenge to re-learn and re-imagine. We acknowledge that this work will be different across the centres that make up our Association because we, as individuals and institutions, have differing experiences of racism and of applying antiracist practices in our professions.
We have been called out of the complacency of the status quo by violence enacted against Black and Indigenous Peoples. We think of George Floyd, Chantel Moore, Breonna Taylor, Abdirahman Abdi, Anthony Aust, and Joyce Echaquan: people in Canada and the USA who have had their lives taken from them because racism continues to structure our societies. We know that there are many others -- some whose names we know and some whose names we don’t know -- who continue to suffer and die as a consequence of racism. We recognise that this violence does not happen in a vacuum: racist views, both overt and implicit, conscious and unconscious, are commonly expressed by Canadians, and our society continues to be built through structures that are racist in their foundations.
We acknowledge our own role in maintaining those structures. Language is a key site of power, and Writing and Learning Centres participate in defining how language is used, what language is acceptable, and who can access languages of power. We commit to ongoing antiracist education to allow us to recognize our positionality and power and to actively take up practices that support racial equity and justice. We further commit to the following specific actions:
- Creating opportunities to learn from our communities about their experiences of injustice, especially as these pertain to the intersections of race and academic expectations.
- Engaging with faculty on issues, such as assignment design, academic integrity policies, and writing assessments, where inequity frequently lurks in the guise of standards.
- Ensuring that antiracist and decolonizing practices are actively incorporated into tutor training to intervene in the often unconsciously racist language myths that can be perpetuated through tutoring.
- Actively recruiting IBPOC staff and tutors by enacting best practices for recruiting, hiring, and retention.
- Critically evaluating our resources in an ongoing way to ensure antiracist, decolonial, and Indigenized approaches and content.
In November 2021, we will provide an update to our wider community as to the successes and challenges we have experienced in taking up these initiatives.
Julia Lane, Writing Services Coordinator, Simon Fraser University
Jenna Goddard, Writing Centre Coordinator, Thompson Rivers University
Amanda Brobbel, Senior Manager of Writing and Language Learning Services, UBC-Okanagan
Holly Salmon, Learning Centre Coordinator and Instructor, Douglas College
Chrisa Hotchkiss, Academic Success Centre Coordinator, Camosun College
Nancy Johnson Squair, Learning Centre faculty and English instructor, Douglas College
Cecil Klassen, Learning Centre Faculty, Douglas College Learning Centre
Heather Fitzgerald, Writing Centre Coordinator, Emily Carr University of Art and Design
Nancy Ami, Centre for Academic Communication Manager, University of Victoria
John Hill, Writing Centre Coordinator, Vancouver Island University
Greg Holditch, Writing Centre Coordinator (Summer), Langara College
Caitlin Hartnett, Learning Commons Coordinator, North Island College
Emily Keery, Writing Centre Coordinator, Trinity Western University
Nyarai Tawengwa, Academic Support Services Assistant, Fairleigh Dickinson University-Vancouver
If you wish to be added as a signatory, please contact Julia Lane at firstname.lastname@example.org