The UNB staff and faculty want to make sure that students know where they stand on the white supremacist posters found on UNB campus, the morning of Sept. 28, 2017.
Assistant professor Lucas Crawford, proposal support / liaison officer Carmen Ellison, instructor Sabine Lebel and professor Triny Finlay wrote a letter condemning the actions and ideas of those who put up the posters. Finlay says that they wanted to do something productive after hearing about the posters.
“We all kind of saw the news about the posters together, and wanted to immediately respond to that, and wanted to channel our anger and frustration in positive ways” said Finlay.
The letter, which was finalized Oct. 3, was then circulated among staff and faculty—over 300 of whom signed it—though the letter itself advises not to make assumptions about staff and faculty that didn’t sign the letter, as they may not of had the chance to view the letter.
Finlay said that the purpose of the letter was to assure students that their staff and faculty were aware of what was happening and wanted to publicly denounce it.
“We really feel that students have a lot coming at them in the world, and often faculty and staff can’t help them out in the ways that we would like to because sometimes our training is not in those areas.
“But this is one way we felt like we could publicly denounce a racist act—a white supremacist act—on campus, and reassure students that their faculty and staff members are thinking about these things—are concerned about students, especially marginalized students who feel like they were targeted by these posters.”
The letter states that the ideas expressed in the posters are “simplistic, silly” and that the problem the posters are addressing doesn’t exist.
The Letter also addressed the importance for white students to speak out, be educated on propaganda, start conversations and intervene when hearing others making offensive comments. It also asked that they acknowledge how the Indigenous community, along with international students, were targeted by the posters, which were put up in timing with the “A Conference Towards Reconciliation” at STU.
The letter says:
“We write this letter in order to repeat and renew our commitment to welcoming all students, to understanding and appreciating Indigenous history and thought, and to reflecting these in the daily life of the University.”
UNB communications said in a statement that they are supportive of the letter, saying they stand behind faculty and staff in their response to the posters, and that:
“We are committed to creating a positive campus environment that is free from harassment and discrimination and welcoming of all people. These posters and their message are contrary to everything UNB stands for.”