The Center for Research-Action on Race Relations has teamed up with student associations from both Concordia and McGill to launch the Student Civil Rights Information Project to help better inform students of their rights and protect them from discrimination.
“What it comes down to is that most students just don’t have a lot of the information they need,” said executive director of CRARR Fo Niemi. “Sometimes they don’t even realize they are being faced with discrimination or that there is anything that they can do about it.”
Initiatives from the new project can be seen in this year’s CSU student handbook with the first-ever civil rights page. SCRIP also plans on holding student information panels on discrimination and where students may encounter it.
At one such panel planned for this October, SCRIP is trying to make students aware of the policy of International Traffic in Arms Regulations. ITAR prevents engineering students born in nations considered hostile towards the U.S. from gaining internships or being hired for jobs in the aerospace industry with companies that receive contracts from the U.S. military.
In some of the most extreme circumstances of discrimination, students may be unjustly faced with criminal charges. In those cases, said Niemi, SCRIP will also be there to help.
“It can be very traumatic and stressful. And students don’t realize they can file suit against the police,” he said. “But there is a window of six months that action must be taken within or else there is nothing that we can do, and your permanent record will display these criminal charges.”
In order to cover the costs of this service, SCRIP is looking to raise $7,000 by means of donations and sponsorship. To date, about $2,000 has been raised for this project with the help of donors and partners like the CSU, the Center for Gender Advocacy and small businesses in the NDG area.