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How do You Stand Up to Your Own Organization?

CW: abuse, institutional violence


In this episode, Aspen Murray (above right) and Juliette Escande (above left), co-presidents of the McGill University chapter of Engineers Without Borders Canada/ EWB, explain the events leading up to their chapter boycotting the organization.

Their brave and powerful action kicked off a wave of boycotts, with other chapters soon joining them. As of mid-July 2019, nine university chapters are boycotting EWB: McGill, Concordia, Alberta, McMaster, Queens, ETS, Manitoba, Polytechnique, and York.

Aspen and Juliette lend their wisdom on a wide range of topics including bystanderism, rape culture, fake allyship, careerism, groupthink, standing by one’s values, whistleblowing in a social media era, the history of workplace harassment, institutional memory, and how people in their own lives have reacted to their activism.

What’s Next for EWB?

Towards the end of the discussion, Juliette imagines an ‘impossible’, ideal future for EWB: apologies, a brand new Board of Directors, a new CEO, independent investigations, and a full reckoning with past wrongs. Reflecting on that, she states, “That’s not even a hard thing to do… I think that’s what’s so exhausting and draining is that what is simple has become impossible– when in reality it’s just the right thing to do.”

Aspen closes off by emphasizing that it’s difficult to change an institution when everything is built on a shaky foundation.

Guests: Juliette Escande, Aspen Murray

Host: Chelsey Rhodes

Musical theme: by Buda Bap Beats https://www.instagram.com/budabapbeats/