ACE 2016-2017 Executive Elections

ACE 2016 2017 Elections .jpg

 

The Accessibility, Community, Equity (ACE) Committee is student-run organization based out of York University. We work around issues of equity and anti-oppression through an intersectional approach along the lines of race, gender, class, orientation, and ability in and beyond academia. ACE organizes workshops, seminars, and peer mentorship sessions all geared at offering students some of the necessary social and emotional supports needed for their success.

We are gearing up for the 2016-2017 academic year and will be holding elections for our executive team.

To run for a position, you must be an active ACE member who is a York University student. An active ACE member is a York University student who has in the 2015-2016academic year been active with ACE in at least one of these ways:

  • Has attended an ACE general membership meeting
  • Or is an active member on our listerv
  • Or has volunteered with ACE
  • Or has attended more than one of our events
  • Or has attended our open house

Here are the positions:

– 2 Co-chairs
– 1 Disability Services Officer
– 1 Graduate Student Advocacy & Outreach Officer/Community Liaison
– 1 Undergraduate Student Advocacy and Outreach Officer
– 1 Communications Officer

(Descriptions for the positions can be found below. You can only hold one position).

Folks who are interested in running for a position should fill out this application by April 14th 2016: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1OxklwSwDZCGzp2XqV_BpsEbbVn1hDsCz1he5mNr44wQ/viewform

In this application you will be asked to provide a 100-150 word statement outlining why you are running for this position, what experience you have with ACE, what you hope to do in your position next year. Statement will be posted on our website: www.aceatyorku.wordpress.com

Voting will take place via online voting e-ballot from April 25th-27th, 2016. E-ballots will be distributed to our membership on April 25th and online voting will close on April 27th. To vote, you must be an active ACE member.

Summary of important dates:

  • Nominations are due April 14th
  • E-voting will commence from April 25th-27th

Our Chief Returning Officer is Sarah Switzer. If you have any questions please contact her at: switzers@yorku.ca

Position descriptions:

Co-chair (2 positions)

  • To oversee the external image of ACE.
  • To support all appointed committee members in their tasks.
  • To work with the Director to organize and prepare the agenda for all meetings.
  • To call all Executive Council meetings to order.
  • To meet with York University administrative personnel when called upon.
  • To organize Executive Council office hours and meetings.
  • To include issues raised by members in the meeting agenda.
  • To provide support, vision and guidance to the Executive Council
  • To delegate tasks and distribute the workload of the Executive Council.
  • To be a signing officer of ACE and the club bank account at York.
  • To oversee and upkeep the club’s budget.
  • To have knowledge of the club’s financial situation at all times.
  • To prepare a finance report for each Executive Council meeting.
  • To follow up with the Executive Director on all outstanding financial transactions.
  • To apply for funding from all possible outlets and to follow up on submitted applications.
  • To aid and assist in maintaining the functionality of the club.
  • To be included in the planning and execution of all ACE events.
  • To propose and implement strategies to further enhance equity in the larger York Community.
  • To maintain a consistent communication channel with the membership body To assist in the promotion of all ACE events.
  • To report to the Executive Council, any concerns brought forth by members and/or other York University clubs, and address them accordingly.
  • Maintain Google Docs and electronic document databases pertinent to ACE.


Disability Services Officer (1 position):
 

  • To mentor students and assist them in navigating services and resources at York University.
  • To advocate for services and resources on behalf of students.
  • To act as the liaison between ACE and disability support services at York. This requires attending meetings and/or email correspondence.
  • To help with the growth and expansion of ACE through the creation of promotional materials and recruitment.
  • To be included in the planning, promotion and execution of all ACE social and academic events.
  • To propose and implement strategies to further enhance equity in the larger York Community.
  • To pursue relationships and make connections with other organizations and institutions within the York University community.

 

Graduate Student Advocacy & Outreach Officer/Community Liaison (1 position):

  • To work with the appropriate Executive Council members on the different aspects of hosting an event.
  • To work with the Executive Council to promote information and materials to the undergraduate population and the larger community.
  • To be included in the planning and execution of all ACE events.
  • To propose and implement strategies to further enhance equity in the larger York Community.
  • To pursue relationships and make connections with other organizations and institutions within the York University community.
  • To liaise with Graduate Students’ Associations in their respective colleges and faculties.

 

Undergraduate Student Advocacy and Outreach Officer (1 position):

  • To work with the appropriate Executive Council members on the different aspects of hosting an event.
  • To work with the Executive Council to promote information and materials to the undergraduate population and the larger community.
  • To be included in the planning and execution of all ACE events.
  • To propose and implement strategies to further enhance equity in the larger York Community.
  • To liaise with Undergraduate Students’ Associations in their respective colleges and faculties.

 

Communications Officer (1 position):

  • To work with the Co-chairs to organize and prepare the agenda for all meetings.
  • To act as the liaison between ACE, and other equity groups at York. This requires monthly meetings or email correspondence with the representatives of these respective groups.
  • To respond to any questions brought to the attention of the ACE Executive Council via E-mail.
  • To maintain a consistent communication channel with the membership body via E-mail, Website, and Facebook.
  • To aide and assist in maintaining the functionality of the club.
  • To help with the growth and expansion of ACE through the creation of promotional materials and recruitment.
  • To be included in the planning, promotion and execution of all ACE social and academic events.
  • To propose and implement strategies to further enhance equity in the larger York Community.
  • To pursue relationships and make connections with other organizations and institutions within the York University community.
  • Create, update and maintain an internet domain for ACE
  • To report to the Executive Council, any concerns brought forth by members and/or other York University clubs, and address them accordingly

 

An Open Letter to CUPE 3903

Dear Members of the CUPE Executive

With each year, comes hope for change, but for change one must first recognize the problem. This year’s Executive ran on a platform of transparency, inclusivity and anti-racism. Over the last year, as a co-chair of student organization Accessibility, Community, Equity Committee (ACE), I’ve become aware of the ongoing issues of anti-Black racism that seems to have permeated the union walls, perhaps leaking from white supremacist university infrastructure, or perhaps the residual impact of the labour union movement’s notorious racist and misogynistic history. ACE is mostly comprised of racialized students who are acutely aware of the issues surrounding identity and the way our bodies are read and pathologized on a daily basis both on and off campus. This letter has been reviewed and enriched by current and past members of the ACE committee, and so is presented as a collective commentary and call to action.

In the last 6 months, ACE has been contacted frequently to seek support for the ongoing inundation of anti-Black-racism CUPE Executives and parts of the local have been involved with, starting with the push back in hiring a highly qualified Black woman, due to unfounded allegations by her former employer, which reeked of racist retaliation. And yet the Executive and parts of the local were quite willing to engage in anti-Black-racism under the guise of criminal discrimination – regardless that no charges or verdict have occurred in this matter. Most recently, we have been asked to support a member, who was a strong advocate on behalf of racialized students and students with disabilities, who chose rescind her 2016-2017 Executive nomination application versus continue to navigate the ongoing racist push back by the Executives and insinuation that she may steal a lap top that came with her position. The fact that the member was treated like a criminal is horrific and shameful. I would like bring to your attention our own CUPE 3903 equity union mandate:

Union solidarity is based on the principle that union members are equal and deserve mutual respect at all levels. Any behaviour that creates conflict prevents us from working together to strengthen our union – ** we can see a violation of this mandate based on the ongoing anti-black racism from the local.

As unionists, mutual respect, cooperation and understanding are our goals. We should neither condone nor tolerate blatant behaviour that undermines the dignity or self-esteem of any individual or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment. – ** the lack accountability from others regarding ongoing anti-black racism from executives is a violation of this principal. 

Discriminatory speech or conduct which is racist, sexist, transphobic or homophobic hurts and thereby divides us. So too, does discrimination on the basis of ability, age, class, religion, language and ethnic origin.

Sometimes discrimination takes the form of harassment. Harassment means using real or perceived power to abuse, devalue or humiliate. Harassment should not be treated as a joke. The uneasiness and resentment that it creates are not feelings that help us grow as a union.”

Anti-Black racism manifests in lethal policies towards Black people, police shootings of Black people, high incarceration rates, high dropout rates, complete absence of the epistemologies of Black people from the curriculum, etc. It is a racism that must be understood through histories of enslavement, through the environmental catastrophe that was the trade in Africans and the slave plantation, and the knowledges which justified all this.

I have participated in various forums and panels that ask, “Where are the Black faculty at York?” this was the continuation of a conversation started in a film 8 years that was created by a Faculty of Environmental Studies alumni, Blakka Ellis. However, in the context of a growing student movement against anti-Black racism in our city and in the community around York University, we might reframe this question to ask: “What does anti-Black racism look like at York?” Our students have given us the answer to this over and over again when they have documented and pointed to the following issues:

  • The absence of Black representation in union executives or staff who look like the people targeted in anti-Black racism;
  • Few, if any, executives who have demonstrated a critical race analysis or understand and advocate from a perspective that names and confronts anti-Black racism;
  • The circulation of old anthropological ideas around phenotype, as well as new racist ideas around the social construction of race that denies the materiality of racism, and so on;
  • Poor understanding and often a denial of the systematized violence and racism directed at Black people, especially those who are visibly ‘Black looking’

Many of you learn that race is socially constructed.  Nevertheless, and as you know, these “constructions” have a long history of covert and overt material effects. It has been carefully documented that Black and Indigenous groups are most affected by these. The growing force of a movement like #BLACKLIVESMATTER that names police-generated violence draws attention to this as does the movement against missing and murdered Indigenous women.  At this time, calling attention to the social construction of race can serve to deflect attention from the lethal violence with which all Black and Indigenous communities are familiar and the consequences of this for everyday lives.

As a Black woman I visited the #BLACKLIVESMATTER tent city protest, where many of my community have slept for 300 hours. Many Black students were insulted by the notice of your support in CUPE’s newsletter, and by the audacity for you to be present at the BLMTO Black Out rally with your CUPE 3903 flags, with Black students in solidarity with Black lives. Many York Black students/your members found this violent and insulting. You are using Black lives as your props and to stage CUPE 3903 as an equitable organization—Black students want you to stop! You must stand in solidarity with your Black union members before promoting yourself as an ally to our Black communities. The hypocrisy of promoting CUPE 3903 as an ally, while 2 letters are circulating regarding your perpetuation of the very racism and anti-black-racism you state you are against.

Signed,

Accessibility, Community, Equity Committee (ACE)

An Open Letter to Students Against Israeli Apartheid (SAIA)

Since January, Students Against Israeli Apartheid at York University has been alerted to the numerous charges of anti-Black racism against Rania Khalek. SAIA was also made aware how inviting Rania Khalek to give a keynote speech on campus would create a hostile environment for many students, especially Black students. In bringing Rania Khalek after not considering the harm that could be done and valid concerns is co-signing such behaviour. The lack of respectable response to earlier calls throughout the past few months has been disturbing. A group like SAIA who operates with an anti-colonial/anti-oppressive framework should take concerns raised by multiple students seriously.

We supported the call out from the York University Black Graduate Student’s Collective to boycott the keynote address being given by Rania Khalek. ACE shares similar values with SAIA, of anti oppression, and is against Israeli Apartheid. However, we do not support the ways in which this student organisation has handled complaints and criticism of this invited speaker by their own membership, by multiple students on campus, and many Black people at York University and internationally.

We hope that this experience will lead to SAIA’s honest and open engagement in dialogue on anti-Black racism and organising with their membership and with other student groups that are in solidarity with Palestine. We recognize that York University is a hostile environment for anti-Israeli Apartheid organising but there must be space for criticisms and conversations from and with students on how this organising can be more inclusive. In our organising, we must strive to avoid replicating systems of oppression based on race, gender, etc. and in this case specifically, anti-Black racism. Often these criticisms are dismissed as identity politics and divisive of the left but in actuality, we can not strengthen and build our movements without engaging with interlocking oppressions, different privileges and having honesty about such nuanced differences.

Signed,

Accessibility, Community, Equity Committee (ACE)

ACE Open House!

ACE is a student club at York University organizing around issues of equity & anti-oppression. We organize workshops, seminars & peer mentorship sessions geared at offering students social and emotional supports.

Come out to our open house in HNES 114 to find out how to get involved!

Open house hours:

  • Thursday, March 31st 12-4 p.m.
  • Monday, April 4th 12-4 p.m.
  • Wednesday, April 6th 12-2:30

ACE is holding its annual executive election in early May. We are looking for:

  • 2 Co-chairs
  • 1 Disability Services Officer
  • 1 Graduate Student Advocacy & Outreach Officer/Community Liason
  • 1 Undergraduate Student Advocacy and Outreach Officer
  • 1 Communications Officer

Become an ACE general member to run for a position and vote in the election!

ACE is open to all York University students interested in issues of equity, and combating intersectional oppression along the lines of race, gender, class, orientation, and ability in and beyond academia.

For more info e-mail aceatyorku@gmail.com

ACE Open House 2016.jpg

Part Two: Where Are All the Black Faculty?

12783747_1707417826138258_6197302520764689465_o.jpg

PART TWO: WHERE ARE ALL THE BLACK FACULTY?
MARCH 17, 2016
2:30- 5PM
YORK UNIVERSITY, STUDENT CENTRE ROOM 307

This critical event follows a January 2016 panel sparked by FES Alumni Owen Blakka Ellis’s film Where Are All The Black Faculty completed more than ten years earlier, though not much has changed. #BlackOnCampus events have been taking place across post secondary campuses with students working to support international Black movements to resist anti-Black racism and dubious hiring practices across Canada. Building on the legacy of Black student organizing, work and media creation within York University, this panel brings together academics, local activists, artists and students to examine the intersections of Blackness, social justice and representation in relation to physical, urban, social and geographical environments.

This event features Kamala Kempadoo, Evelyn Amponsah, Muna-Udbi A. Ali and is moderated by Hawa Y. Mire.

ASL will be provided. The venues are wheelchair accessible and close to accessible and gender neutral washrooms. Please note that this is a scent-free environment. To discuss how we can make events accessible to you, please contact: fesequity@gmail.com

ACE Presents: Finding Your Career

ACE is hosting two career panels happening back-to-back on Monday, February 29th! Please see details below.

Panel #1

Screen Shot 2016-02-23 at 5.09.43 PM

ACE PRESENTS: FINDING YOUR CAREER PATH
Featuring panelists:
Jennisha Wilson, MES Graduate, Research Coordinator at the Well Living House, an Indigenous Health Resource Centre at St Michaels Hospital.
Mojan Jianfar, MES Graduate, Assistant Cultural Planner for the City of Mississauga.
Michael Collens, BES Graduate & MES Candidate in Planning. 10 years managerial experience in the not-for-profit sector.

Wondering how to navigate the career world post-graduation? Come join recent grads and current students from Environmental Studies to hear them speak about working in their fields and how they landed their careers. The event will include a panel, Q&A and chance to network. We have speakers from the field of health research and community organizing, urban planning and art directing, and environmental planning with interests in transportation.

Date: Monday, February 29, 2016
Time: 12:30 – 2:30 p.m. HNES 109

Following this panel, the Community Arts Practice Program is hosting a panel on working in the community arts field, in HNES 109 from 2:30-4:30 p.m.

Hosted and organized by: Accessibility, Community and Equity, The Community Arts Practice Program. With support from: The Faculty of Environmental Studies. 
Panel #2

 

10392591_1059172417478753_5188290889624190231_n

The Community Arts Practice Program, Faculty of Environmental Studies & Accessibility, Community and Equity host ….

Alumni Talk Back: Working in Community Arts
Wondering what to do after you graduate? What you can do with a community arts practice certificate? Come join recent grads from the Community Arts Practice program to hear them speak about working in the community arts field. The event will include a panel, Q&A and chance to network.

Date/Time: Monday Feb. 29, 2:30 – 4:00 pm
Location: York University, Faculty of Environmental Studies, HNES, 109
Speakers: Charmaine Lurch, Ryan Dela Cruz, & Maggie Flynn
Light refreshments will be served.

Prior to the community arts panel, ACE will host a general career panel (12:30-2:30).

Toronto Rape Crisis Centre Bowlathon

12729142_1054140104648651_7606602238502986700_n
ACE is excited to be participating in fundraising for the Toronto Rape Crisis Centre/Multicultural Women Against Rape (TRCC/MWAR) for the first time. Each year the TRCC/MWAR hosts a “Bowlathon” to fundraise for the incredible work they do every single day in this city. This year the event will take place on Saturday February 27th.

This month marks their 42nd anniversary and they do incredibly important work from running a 24-hour crisis support line, advocacy, counselling, and workshops–all while being a feminist-run collective.

Anything you can provide, even $5,  will help with the overall goal.

Please consider making a donation to the ACE fundraising team! Here is the link: https://www.canadahelps.org/en/pages/2016-bowlathon-fundraiser-for-the-toronto-rape-cri/
And if you have already done so – THANK YOU!