We, the members of the Graduate Nurses’ Student Society (GNSS), would like to express our unfaltering solidarity with the Black community and all of those involved in the afront against anti-Black racism, white supremacy, and police brutality. We are saddened and outraged by the ongoing racist and violent acts towards the Black community taking place in our world today. Systemic racism permeates all facets of our institutions and our society and as such, we are unequivocally denouncing all forms of racism, prejudice, injustice, and inequity that occur within our faculty, our university, and our society. Take this statement as our commitment to be an ally to the Black community and honour the principles of equity and social justice that are central to the nursing profession.
We would like all graduate students to know that we will show up for you, we respect you, and we value you. We acknowledge anti-Black racism and its profound consequences that the Black community continues to shoulder, and their deep resilience and capacity to mobilize and address injustice. The GNSS commits to self-learning in addition to fighting to achieve equitable education for all. We extend this commitment to all students at the Faculty of Nursing, both undergraduate and graduate. Please know we will stand with and support you the best that we can. We will no longer tolerate any racism that affects any member of our community.
We acknowledge and appreciate Dean Linda Johnston’s Anti-Racism Statement; however, as part of our commitment we are requesting further accountability through tangible strategies to help combat systemic racism. As such, we are calling for accountability from the Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing, and the University of Toronto at large, and we hope to see prompt and thoughtful change. We are requesting the Faculty of Nursing to quickly implement the following actions to address systemic racism imbedded within our faculty:
- Form a curriculum review committee to evaluate all nursing curricula at all levels with the aim of addressing racism that is currently present.
- Form a committee to review the hiring of faculty and staff to ensure equitable and diverse representation within the Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing.
- Review admission procedures for all programs hosted by the faculty to ensure admission strategies that support the applications of Black and Indigenous students.
- Implement a formal process to address microaggressions and racism that students may experience within the faculty. We want this process to be such that students feel safe from any form of reprisal against them.
- Include more Black and Indigenous nursing leaders in faculty curricula and events.
- Increase support for PhD students who wish to explore systemic racism and anti-Black/anti-Indigenous violence through doctoral research.In addition to the above, we will do the following to address systemic racism within the Faculty of Nursing and the GNSS governance structure:
- Immediately appoint a Diversity & Equity Director for a term until the next GNSS general election.
- Amend the GNSS constitution to create the permanent position of a Diversity & Equity Director, who will be elected in GNSS general elections beginning in the fall of 2020.
- Include Black and Indigenous nursing leaders at our events (e.g., lunch and learns).
- Hold an annual Black History Month event.
- Work with students to support the U of T Anti-Racism and Cultural Diversity Office’s“Reflect. Restore. Action” web-series, where students will be invited to share their livedexperiences surrounding race.
- Obtain feedback from graduate students on how to adequately engage them on issuessurrounding race.
- Explore the creation of an annual award for Black and Indigenous students from GNSS’operating budget, or other means.We want the above actions to serve as a pledge of our ongoing commitment to dismantling the long-standing social structures that have resulted in systemic racism which negatively impact our students.Sincerely,Graduate Nurses’ Student Society