Dean’s message: We must act together against racism and discrimination

Dear students, staff and faculty,

As I follow current events, I am deeply unsettled and acknowledge that I must do more, we must do more, to change the systemic racism embedded in all facets of our society, including within the Faculty of Applied Science. I join UBC President Santa Ono in clearly stating that “racism and bias have no place in our community and that we have zero tolerance for it.”

It is undeniable that anti-Black racism exists globally, within Canadian society and, sadly, also within UBC and our Faculty. Our students and colleagues also face anti-Indigenous racism, anti-Muslim racism, anti-Asian racism and other forms of discrimination daily.   

As a Faculty, we must recognize racism’s impacts on our community and beyond, and act individually and collectively to eliminate it. We all must be committed to doing the work necessary to enact real change. We all have to recognize our own biases, how we each contribute to maintaining the structures and systems that perpetuate inequities. We all have to educate ourselves, attend workshops and lectures, and listen to the voices of racialized and marginalized communities. We all have to take action.

Over the past year, together with the newly appointed Associate Dean for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, we have been working on several initiatives to embed the principles of equity, diversity and inclusion into our systems and structures. We have expanded our outreach to underrepresented and underserved populations, we have started the work of Indigenizing and decolonizing our curriculum and culture, and we are piloting several equity-focused training programs for faculty, staff and students. These are early days, though, and I recognize we have a long way to go.

It will take significant work to reach our goal of creating a community where everyone feels welcome, supported and included. But it is necessary work, and I am committed to working with you to achieve that goal.



James Olson, PhD, P.Eng., FCAE
Dean, Faculty of Applied Science