Scholar Strike is a labour action/teach-in/social justice advocacy happening tomorrow and Thursday, September 9-10, 2020. Scholar Strike originated in the U.S from a tweet by Dr. Anthea Butler who, inspired by the striking WNBA and NBA players, put out a call for a similar labour action from academics.
The Canadian action is aligned with the one in the U.S., in its call for racial justice, an end to anti-Black police violence and it adds a specific focus on anti-Indigenous, colonial violence. Participants in the Scholar Strike support the call for defunding of police and redirection of “resources to Black, Indigenous, racialized, queer and trans communities for the creation of sustainable and healthy communities.”
September 9 & 10 were chosen as the dates of the Scholar Strike in Canada because, for many of us, the academic year begins on these dates. These days were also chosen because of their proximity to Labour Day.
As the organizers indicate, “Strike means strike. You can walk away from Teaching/Administrative duties for one or both days in solidarity with those suffering from unjust policing and racism in Canada, America and beyond.” Other options are available for academics and others who can’t fully participate in the strike to support it, which are described here.
For STM Faculty Union members wishing to participate, the University and St. Thomas More College have endorsed the action. From Melissa Just, the University of Saskatchewan Interim Provost and Vice-President Academic:
“We fully support any USask scholar who decides to join the Scholar Strike for Black Lives Canada activities on September 9 and 10. These efforts join a louder chorus of activities across Canada and the world to bring attention to racism, discrimination and inequality.
“At the heart of USask’s mission, vision and values is a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, and that commitment can be exemplified through our actions. Fighting racism and working towards inclusion requires constant action by all of us. President Peter Stoicheff recently restated the university’s commitment to diversity and inclusion, as well as further steps being taken, in this statement. But this change requires all members of the campus community to be involved, and there is no better place than the University of Saskatchewan to take these necessary steps.
“Any USask scholar who decides to join the activities should follow their usual process to cancel classes. Please inform your students in advance of this decision and let them know how the cancelled class will be made up.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.”