‘Black students need a safe space on campus’: Western University’s BSA president on shifting the social club to a political group

The Black Students’ Association at Western University is doing things a little differently this year, under a brand new executive team. The new president of the association, 20-year-old Razan Mohamed, is advocating for action and change on the university campus.

“A change I really wanted to make this year, as president, was to reaffirm a safe space for Black students and to work on more structural changes within the university,” she explained, “Black students need a safe space on campus. It’s not enough for this to just be a social club — we have to do more.”

Razan is a third-year Health Sciences student who has been involved in BSA since her first year. She joined the club as a general member by attending monthly meetings. A few months into the school year, she applied for an executive position within the club and became BSA’s First-Year Representative.

“Throughout my time in BSA, I’ve realized that everything is intertwined with race topics,” she said. “While my degree focuses on Environmental Health, we learn about environmental racism and the injustices against people of colour in many different inexplicit ways.”

When asked about her motivation behind making a structural change within the club, Razan said: “Where I grew up in Toronto, I was raised in a very diverse community. Coming to London for school, I think, was a bit of a culture shock to the community here, and that disconnect or indifference makes many first-year students feel excluded.”

Razan’s goal for this year is to work alongside other clubs, like the Chinese Student Association, to change the way the student body views race and racial identity. BSA is holding monthly open discussions in which both members and non-members are welcome to attend and participate in civil conversations about occupying space as a person of colour in today’s political climate.

She hopes to hold events that bring light to racism and prejudice at Western and create a safer space for all minority groups: “BSA is a really fun social club, but, at its core, it is really a political group. I want to make sure that Black students feel comfortable in their own skin, so I want to implement real action during my time here.”

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Fiona Huynh

Fiona Huynh

Academic pieces from my time as a Media and Digital Communications student at Western University.