Learn about our statements on equity and diversity, Black Lives Matter, the climate, and the discovery of unmarked graves at Canadian Residential Schools.
Black Lives Matter statement
The UBC School of Information supports Black people and their calls for justice and opposition to police brutality. Anti-Black racism and institutionalized violence are a reality in Canada as in the USA, and libraries, archives, and information schools are not exceptions.
We, at UBC, are complicit in our countries’ shameful histories of racism, white supremacy, and the oppression of Indigenous peoples, which persists to the present day. We support the institutional actions outlined in former UBC President Santa Ono’s letter, and we commit to support and extend these actions within our department.
Black lives matter and this truth will continue to inform the growing coverage of systemic racism in our curriculum, our financial support for racialized students, our events, and our department’s equity, diversity and inclusion action plan.
We commit to working with our BIPOC students and faculty to identify and implement actions to improve our classrooms and workplace climate to ensure they are safe, welcoming, and supportive spaces.
We are proud to see our students and alumni sharing critical resources with communities in Vancouver and worldwide as they organize and educate themselves for this moment. We see you using your skills and care to coordinate information sharing, serve as a witness to ongoing events, and counter censorship.
The field of information studies is indebted to Black scholars and professionals who expose the historical and ongoing injustices in our workplaces and white scholars who actively question and seek to disrupt white privilege.
Working against systematic Anti-Black racism in libraries, archives, and the information professions, Black writers in these fields have made critical contributions to understanding the workings of racism and the experience of racialized workers.
- Brown, Jennifer, Sofia Leung, and Marisa Méndez-Brady. “We here: Speaking our truth.” Library Trends1 (2018): 163-181. http://doi.org/10.1353/lib.2018.0031
- Drake, Jarrett M. “Diversity’s discontents: in search of an archive of the oppressed.” Archives and Manuscripts2 (2019): 270-279. https://doi.org/10.1080/01576895.2019.1570470
- Ettarh, Fobazi. “Vocational Awe and Librarianship: The Lies We Tell Ourselves.” In the Library with the Lead Pipe. (2018). http://www.inthelibrarywiththeleadpipe.org/2018/vocational-awe/
- Gibson, Amelia N., Renate L. Chancellor, Nicole A. Cooke, Sarah Park Dahlen, Shari A. Lee, and Yasmeen L. Shorish “Libraries on the frontlines: Neutrality and social justice.” Equality, Diversity and Inclusion: An International Journal(2017). https://doi.org/10.1108/EDI-11-2016-0100
- Hathcock, April. “White Librarianship in Blackface: Diversity Initiatives in LIS.” the Library with the Lead Pipe7 (2015). http://www.inthelibrarywiththeleadpipe.org/2015/lis-diversity/
- Kendrick, Kaetrena Davis, and Ione T. Damasco. “Low Morale in Ethnic and Racial Minority Academic Librarians: An Experiential Study.” Library Trends2 (2019): 174-212. https://doi.org/10.1353/lib.2019.0036
- Sutherland, Tonia. “Archival Amnesty: In Search of Black American Transitional and Restorative Justice.” Journal of Critical Library and Information Studies 1, no. 2 (2017). https://doi.org/10.24242/jclis.v1i2.42
- Williams, Stacie M., and Jarrett M. Drake. “Power to the people: documenting police violence in Cleveland.” Journal of Critical Library and Information Studies 2 (2017). https://doi.org/10.24242/jclis.v1i2.33
Letters for Black lives: Multilingual letters to our families
This crowdsourced collection of multilingual, culturally-aware letters provides a starting place to talk about racial justice, police violence, and anti-Blackness in our communities and families.
Anti-racism resources for white people
This document lists resources for white people and parents to deepen their anti-racism work. If you haven’t engaged in anti-racism work in the past, start now.
Solidarity and action: Five tips to shut down racism
From UBC’s Equity and Inclusion Office, here are five tips to help you tackle racism and stand in solidarity with those affected by recent incidents.
Inclusive campus resources
Courtesy of the UBC’s Equity and Inclusion Office, find a list of resources related to equity and inclusion across UBC.
IBPOC connections: staff & faculty
An initiative designed for and by Indigenous, Black, and People of Colour at UBC – on the traditional, ancestral and unceded territory of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) people.
Climate commitment statement
We face a climate emergency recognized in declarations by the Government of Canada, the City of Vancouver and communities throughout Canada and the world. The School of Information at the University of British Columbia stands in solidarity with the millions of people worldwide demanding action on the climate crisis.
We commit to encouraging and enabling our faculty, staff and students to participate in calls to action. Together, we are taking steps to respond to this crisis through our research, teaching, learning, and academic and community service.
As an information school, we will leverage our interdisciplinary skills and knowledge and our academic and professional networks to address societal challenges arising from the climate crisis.
Equity and diversity statement
We at UBC School of Information dedicate ourselves to creating a school climate of equity and mutual respect, with particular attention to the needs of all marginalized and under-represented groups of people. As we are situated on the unceded, traditional and ancestral territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm peoples, the experience of Indigenous (First Nations, Métis and Inuit) students, staff, faculty, and community members is essential to the school climate we envision.
We are committed to the university’s Statement on Respectful Environment and the Faculty of Arts strategic goals for inclusive excellence. Furthermore, as we at the iSchool explore the intersection of people, technology, and information, we have a fundamental responsibility to be inclusive of the diversity of all people in our public and professions. This responsibility requires improving and repairing relations with all communities previously excluded from decision-making and leadership in research and the professions.
Creating a diverse, inclusive, and equitable school for students of all backgrounds and identities is vital, given that our alumni are leaders in libraries, archives, and information institutions locally and around the world. For example, libraries and archives are explicitly named in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action (69, 70). It is imperative that our graduates are prepared to meet these and related calls (e.g., 62, 63 on education) in their work.
Information specialists play a crucial role in providing equitable access to information, supporting information literacy, and making governance and history transparent to the public. They also must manage the risks of information systems harming vulnerable groups, including violating rights to representation, privacy, autonomy, and self-determination. This work is not exempt from disruptions from the climate crisis or precarious employment and happens alongside struggles for ethical hiring practices and working conditions in the professions.
In cooperation with professional associations and our alumni, the UBC School of Information has a vital role in shifting information work practices toward justice. We commit ourselves to combat intersecting forms of oppression, including racism, sexism, ableism, homophobia, and transphobia—both within our school and in the information systems we study and design.
The equity and diversity committee at the school was created in 2019 to collect, respond to, and address student concerns about the internal climate of the school and the retention and support of students of colour.
The committee works to promote and create equitable policies and practices within the school. Act as a contact point for issues across the school, facilitate internal professional development that supports a diverse student body, and consult with other committees in recruitment, admissions, hiring, curriculum, and event planning. The committee includes faculty, staff, PhD students, and master’s students.
Statement on the discovery of unmarked graves at Canadian Residential Schools
The School of Information is deeply saddened to learn of the discovery of unmarked graves at a growing number of Residential Schools in Canada:
- 215 at Kamloops, British Columbia (May 2020);
- 751 at Marieval, Saskatchewan (June 2021);
- 182 at St Eugene’s Mission School near Cranbrook, British Columbia (July 2021);
- 93 at St. Joseph’s Residential School, Williams Lake, British Columbia (January 2022).
The events across Canada surface the ongoing traumatic harm of the residential school system for those in the iSchool community who are intergenerational survivors of this colonial system. Supports and resources are available. Our thoughts are with the families, the communities, residential school survivors, intergenerational survivors, and all who mourn.
As a school whose students will be the next generations of librarians and archivists, we acknowledge the importance of the goals connecting these professions, as identified by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: the right of Indigenous Peoples to know the truth about the violations that happened in residential schools; making records accessible publicly; and supporting the creation of materials for public education. The discoveries across Canada reiterate that UBC iSchool and other Information Schools in Canada have the responsibility to instill these goals in their students and the professions they are part of. We stand in unity with the Indigenous People of Canada.
Hope for Wellness Help Line
Open to all Indigenous Peoples across Canada, and offers 24-hour mental health counselling, via phone at 1-855-242-3310 or chat line.
Call 310-6789 (no area code needed) toll-free anywhere in BC to access emotional support, information and resources specific to mental health and substance use issues. Available 24 hours a day.
The KUU-US Crisis Line Society operates a 24-hour provincial Aboriginal Crisis line for adults, elders and youth.
- Adult/Elder Crisis Line: 250-723-4050
- Child/Youth Crisis Line: 250-723-2040
- BC Wide Toll Free: 1800-KUU-US17 (1800-588-8717)
- Métis Crisis Line BC Toll Free: 1833-MétisBC (1833-638-4722)
The Indian Residential School Survivors Society
Provides essential services to Residential School Survivors, their families, and to those dealing with intergenerational trauma. Call toll-free: 1-800-721-0066.
First Nations Health Authority mental wellness & counselling support
Offers a list of providers registered with health benefits on their website or by phone at 1-855-550-5454
- Indigenous students can access support via the Student Health and Wellbeing portal.
- Student Counselling Services (24/7)
UBC Student Assistance Program (SAP) 1 833 590 1328 (In North America) 1 604 757 9734 (Outside North America)
UBC student community counselling service – immediate and short-term counselling
Here2Talk 1.877.857.3397 BC post-secondary student counselling service – single session