Laurentian University Sign

University in Greater Sudbury, and universities across Canada, will start a little later than expected because of a two-day strike.

Known as the Scholar Strike Canada, the work stoppage is aimed at protesting police brutality in the U.S. and Canada.

"Scholars across Canadian universities are outraged at the relentless anti-Black police killings of Black people in the U.S. and in Canada," said a statement on their website.

"As athletes have done, so, too, must academics. We will be joining thousands of academics in higher education in a labour action known as Scholar Strike to protest anti-Black, racist and colonial police brutality in the U.S., Canada and elsewhere."

The professors will not be in class Sept. 9-10, and say they will "use this time to organize public digital teach-ins on police brutality and violence in our communities from both historical and contemporary perspectives."

University administrators are being asked to support staff who choose to take part, and not penalize those who choose to participate.

Two Sudbury Universities in full support

In a statement, Laurentian University President Robert Hache said he supported the strike.

"Faculty and instructors are asked to communicate any intended class changes to students with as much advance notice as possible," the statement said. "Staff members who wish to participate in Scholar Strike activities are asked to make individual arrangements with their managers. Leaders should be as accommodating as possible with participating employees."

Hache said the university is excited to be part of change and has taken steps toward racial equality.

"In the last few months, we have announced a new senate ad hoc committee on racism and discrimination that will tackle these issues inside the academy," he said. "We will report back on the progress and activities of this committee as results emerge."

Among the steps LU has committed to include:

  • Creating a physical safe space for Black, Indigenous and People of Colour on campus;
  • Supporting a forum for students/faculty/staff/administration to openly discuss issues of systemic discrimination on a regular basis.
  • Provide unconscious bias and anti-racism training, especially for those who sit on hiring committees, training on equity hiring practices, the benefits of a diverse workforce.

"We encourage students to join the Laurentian professors in the Scholar Strike," Hache said. "As I reminded the Laurentian community earlier this year, our broader communities need us to take action, to be leaders, and to do more than we have done before. Our community is absolutely capable of affecting change."

Kevin McCormick, the president of Huntington University which is also in Sudbury, issued a statement of support for the Scholar Strike as well:

"Huntington University is committed to creating a safe space for learning and working, and an inclusive environment, for all members of our community. As President and Vice-Chancellor of Huntington University I would like to advise all faculty, staff and students that they are both welcomed and supported, should they wish to participate in Scholar Strike Canada. We would simply ask that faculty advise students of any class changes in advance, if possible. Any staff wishing to participate need simply notify us.

These are important societal and justice issues that deserve our attention and focus, as we work collectively and in solidarity to force positive change. Huntington University is proud to support the scholars, faculty, staff and students who engage and raise their voices in this unified call for justice and equality for all members of our campuses, communities, nations and world."