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NOV 24 2021
A recent CACUSS panel shed light on the realities that many racialized staff face.
For the first time in its 50-year history, the Canadian Association for College and University Student Services (CACUSS) held a plenary panel, titled “Being Racialized and Indigenous in Student Affairs: Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow,” which centred the experiences of colleagues who are Indigenous, Black, and people of colour. Race in the academy is a topic that has received increasing attention. For CACUSS, it became critical to host this dialogue on a national scale, particularly as we continue to reckon with pervasive whiteness and colonialism in postsecondary spaces.
Hosted by CACUSS’s first Indigenous president, Mark Solomon (proud member of the Henvy Inlet First Nation), this plenary was carefully curated to ensure that there was a diversity of lived experience amongst the panelists. While identity-based representation was considered in terms of racial and gender diversity, additional considerations included breadth of professional backgrounds and seniority, regional representation, as well as having individuals from both colleges and universities. However, despite these differences – in race, role, region, institution – clear themes and shared experiences became evident as the panel offered their stories. This article seeks to preserve some of these insights.