Ottawa university professors take part in two-day countrywide strike to protest racism
OTTAWA -- Some university classes in Ottawa are on hold until Friday, as professors and academics show their solidarity for racial justice by protesting police brutality in the U.S. and Canada.
As part of Scholar Strike Canada, a countrywide initiative, professors will not be in class Sept. 9-10 and say they will instead "use this time to organize public digital teach-ins on police brutality and violence" available for free to both students and the general public.
“The work we do as academics is an extension of what goes on in the world and in everyday life,” said Beverley Bain, a University of Toronto Professor and co-organizer of the strike.
Some professors in Ottawa have chosen to take part in the initiative.
"We have serious issues of discrimination on university campuses and so this is not an issue that leaves the campuses outside of it," said Nadia Abu-Zahra, Joint Chair in Women’s Studies at the University of Ottawa and Carleton University.
"This is a brilliant moment to be using your forms of communication, whether that be the phone, meeting in person or social media, to think about learning from campaigns who are leading the way."
The initiative is one some students say is encouraging, but they would have liked to have been included in the process.
"It would have been nice as well for the students to have been informed a little bit earlier, and in depth, in detail about what was going on so that we were prepared," said Jinnia Baiye, Co-President of the Black Student Leaders’ Association.
In a statement to CTV News, the University of Ottawa said:
"The University supports faculty members who wish to participate in the Scholar Strike for Black Lives in Canada and asks that they please communicate any changes to the course calendar to their students in advance."
Carleton University said:
"Carleton University is committed to combatting systemic racism and racial discrimination in all its forms, on campus and around the world. We asked that faculty members who chose to participate in the Scholar Strike for Black Lives in Canada communicate any changes to class schedules to their students."
Scholar Strike Canada is set to continue throughout the day Thursday, with speakers taking part in teach-in sessions available online to the public.
With files from CTV’s Brooklyn Neustaeter.