Racist attack spurs response
Memorial’s Women’s Studies council has responded to a racist attack on a university faculty member.
On the night of June 19, Dr. Peruvemba Jaya, an assistant professor in Business, had her car spray-painted with racist graffiti near her home. On July 12 Dr. Jaya met with representatives of the Provincial Advisory Council on the Status of Women, the St. John’s Women’s Centre, the Coalition Against Violence (East Avalon), the Multicultural Women’s Organization of Newfoundland and Labrador, and members of Memorial’s Women’s Studies Council to discuss this attack and its implications for society.
The groups issued a statement condemning the attack which they called a “significant indication of the level of racism in our society.”
This informal co-ordinating group agreed to work to raise awareness about issues of racism, especially the intersection of racism and sexism in our society. The coalition will work with the police to develop more awareness of racism and its impact on victims of racist attacks or discrimination; to work with educational institutions at all levels, including day-care centres, to develop curricula and materials that ensure all students in Newfoundland and Labrador are aware of and sensitive to issues of race; to work with Memorial University and other institutions to ensure that there are policies and procedures in place to protect racialized groups and individuals and to insist that their role in institutions is recognized and protected.
Meanwhile, Dr. Axel Meisen wrote to the chief of the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary, Joe Browne, requesting a full investigation into the attack.
“At Memorial University, we are committed to an environment that is free of racism and any other forms of discrimination,” he wrote. “We have many faculty, students, and staff from different countries and ethnic backgrounds. We have a strong interest in ensuring that people feel comfortable and safe in coming to Newfoundland and Labrador to work and study.”