If you read through the policy brief for racial and religious students on campus, you would have seen that one of the things the USC is calling for is an increase in diverse staff. The council stated that potential BIPOC staff members face difficulty accessing such positions and having BIPOC staff would not only make students more comfortable but also expose all students to different perspectives. Well, that’s just that, is diversity important when it comes to university professors? To put it simply, as a political science student, I have seen one too many courses about racism or specific ethnic countries be taught by white professors. Africa in Global Politics and Racialized Injustice in Canada were both taught my white professors this year. I’m not saying that these courses are redundant if they’re not taught by BIPOC professionals, but they lose a certain element of reality when they aren’t. Academia is historically rooted in colonialism and white supremacy. With the recent changes of celebrating diversity, as well as devoting classes to the exploration of issues pertaining to minorities, universities need to give these issues the respect they deserve. While white professors are qualified to teach in such positions, many of them lack perspective and the real-life experiences that give these courses meaning. Political science in general is known to have an issue with racism, that is – the lack of reference to it. A lot of the students taking these courses are doing so to gain some perspective on issues and for some of them, this is the only exposure they’ll get. Additionally, BIPOC students want to see representation in their professors as well. The university needs to make sure courses that deal with racialized issues are done properly with professors that reflect these communities. Amplifying the reach in which BIPOC professionals can interact with the younger generation must be a priority for all universities. Western must not only make strides to increase diverse staff for such courses, but must also understand why it is necessary.
Written By: Shreya Menon