The Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina (UFSC) took a decisive step in the fight against intolerance in the university environment. On 29 November, the University Council (CUn) has unanimously approved, in an ordinary session, the Policy for Confronting Institutional Racism, which is a set of rules divided into seven chapters, providing guidance from the identification of discriminatory acts to how to report, to follow-up and to offer support to the victims. The final document is the result of the direct effort of a group of more than 30 people, comprising representatives of UFSC and social movements, among others; in addition to a plural debate promoted by a public hearing at the beginning of the month.
The session that approved the Policy for Confronting Institutional Racism was not only attended by CUn counselors. The reading of the document draft and the voting were followed by students, faculty, technical-administrative staff members and representatives of social movements, such as the Movimento Negro Unificado [Unified Black Movement], which has been active in Brazil for over 40 years.
Professor Thainá Castro Costa Figueiredo Lopes, representative of the School of Philosophy and Human Sciences (CFH) at CUn, was the rapporteur in the process and recommended the approval of the policy, considering the document to be “an important tool for reducing inequality and democratizing knowledge.” After reading the draft, the counselors had the opportunity to suggest changes and ask questions about the final text. The suggestions were accepted by the working group responsible for the definitive text. The proposal was unanimously approved around 6 p.m, under everyone’s applause.
Watch the comment of the rector of UFSC after the CUn meeting:
Against all discrimination, in defense of all.
The Policy for Confronting Institutional Racism lists different forms of discrimination that must be dealt with at the university. Thus, Nazism, anti-Semitism, xenophobia, and hate speech against religions, among others, are also included as aggressions. The document also lists Epistemic Racism as a practice to be fought. It is described as undermining the value of scientific productions merely because they do not comply with Western canons. It was emphasized by representatives of social movements as a significant progress of UFSC’s Policy for Confronting Institutional Racism.
In addition to the concern about students, faculty, and technical administrative staff members, the document approved by the CUn also establishes guidelines on how to deal with cases of racism involving employees of outsourced companies working for the university and the community in general. The Policy for Confronting Institutional Racism indicates how to deal with these episodes while supporting the victims and opening channels for them to report the aggressions.
In addition, the document presents the educational character about the theme that the university must adopt. Thus, courses to train the university community on how to confront and prevent aggression should be promoted. There are plans to institutionalize the theme in the curricula and provide specific training for those who will work directly with the victims.
Historic Session right in Novembro Negro [Black November]
During the CUn session, after reading the draft of the document, counselors, students, and members of social movements reinforced the importance of the Policy for Confronting Institutional Racism. Many referred to the day as “historic.” The vice-rector of UFSC, Joana Célia dos Passos, pointed out that the approval of the draft took place within the scope of Novembro Negro – a set of events that celebrate Black Awareness Day at the University. “By implementing this policy, we have the opportunity to change Brazilian society,” highlighted the vice-rector. In the end, the rector of UFSC, Irineu Manoel de Souza, who chaired CUn, closed the session under applause: “All this work was only possible thanks to the effort of the group,” he said moved.
Translated by SINTER/UFSC.
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