University of Guelph unveils action plan to combat racism

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The University of Guelph says its action plan to combat racism includes an advisory committee and various initiatives to promote inclusivity.

In a statement, the U of G said the “President’s Advisory Committee on Anti-Racism” will be co-chaired by university president Charlotte Yates and Prof. Lawrence Hill, a renowned author, an advocate of racial equality, and an analyst of racial identity and discrimination.

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The committee will be made up of students, staff, faculty and community members, with at least 70 per cent representation from the Black, Indigenous, people of colour (BIPOC) communities.

It’s expected to develop a policy to address racism on campus and promote anti-racism efforts. This includes identifying and addressing systemic barriers.

It will also advise the school’s senior leadership on how to address racism and discrimination.

“U of G has a long-standing commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion on our campuses, but we have not done enough,” Yates said.

“We know that we have fallen short, that gaps remain and injustices have occurred affecting members of our Black campus community and other equity-seeking groups. We need to do more, and we need to do better — now.”

Other highlights of the anti-racism action plan include:

  • developing a BIPOC hiring plan that addresses gaps in representation among staff and faculty
  • developing a targeted recruitment strategy and setting goals and incentives to recruit BIPOC students
  • creating scholarships for BIPOC students
  • rolling out the $200,000 Inclusion Enhancement Fund to create equity and inclusion on campus
  • developing and distributing self-identification surveys to clearly portray the racial diversity of students, faculty and staff
  • providing anti-racism and anti-bias training for senior university leaders
  • developing a Black studies minor
  • continuing the new anti-oppression and anti-racism online training module for students, faculty and staff and the new for-credit undergraduate course on anti-discrimination and anti-oppression
  • continuing initiatives to foster an improved campus environment

Yates said the action plan includes recommendations made by students, faculty, staff and community members who have advocated for change, especially in recent months.

“The goal is to build on their efforts and bring together U of G’s BIPOC communities to advise and guide us in advancing real change on our campuses and beyond,” she said.

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More information on the action plan can be found on the university’s website.

Global News has reached out to the Guelph Black Students Association for comment and has not yet heard back.

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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