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Professor Boulou Ebanda de B’béri
Professor Boulou Ebanda de B’béri. Concordia University/Provided.

De B’béri to co-chair Action Committee on Anti-Racism and Inclusion, announcement comes on eve of protest  

The University of Ottawa announced on Thursday evening that it has appointed professor Boulou Ebanda de B’béri as the university’s first special advisor on anti-racism and inclusion. 

In an email sent to the student body, Jill Scott, U of O provost and vice-president, called the appointment “another concrete step the university is taking to address racism and ensure our campus is a welcoming environment for all members of our community.” 

Part of de B’béri’s new role will entail co-chairing the Action Committee on Anti-Racism and Inclusion. The appointment is set for a one year term. 

The new action committee was announced on Nov. 23 as a replacement for the President’s Advisory Committee for an Anti-Racist and Inclusive Campus. The committee has yet to be launched as it is still awaiting nominations. 

De B’béri is a full-time professor of communications and cultural studies in the faculty of arts. His research focuses on cultural history, cultural memory and practices of identity information in multicultural nations.     

“I am confident that professor de B’béri’s experience, expertise and leadership will help to ensure that the university moves rapidly to become a more inclusive, diverse and welcoming campus,” wrote Scott.

The announcement comes on the eve of a planned protest organized by the Black Student Leaders Association (BSLA) in collaboration with the University of Ottawa Students’ Union (UOSU) and the Ottawa Public Interest Research Group (OPIRG) protesting the legitimacy of the Action Committee on Anti-Racism and Inclusion. 

“The University of Ottawa is currently engaging in a dangerous cycle, which continuously prevents any possibility of change while maintaining positive PR,” wrote the co-organizers of the protest on their Facebook page. 

“This cycle continues to exploit members of our community while inflicting further harm onto our community. At this time, we reject the invitation to participate in their Action Committee on Anti-Racism and Inclusion and do not recognize its legitimacy.”

The protest is planned to begin on the sidewalk beside Morisset Hall where Jamal Koulmiye-Boyce was handcuffed and detained by campus security for over two hours for not having identification in June of 2019.