The University of Guelph has a new action plan for addressing racism, hatred and discrimination, including a new presidential advisory committee and initiatives to promote equity, diversity and inclusivity.
The action plan was unveiled this fall by president Charlotte Yates. It includes and builds on recommendations made by students, faculty, staff and community members who have advocated for change, especially in recent months.
“Their hard work and calls for action were the impetus for our action plan,” Yates says. “The goal is to build on their efforts and bring together U of G’s Black, Indigenous and people of colour (BIPOC) communities to advise and guide us in advancing real change on our campuses and beyond.”
Working collaboratively, the President’s Advisory Committee on Anti-Racism will develop a policy to address racism on campus and promote anti-racism efforts. This includes identifying and addressing systemic barriers to full and equal participation on U of G campuses and in the University’s policies, procedures and practices.
“U of G has a long-standing commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion on our campuses, but we have not done enough,” Yates says.
THERE IS SO MUCH WORK TO BE DONE — AT U OF G, IN CANADA, AROUND THE WORLD – TO HELP END THE CYCLE OF RACIAL INJUSTICE.
Referencing the rise and increased visibility of anti-Black and anti-Indigenous racism in Canada and around the world, Yates adds: “The University of Guelph, like other public institutions, has an obligation to pay attention to historical and ongoing injustice and racism.”
The President’s Advisory Committee on Anti-Racism will advise the senior leadership team about how to address racism and discrimination in the University community.
The committee will comprise students, staff, faculty and community members, with at least 70 per cent representation from the BIPOC community.
It will be co-chaired by Yates and Prof. Lawrence Hill, a renowned author, advocate of racial equality and analyst of racial identity and discrimination.
“We have an obligation to act, and to do so as quickly as possible,” says Hill. “There is so much work to be done — at U of G, in Canada, around the world – to help end the cycle of racial injustice.”
The anti-racism action plan will also support and build upon successful Indigenous measures and actions that have improved student support, teaching and curriculum, research and scholarship, governance and the campus environment.
“Working together, we aim to build a campus community where every member belongs, and is able to learn, live and work in an environment free of racism and discrimination,” says Indira Naidoo-Harris, AVP (diversity and human rights).
“It’s time to take the lessons we’ve learned from recent events and use them to bring about action and positive change in our community.”