Western University has been made aware of a number of images, symbols and slogans that were shared by Western community members through social media over the past weekend.
Specifically images of a banner with the slogan ‘Western Lives Matter’ has produced outrage and backlash within our community. ‘Black Lives Matter’ is an important human rights movement and a powerful response to systemic racism that permeates our society. Co-opting the ‘Lives Matter’ phrase in this way is repugnant and trivializes the validity of this international cause and network.
Western does not tolerate racism. Western University considers the ‘Western Lives Matter’ banner to be contrary to the university’s values. In conjunction with Campus Community Police Service (CCPS) and London Police Service (LPS), Western is investigating this matter to determine whether individuals involved will be dealt with under Western’s Code of Student Conduct.
Senior administration wants to assure the entire Western community that these types of transgressions are hurtful, disrespectful and demeaning. They do, however, provide an opportunity for further conversations with campus leaders and community partners.
Western’s administration, along with the University Students’ Council (USC), Society of Graduate Students (SOGS) and Western’s Equity and Human Rights Services, will work collaboratively with campus and community individuals and groups to create opportunities to examine issues of racism on campus and to further engage in conversation and learning in a productive manner.
As a start, I’d like to acknowledge the video released by USC President Eddy Avila in response to the images from the weekend that included racist sentiments. Western is supportive of his message and looks forward to work in partnership with students to clarify and promote a more positive community environment.
Associate Vice-President (Student Experience)