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Curriculums in many universities don’t reflect Black experiences or Black successes, she said.

“Black authors are often absent from curriculum and that creates a sense of alienation when you are alone in a classroom, and then you are studying something that you feel is missing a perspective.”

Malinda Smith, the vice-president of the University of Calgary, said there are also few Black scholars in the faculties of Canadian universities.

Statistics Canada census data from 2016 and data from a 2019 Universities Canada report indicate six per cent of undergraduate students, 6.1 per cent of graduate students, and three pre cent of PhD graduates are Black, while 1.9 per cent of the professoriate at universities and 0.8 per cent of universities’ leaders are Black, Smith said.

“There’s a significant underrepresentation. I’m the only Black senior leader at the University of Calgary,” she said, adding that universities need to deal with barriers and biases that may prevent Black scholars from being hired.

“We have to recognize systemic racism, and we have to recognize racial biases.”

Robert Summerby-Murray, the president of St. Mary’s University in Halifax said engaging local Black communities in research conducted by universities is also an important step to address anti-Black racism.

“Part of what we have done in the charter, I believe, is acknowledge a set of Eurocentric and colonial processes inside the academy,” he said.

“Here in Nova Scotia, we have a very important historical African Nova Scotian community … that has been in this province for hundreds of years. And these communities need to be engaged as partners in research.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 18, 2021.

This content was originally published here.

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