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eSSENTIAL ACCESSIBILITY Crisis Centre

President's Equity Taskforce

We need to be an open tent; we need to make sure that everyone feels welcome in our community. Fostering diversity, equity and inclusivity is an active process reflected on an hour- by‐hour basis by how we act, think and lead. We must inspire and nurture divergent thinking, especially when it threatens our own worldview. I believe that these are the core values of what it means to be a university in a western, liberal democracy. We are privileged to inhabit these spaces, but these spaces take a lot of courage and hard work to maintain. It is a privilege to work at a university; a fundamental truth that we need to acknowledge every day. We can have controversial points of view, we can debate, we can study, we can learn, we can teachDr. Steven Murphy, President & Vice-Chancellor; Installation Speech; May 8, 2018.

Equity and inclusivity are fundamental values that define our institution. They drive innovation and excellence, enhance quality and integrity, and help us to achieve our potential as a university community. But we recognize that awareness of the value of equity and good intentions for a more equitable university community are not enough. We must examine and address discriminatory practices, policies and attitudes that constrain opportunity, innovation and achievement. President Murphy asserts that an active Equity Plan will align with the university’s mission and vision, and is a necessary step in achieving our strategic goals.

Equity

Works purposely to ensure fair treatment, access, opportunity, and advancement for all members students, faculty, and staff which ensures their potential for full participation

Diversity

The presence and of human differences and similarities across all social identities and experiences

Inclusion

The process of valuing everyone’s unique talents and abilities so that all can participate in ways that honour both the individual and the collective to create a dynamic and creative environment

To remedy policies and practices that perpetuate inequity we need to recognize the groups most likely to experience barriers:

  • Indigenous persons;
  • Persons with a disability;
  • Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer, 2-spirit, Non-binary (LGBTQ2+) persons;
  • Racialized persons;
  • Women.

Full representation and inclusion requires commitment to the idea that the academy benefits when it reflects society with diverse groups, perspectives, ideas and scholarship represented. As an example, Canadian universities have struggled to increase diversity among scholars who hold the prestigious Canada Research Chair (CRC). Despite the CRC program’s long-standing goal of achieving equity and diversity targets, many universities have fallen short. To challenge this lack of diversity, Canada’s Minister of Science set clear diversity goals for universities, demanding public commitments and plans, and the potential loss of allocated Chairs if the targets are not met. Equity and inclusion planning must be followed with action supported by the senior administration of each university.

Addressing equity at UOIT

At UOIT, inequity and discrimination happen in many contexts, with diverse consequences. Stories of discrimination on campus are common, and they emphasize a growing awareness and inspiration that this discrimination must be addressed. The expectation of government, institutional stakeholders, and the public are for plans and actions to identify inequities and discriminatory practices and, more importantly, to remedy them.

Examples of current work at UOIT include:

  • A Letter of Understanding between UOIT and its Faculty Association encouraging more deliberate strategies for becoming an equitable and inclusive organization;
  • Active bystander training for students and employees;
  • Policies and procedures for students and employees to oppose sexual violence;
  • A working group to address new equity and diversity requirements of the
    Canada Research Chair program;
  • A team of Student Equity Ambassadors who develop and deliver programming
    on inclusivity, equity, wellness, and social change;
  • A Women in Science Committee to discuss issues facing female researchers at
    our institution and in their broader disciplinary environments.

These disparate initiatives underscore the need for a more coordinated institutional strategy. Already it is clear that addressing discriminatory practices at the university requires:

  • Investigating and naming the issues faced by those discriminated against;
  • Acknowledging the impact of discrimination;
  • Constructing, with those affected, viable solutions and remedies; and
  • Implementing practices that reduce discrimination and inequity.

The way forward also requires consolidating university-wide equity and inclusion efforts that could achieve more if done in a more public and collaborative manner. To this end, the President has tasked Robert Bailey, Provost and VP Academic, to assemble a coordinated group, the President’s Equity Taskforce (PET).



Territorial Acknowledgment
We wish to acknowledge the lands and show respect for the people of the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation. We are situated on the Traditional Territory of the Mississaugas, a branch of the greater Anishinaabeg Nation which includes Ojibway, Odawa and Pottawatomi