This award will be given to BIPOC undergraduate students in the Biology department to help with any financial stress, including tuition fees, rent, groceries, and so on. This campaign was launched by a group of students, along with the support of the Department of Biology.
We decided this award is not a scholarship based on academic achievement, but rather a bursary based on financial need. The significance of a bursary acknowledges the additional barriers BIPOC students may face in their lives, including caretaking of children/siblings, working multiple jobs to support multiple family members, or attending university without the financial support of family. We hope this relieves some pressure for a BIPOC student to maintain their mental health and to support their academic work.
The name of the bursary will be decided later on in the 2020-2021 academic year.
Moving forward we have a responsibility to recognize BIPOC and their contributions to science as scientific progress has been built on the backs of black bodies through experimentation while simultaneously being erased in history books. We can no longer ignore their knowledge and contributions that have pushed us forward. This includes the repair of vesico-vaginal fistula, the polio vaccine, genome mapping, experimentation of contraceptives, and other experiments that have been conducted without consent. It is our hope that we learn about our history and ensure that we do not continue to whitewash science. We have to give credit when credit is due and uplift the knowledge and voices of people of colour.