President’s Communique: A follow up our June 2020 commitments

President’s Communique: A follow up our June 2020 commitments

In June of this year – in recognition of Juneteenth and national Aboriginal People’s Day, and in response to shooting deaths of minority ethnic individuals in North America – Ambrose University made a commitment to be an agent of change, “…empowering faculty, staff, and students to think clearly and act courageously in celebrating diversity, affirming the dignity of each person, and working towards social systems that foster the social and racial justice that is consistent with our Christian faith. We will name anti-black racism and anti-indigenous racism for what it is, and in the process empower visible minorities to be full participants in the life of the church and our society. We will acknowledge where systems, including our own internal systems, reinforce white privilege. We ask for forgiveness, through grace and humility, for the actions of our ancestors and for our present-day failures. We commit ourselves to healing and reconciliation.

The full statement and the four commitments made at that time can be found here.

The statement also included an undertaking to provide a further update following the president’s report to the Ambrose Board of Governors’ Fall, 2020 meeting. The board met on Thursday, November 12, when the president provided the following update on the four commitments:

  1. The Faculty Open Forum – a moderated conversation by the Dean of the Faculty of Theology. To date, three forums have been held which are raising understanding and critical engagement with questions of racism in general, but with particular reference to the relationship between settlers and the Indigenous peoples of western Canada, critical race theory, and the practices of social and racial conflict resolution and peace-making.  
  2. All faculty and staff have received formal training in inclusion and diversity with a view that this will be part of our regular and ongoing culture and our commitment to the professional development of our faculty and staff. These seminars were led by staff from the Jaffray Centre for Global Initiatives, an Institute of Ambrose University. Having this resource available to us right in-house allowed us to approach questions of cultural fluency and racism in a way that is deeply consistent with our denominational heritage and our experience.  
  3. The chaplain has profiled the voices and stories of leaders within ethnic minorities – notably Black Canadians and Indigenous Canadians – and topics or themes that keep before the Ambrose community in awareness of what it means to foster cultural fluency, social justice, and reconciliation.
  4. We have engaged an external consultant to conduct an audit of our hiring practices [in response to the question of whether there is a hiring bias at Ambrose University]. This audit is ongoing and will likely be completed in the first quarter of 2021.

This is only, of course, an “interim report” – so to speak.   This resolve, to respond wisely and courageously, needs to be a mark of our mission, identity, and values.  We welcome further comment and input into this process of learning together and seeking together to be a community that is marked by a deep commitment to cultural fluency, diversity, and inclusion.

Ambrose University