Led by academic and advocacy coordinator Sophia Sahrane, the organization will be exclusive to students of colour
The Concordia Student Union (CSU)’s academic and advocacy coordinator, Sophia Sahrane, announced plans for a committee led by and designed to serve black, indigenous and people of colour at Concordia. Sahrane publicly announced the upcoming committee via Facebook.
The BIPOC (black, indigenous and people of colour) Committee will be open exclusively to racial minorities on campus, making it the first organization of its kind at Concordia. Sahrane said the idea for the BIPOC Committee came after witnessing barriers for BIPOC students and organizations at Concordia firsthand.
“Since I started my mandate, the CSU has not been supporting BIPOC projects or initiatives or issues, or when they do support it, it’s very, very minimal,” Sahrane said. “I looked at all the projects from my [executive] team and a lot of the proposals [they receive] are from non-BIPOC individuals.”
Projects and student groups led by BIPOC students and focused on BIPOC issues will be able to apply directly to the committee for funding. Sahrane said she hopes the committee will lead to collaborations and special projects with BIPOC-led groups on campus. Sahrane also confirmed the committee will have an annual budget of $15,000, and all funding will be allocated to BIPOC individuals and initiatives.
While the group is not open to white students or accepting proposals for projects led by white students, Sahrane said the committee will be welcome to all BIPOC students, including individuals who pass as white.
“For people who are black, indigenous or POC but don’t look it, being BIPOC is still a part of their identity, so they’re welcome to apply as well,” said Sahrane. “It’s exclusive in the sense that it’s non-mixed, but we’re trying to make the CSU as a whole more inclusive.”
Currently, the CSU is looking for BIPOC students interested in joining the committee on a volunteer basis. The application asks for a commitment of four to six hours per month and interested students can apply on the CSU website until Jan. 28.
For Sahrane, having a CSU committee focused exclusively on the needs of BIPOC students and having guaranteed funding for BIPOC projects is essential to ensuring a more inclusive student union and a more inclusive campus.
“BIPOC individuals are people who have been racially marginalized, as well as economically and socially in our society,” said Sahrane. “So this is a way to counter that… to level the playing field.”
With files from Nelly Serandour-Amar and Savanna Craig