UCARE Announces First Co-Chairs

Members of the university council on anti racism and equity at queen's
The inaugural members of the University Council on Anti-Racism and Equity. The group met for the first time in late January to organize for the year ahead. (University Communications)

At a special planning meeting, the University Council on Anti-Racism and Equity (UCARE) named its first-ever co-chairs.

Stephanie Simpson, Artsci’95, Ed’97, MEd’11, Executive Director (Human Rights and Equity Offices) and University Advisor on Equity and Human Rights; and Mona Rahman, Sc’93, PhD’01, Coordinator, Research Activities and Communications, Office of the VP (Research), were appointed to the leadership roles on this new council.

“With the co-chairs installed, we have the right resources in place to shape our next steps on the path to becoming a more inclusive community,” says Teri Shearer, Deputy Provost (Academic Operations and Inclusion). “We are focused on creating a safe and inclusive living and learning environment, and we are committed to two-way dialogue with all members of the community on this issue. The work that UCARE will be doing represents a critical part of these commitments.”

Both Ms. Simpson and Dr. Rahman have deep roots in the Queen’s community, and they have worked together on equity causes in the past. While they were Queen’s students, Ms. Simpson was president of African Caribbean Students’ Association and Dr. Rahman was president of the Queen’s Muslim Students’ Association. The pair frequently discussed matters of equity and diversity at Queen’s.

“I’m delighted after all of these years to once again be working with Mona to advance equity issues on campus,” says Ms. Simpson. “When Mona and I were students, the university’s human rights and equity mandate was in its infancy. With the establishment of UCARE we are seeing two important developments – increased direct involvement in anti-racism and equity from our administration, and stronger connections between senior leaders and justice-seeking community members. I’m looking forward to seeing the work of the group unfold.”

For her part, Dr. Rahman says she was interested in joining UCARE and taking on co-chair responsibilities because she wants to see the recommendations made through the Principal’s Implementation Committee on Racism, Diversity, and Inclusivity (PICRDI) final report put into action.

“I grew up at Queen’s, and have seen both progress and setbacks over that time,” says Dr. Rahman. “We have many great programs to support diversity and inclusivity at Queen’s – what is needed now is something sustainable, continuous, and proactive. Rather than allowing the conversation to be shaped by whomever is present at the time, we need stable and ongoing infrastructure to address inclusivity matters.”

Ms. Simpson and Dr. Rahman’s terms as co-chair will last until September, providing the committee with the opportunity to determine how new co-chairs will be elected going forward.

The next UCARE meeting will be held on Monday, March 5 from 5 – 6:30 pm in Robert Sutherland Room 202. All members of the Queen’s community are welcome to attend. For more information on UCARE, please visit the Provost’s website.

This story originally appeared in the Queen's Gazette