Just over a year ago, the Principal’s Implementation Committee on Racism, Diversity and Inclusion (PICRDI) and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Task Force presented their final reports about how to make Queen’s a more inclusive, diverse and welcoming institution, and one that also values and reflects Indigenous histories and perspectives. Since then, many people across the institution have been working towards these goals and I’m pleased with the progress we have made so far.
This week, we released the one-year implementation reports for PICRDI and TRC and in the reports you will find very extensive updates on all of the initiatives and projects that have taken place. This first year has focused on building the foundation we need to guide long-term, sustainable change. Most notably, this includes expanding Deputy Provost Teri Shearer’s profile to cover our diversity and inclusion portfolio, establishing the University Council on Anti-Racism and Equity (UCARE), instituting the Office of Indigenous Initiatives and appointing Kanonhsyonne (Janice Hill) as the first Director of Indigenous Initiatives, as well as having all areas of the university develop and implement their own plans for addressing the TRC and PICRDI recommendations.
We need to continue the dialogue that has begun with all members of the community. The long-term change we are striving for will only happen when everyone—students, faculty, staff and the broader community— is both committed to and engaged in the process, and understands that being a diverse, inclusive and welcoming institution enhances our academic mission, our student experience and our research. We will be a stronger, better Queen’s for doing this work.
There is a saying, “Nothing worth having comes easy.” Certainly we believe that having a diverse, inclusive and welcoming institution is not just worth having, but something we must have. To get there takes a lot of hard work, and we’ve seen a tremendous effort over the past year. However, I want to emphasize that we will not consider our work to be complete once we have ‘checked all the boxes’ on the lists of recommendations. We must continue to prioritize and work towards these ideals. New ideas and initiatives will also emerge and be championed from every corner of the university.
I encourage you to read the implementation reports (PICRDI and TRC) to get a better understanding of what we have collectively accomplished. I thank everyone who has contributed to these initiatives over the past year and those who continue to lead the charge. I look forward to ‘year two’, using the momentum we have built to create positive change at Queen’s.