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Message to Senate Members: 2nd Press Conference on Racial Discrimination

April 28, 2011

Date: April 28, 2011
Subject: 2nd Press Conference on Racial Discrimination

Dear Members of Senate,

This Friday, April 29, at 11:00 a.m., a second press conference will be held in the Tabaret Hall Rotunda on the issue of racism in the Faculty of Medicine.  This time the complainants are students in the Faculty’s School of Nursing.  Please see the attached press release, by the Centre for Equity and Human Rights of the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa for more information.

Friday’s announcements follow the March 9 press conference and national media coverage of the discrimination case of the three medical residents Drs. Aba-Alkhail, Al-Saigh, and Al-Ghaithy.  Following the March 9 conference, I submitted a motion for the Senate to reaffirm its commitment to anti-discrimination at the April 4 meeting.  The three medical residents were present at the April 4 meeting, and their spokesperson was prepared to address the Senate with the group’s concerns.  Unfortunately, that motion was not seconded, and the Senate lost quorum before all the accompanying information could be distributed and before the invitation to the guest speakers could be considered by the Senate.

Most recently, on April 7, a letter calling for a disciplinary investigation into the actions of the Faculty of Medicine administrators involved in the medical residents’ cases was sent to all Members of Senate and the University’s central administration from the Graduate Students’ Association’s University Affairs Commissioner, Jonathan Duguay.

Ms. Ashley Scott of the university’s Office for the Prevention of Discrimination and Harassment has informed me that a draft policy for the prevention of discrimination and harassment (attached) is under review by the university’s Legal Counsel.  However, no deadline has been set for this policy to appear before the Senate for review.  Due to the many troubling complaints regarding racism on campus, it would be important for the Senate to take a leadership role in the implementation of a just policy to prevent discrimination and harassment.

A motion of renewed commitment would be a good start. Our university administration appears slow on these crucial matters. Maybe it awaits leadership from the Senate and from others?

Please consider attending tomorrow’s press conference to be informed about this development regarding racial discrimination at the University of Ottawa.

Sincerely,

Joseph Hickey
Graduate student representative to Senate, Sciences section

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