U of G establishes anti-racism policy statement

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The University of Guelph has created a comprehensive anti-racism policy statement for the institution, a first for Ontario universities. This is the next important step in the University’s ongoing commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion.

“We know that racism is a harsh daily reality for many Canadians,” said Indira Naidoo-Harris, Associate Vice President, Office of Diversity and Human Rights. “This is unacceptable.

“As an institution of higher learning, we have a responsibility to build the right foundation for people to be treated with respect and acceptance,” Naidoo-Harris said. “This statement will give the university community the tools it needs to identify and combat racism when it occurs.”

The Anti-Racism Policy Statement is part of a larger effort

Dr. Jade Ferguson

The policy statement stems from the Anti-Racism Action Plan developed in 2020. In early 2021, the President’s Anti-Racism Advisory Committee tasked a subcommittee to develop an anti-racism policy for the University. The subcommittee included diverse voices, perspectives, ideas, and experiences from students, faculty, and staff.

“Many of our racialized students, faculty and staff don’t always feel welcome and included in our community,” said Dr. Jade Ferguson, associate dean, University Academic Equity and Anti-Racism. “The subcommittee emphasized the need for the University to assess policies and practices, processes and attitudes that would ensure fair and equitable treatment.”

The Anti-Racism Policy Statement aims to help identify, dismantle and eliminate racism in all its forms. It defines racism and racial discrimination and clearly articulates the University’s strong commitment to combating racism.

The policy statement will serve as the foundation for anti-racism and inclusion work at the U of G, as part of a broader effort to mainstream equity, diversity and inclusion, a said Naidoo-Harris. “It creates a common understanding and highlights the expectations of our community in the fight against racism and racial discrimination.

“We all have a role to play in building a caring, tolerant and just university where everyone has a sense of belonging,” she added.

The policy statement is a critical step forward in undoing and repairing the impact of racism on campus, Ferguson said. “Systemic racism has long been entrenched in higher education. The policy statement outlines the University’s proactive responsibility to reduce the harms of racism on campus and in the community at large.

Steps in the U of G Anti-Racism Policy Statement

Actionable steps provided in the policy statement include:

  • Review, monitor and implement policies and practices to remove systemic barriers to full participation in all facets of university life.
  • Provide pathways for integrating anti-racism into pedagogy, curricula and learning.
  • Review and strengthen processes, including but not limited to the University’s human rights policy and procedures that support a culture of inclusion and a respectful environment free of racism and discrimination racial.
  • Develop an anti-racism lens in the University’s research ecosystem to embed fair practices throughout the research lifecycle.
  • Provide the campus community with education and resources to recognize, promote, and engage in anti-racism and racial equity practices.
  • Engage with members of racialized communities at the University to understand and work to meet their needs.

The policy statement focuses on the “big picture” of university activities, Ferguson said. “The focus is on the interlinkages and interactive effects of racism and racial discrimination in teaching and learning, research, recruitment and retention.”

“While specific acts of racism on campus are not addressed, the policy statement sets expectations for a racism-free university environment, which requires reviewing and strengthening our existing complaint and reporting processes,” added Ferguson.

Strong and effective equity, diversity, inclusion and anti-racism efforts will better position the University to recruit, retain and develop top talent from around the world, Naidoo-Harris said, leading to the improving programs, services, academic excellence, innovation and students. Hit.

Real learning at U of G must be inclusive

Indira Naidoo-Harris leans against a pale red brick wall.
Indira Naidoo Harris

The Anti-Racism Policy Statement aligns with other U of G policies, including the Human Rights Policy and Procedures, Non-Academic Misconduct Policy, Policies and Sexual Violence Procedures, Workplace Harassment Prevention Policy and Workplace Harassment Prevention Policy and Program and Self-Disclosure Policy.

The Anti-Racism Policy Statement will be updated as needed to reflect changing needs and circumstances at the University and in society.

“Working on equity, diversity, inclusion and anti-racism is a lifelong journey, not a destination,” Naidoo-Harris said.

“Making this work a priority is fundamental and imperative for us to succeed as a post-secondary institution,” she said. “True learning and education cannot take place if it does not include everyone.”

The Anti-Racism Policy Statement is publicly available on the University Secretariat webpage.

Contact:

Meghan Sinclair
[email protected]

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