Anti-Racism and Anti-Hate Project Report

6 Insights and Recommendations

The environmental scan offers an electronic snapshot in time on what is available across the BC post-secondary landscape with respect to AR and AH capacity building. Several insights were gleaned through the process as well as recommendations on how to close the gaps in the availability of resources that support AR and AH work.

Meaningful Change

PSIs have been mandated by the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training to follow five principles of which lasting and meaningful reconciliation as well as equity and anti-racism have been highlighted as important areas for institutions to engage in. However, not all PSIs are at an equitable level of building capacity across their institution and community.

From the environmental scan, there is a range of readiness for AR and AH work: some institutions have established offices dedicated to anti-racism, equity, diversity and inclusion; others have mandated specific roles or created taskforces within the institution to build and implement an overarching strategy, while many institutions do not have the online presence of such. In juxtaposition, some institutions offered events, workshops and one-off conferences related to anti-racism, while other institutions showed no presence of these or any resources on their public-facing sites. Additionally, institutions pointed to external avenues for education, such as videos through LinkedIn Learning, training through the Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion (CCDI)[1], open educational resources, as well as password-protected access to an internal repository of resources that are only accessible to individuals affiliated with the institution.

Overall, institutions included in the environmental scan had public statements issued by senior leadership regarding commitments to ending systemic racism, violence and discrimination and a call to action and solidarity. Given the reliance of public-facing resources as part of the methodology in this scan, this begs the question: How are institutions creating a clear roadmap towards anti-racism and anti-hate?

The following recommendations address the above question:

Recommendation 1: Further Research

Developing an in-depth understanding of how AR and AH work is being approached across BC PSIs would provide a clearer picture. Further exploration with BC PSIs is needed to arrive at more comprehensive conclusions. This exploration should include consultations, surveys and the collection of qualitative and quantitative data from institutions, including roles or offices directly tasked with advancing AR, AH and EDI efforts as well as an exploration of steps taken to date to educate, train and provide ongoing support to faculty, staff, and students. Consultation could include units such as offices focused on EDI, human resources offices, as well as taskforces that have been struck by PSIs.

Recommendation 2: Evaluation of Impact

Resources, training, and tools for AR and AH have increased in the past few years. As individuals continue to engage in both leading this work and learning, an assessment of what is working, what is inhibiting change, and what is driving impact is needed; this sentiment was echoed by the project working group when reflecting on the principle that everyone plays a role in AR and AH work. Tied to the need for evaluation is the possibility to look beyond data and quantitative results and include decolonized assessments that incorporates duality and storytelling as well as progress that focuses on both successes and the lessons learned throughout each process. Additionally, as PSIs expand their practices related to the collection of race-based data to better serve populations from intersectional and equity lenses, how such practices are evaluated as well as the purpose of collecting the data are important to understand.

Recommendation 3: Establish a Clear Roadmap

The emergent framework revealed choices of engagement, disengagement or sustainment. In addition, the resource pages created by institutions were overwhelming as information was often categorized by topic (e.g. anti-racism, decolonization, etc.) or the format/type (e.g. books, videos, documentaries, etc.). An individual starting to understand AR and AH would likely be left puzzled with where to begin and potentially fall prey to moving quickly into action, when the possibility for harm exists.

AR and AH work takes time and continuous learning. A clear roadmap that takes on theoretical frameworks of transformational learning and a learner-centered approach needs to be established. If left to institutions to create this on their own, continued inequity in what is available in the form of training and capacity-building may continue to exist. This is important as members of the working group highlight how access to resources differs depending on the institutional size, geographical location with regard to the size and makeup of the population as well as proximity to urban or rural centers and of course, the historical and present level of willingness to move the dial on AR and AH at each institution. An established AR and AH training program specific to the post-secondary sector with appropriate levels of scaffolding can address this gap as each individual brings their own level of readiness and willingness to engage.

Two Sides of Similar Coins

AR language, tools and resources have increased, particularly in the last few years. However, AH has not experienced a similar trend. The findings in the environmental scan related to AH are limited in comparison to AR. In fact, when searching for anti-hate, this was often the response across many institutions’ webpages:

No results show up when "anti-hate" is searched

As a result, the following recommendations would address this gap:

Recommendation 4: Increase Training and Tools for Anti-Hate

As mentioned earlier, policies related to hate, discrimination, conduct, harassment, etc. were excluded in this scan. The intentionality for this exclusion was to shed light on how accessible these policies translated into actual resources and tools that were available for individuals to apply in their work at the institution. Findings from the scan found limited resources, tools and training for AH. As a result, policies related to hate, discrimination, conduct, harassment, etc. appear to be stand-alone entities that are seen to drive an inclusive and hate-free learning environment at PSIs. However, these policies are often lengthy, filled with legal jargon and not as widely accessed as they can be. Reliance on the policies rather than tangible resources and tools creates an opportunity to reduce this gap by increasing resources and tools that help individuals move from awareness of prejudice, bias, hate and violence to tangible action steps that create the inclusive and safe environments that PSIs champion.

Recommendation 5: Stronger Position on Anti-Hate

While sharing similar characteristics of the insidious nature and depth of oppression, AH and AR have their own nuanced and distinct differences. Academic freedom holds tremendous value in higher education; however, with the rise in hate speech and hate provoked incidents, more needs to be done to ensure that the policies hold firm and are not seen or experienced as watered-down approaches. This sentiment was echoed in consultations with the project working group, where important questions such as, “How are we able to capture the intersection between hate & racism/anti-hate & anti-racism considering the two are not mutually exclusive?” were offered by members.

PSIs have always been sites of critical inquiry, important dialogue of contested ideas and freedom of expression. However, as these intersect with a balance of harm (intentional or not), unsafe versus uncomfortable and intent versus impact, an approach to AH including a clear definition needs to be established with a strong position on what is acceptable and not as well as the mechanisms or tools to address, prevent and combat systemic hate, prejudice and bias.

Recommendation 6: Further Awareness and Impactful Tools for Specific Groups

Across the emergent framework, not all highlighted groups (as the scan intended) were reflected in what was available. For example, the scan uncovered several resources explaining anti-Semitism or Islamophobia; but there were limited tools on how individuals can address and combat these specifically. There is an assumption in the resources available; for example, active bystander training or inclusive language found in the scan, that this type of training is relevant and utilized to the same degree and comfort level if someone were to witness a racist or hate-focused incident that impacted an individual of Jewish descent or an individual who identifies as Muslim. There are nuances to how different populations experience hate or violence and in response to this, resources and tools specific to populations that are often targets of hate and racism is helpful. Similarly, the collection of data; for example, on hate crimes or targeted groups/ specific populations can help inform the tools that can support a stronger position towards anti-hate.

Context, lived experiences and perspectives matter; thus, specific approaches for populations like the ones highlighted in this report who are disproportionately impacted by racism or hate need to be defined, created and available at BC PSIs

  1. Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion: