'It no longer felt right': Indigenous University of Sask. professor quits over alleged racism, discrimination
SASKATOON -- An Indigenous University of Saskatchewan (U of S) assistant professor has resigned after he says he experienced racism on the job.
Jaris Swidrovich is recognized as Canada’s first Indigenous doctor of pharmacy.
Swidrovich has worked at the College of Pharmacy and Nutrition for six years.
“As an Indigenous scholar, I could no longer justify or tolerate working there,” Swidrovich said in a tweet.
“I don’t have another job, which is scary, but I need to heal.”
In a statement to CTV News, Swidrovich said he experienced racism and discrimination at the unviersity.
“It had started to affect me at all levels of my health and wellbeing,” Swidrovich said.
“It no longer felt right to continue my teaching and scholarly work in the areas of racism and Indigenous heath as an employee of an institution that has inadequately responded to racism.”
In an emailed statement, the U of S said it’s “saddened” by Swidrovich’s resignation, and is respectful of his personal decision.
Airini, the university’s provost and academic vice-president, said school officials have been meeting with Indigenous employees over the past year to “learn about their experiences and develop a plan of action to support Indigenous faculty and staff.”
Airini said the university understands that there are challenges that Indigenous people face on-campus and at academic institutions across Canada.
“We remain committed and ready to learn and continue to take action,” Airini said in an email to CTV News.
“There is optimism and belief that our university can serve as a representative of systemic change.”
Swidrovich is from the Yellow Quill First Nation. He’s involved with the Saskatoon Community Clinic, Sanctum Care Group and is currently seeking NDP nomination in the Saskatoon West riding for the next federal election.
According to Swidrovich, his resignation is effective August 31, 2021.