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Equity Office turns 20

The Queen’s Equity Office marked a milestone and celebrated equity leaders from across Queen’s at an annual symposium.

  • 2017 Tri-Award recipients, along with the Provost and Deputy Provost (Academic Operations and Inclusion). L-R, back to front: Erin LeBlanc, Michael Fisher, Ian Casson, Deputy Provost Teri Shearer, Provost Benoit-Antoine Bacon, Tricia Baldwin, Charlotte Johnston, Em Osborne. (University Communications)
    2017 Tri-Award recipients, along with the Provost and Deputy Provost (Academic Operations and Inclusion). L-R, back to front: Erin LeBlanc, Michael Fisher, Ian Casson, Deputy Provost Teri Shearer, Provost Benoit-Antoine Bacon, Tricia Baldwin, Charlotte Johnston, Em Osborne. (University Communications)
  • A panel explored matters of equity and inclusion within higher education, and took questions from the audience. (University Communications)
    A panel explored matters of equity and inclusion within higher education, and took questions from the audience. (University Communications)
  • Ramna Safeer (Artsci'19), Social Issues Commissioner for the Alma Mater Society, shares a personal story during a panel discussion. (University Communications)
    Ramna Safeer (Artsci'19), Social Issues Commissioner for the Alma Mater Society, shares a personal story during a panel discussion. (University Communications)
  • This cake, printed with the Equity Office's logo on it, helped mark the office's 20th anniversary. (University Communications)
    This cake, printed with the Equity Office's logo on it, helped mark the office's 20th anniversary. (University Communications)
  • The Four Directions Women Singers played an honour song for the award winners, and a travelling song to mark the end of the event. Ramna Safeer (Artsci'19), Social Issues Commissioner for the Alma Mater Society, shares a personal story during a panel discussion. (University Communications)
    The Four Directions Women Singers played an honour song for the award winners, and a travelling song to mark the end of the event. Ramna Safeer (Artsci'19), Social Issues Commissioner for the Alma Mater Society, shares a personal story during a panel discussion. (University Communications)

The Queen’s Equity and Human Rights Offices congratulated various members of the Queen’s community on their efforts to build a more inclusive Queen’s, and celebrated two decades of its own work.

On Tuesday, the offices hosted their Tri-Awards Reception. This annual symposium featured leading speakers on equity and human rights, and recognized four Queen’s employees and two students for their efforts to build a more inclusive Queen’s University.

“We are fortunate in Canada to have a society rich in diversity, and it can be easy to forget that inclusion does not happen by accident,” says Stephanie Simpson, Executive Director (Human Rights and Equity Offices) and University Advisor on Equity and Human Rights. “Successful learning, living, and employment outcomes are the result of a shared responsibility and commitment. The annual Tri-Awards ceremony is a celebration of community as well as the individuals and groups who make remarkable contributions to the advancement of equity, human rights, accessibility, and inclusion here at Queen’s.”

The Equity Office was created following a university-wide restructuring of equity and human-rights initiatives in 1998, when then-Principal William Leggett hired Mary Margaret Dauphinee as Queen’s first University Advisor on Equity.

During the event, attendees honoured the recently retired University Advisor on Equity and Human Rights, Irène Bujara, who was in attendance.

The event’s booklet also paid tribute to Leo Yerxa, an Indigenous artist who created numerous images on behalf of the Queen’s Equity and Human Rights Offices. Yerxa passed away last year. His most recognizable work on the Queen’s campus were the “Woman Recreated” mosaics, which were created in 2012 to recognize the 20th anniversary of the Human Rights office. The mosaics continues to be displayed in the Dunning/Mac-Corry passage and Gordon Hall Room 401.

Here are the 2017 Equity Office Awards Recipients:

Employment Equity

Erin LeBlanc and Michael Fisher. (University Communications)
Erin LeBlanc and Michael Fisher. (University Communications)

Recipients: Michael Fisher, Human Resources Manager, and Erin LeBlanc (Artsci’82, LLM’12), Adjunct Lecturer (Smith School of Business)
Project: Transgender Transitioning Guideline

Fisher and LeBlanc worked together to initiate the development of Transgender Transitioning Guidelines for the Smith School of Business. Foundational to the process of developing these guidelines was the goal of identifying and removing barriers for individuals transitioning in the workplace both now and into the future.

Fisher exemplified the spirit of stepping up to the mark and then going beyond expectations in establishing a safe and supportive professional environment.

Through speaking opportunities and community engagement, LeBlanc continues to be an advocate in the areas for gender identity and gender expression at Queen's and beyond.

 

Human Rights Initiative

Tricia Baldwin. (University Communications)
Tricia Baldwin. (University Communications)

Recipient: Tricia Baldwin, Director of the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts
Project: Human Rights Festival at the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts

Based on tremendous contributions to the Isabel Human Rights Arts Festival, Baldwin was able to organize an event which provided a lasting benefit to the Queen's and Kingston community. In addition, it brought social justice messages to life and changed the cultural landscape through artistic mediums and experiences.

In 2018 the Human Rights Festival continued to grow and expand, attracting a diversity of attendees from the University, Kingston and beyond.

 

Steve Cutway Accessibility Award

Ian Casson. (University Communications)
Ian Casson. (University Communications)

First recipient: Ian Casson, Assistant Professor, Department of Family Medicine
Project: Health Check Program

Over the past five years, Dr. Casson has been the driving force in developing, promoting and distributing tools to promote the innovative Health Check Program.

Housed within the Queen’s Department of Family Medicine, the primary care clinic implemented the Health Check Program to reduce inequities in health care for adults with intellectual and development disabilities.

Dr. Casson has worked unwaveringly throughout the progress of this initiative, all the while upholding the values of providing respectful and equitable health care to people with disabilities.

 

Em Osborne (left) and Charlotte Johnston (centre). (University Communications)
Em Osborne (left) and Charlotte Johnston (centre). (University Communications)

Second recipients: Em Osborne (Artsci’17) and Charlotte Johnston (Con.Ed’17) 
Project: Access Art

As part of the Isabel Centre Human Rights Art Festival, Johnston and Osborne were instrumental in organizing the widely successful Access Art project which examined intersecting facets of identity through artistic mediums.

Johnston and Osborne gave countless hours towards this project, with enthusiastic and positive attitudes amid the course of maintaining their academic endeavours.

As a quote from the visitor book states “The importance of this type of space cannot be overstated. You are making the change, and I’m humbled to witness it”.

 

To open the event, the audience heard from speakers Sheila Cote-Meek and Minelle Mahtani. Dr. Cote-Meek, who is Anishinaabe from the Teme-Augama Anishnabai, spoke to her experience as an Indigenous woman and as an academic, and offered suggestions on Indigenizing the academy and making it a more inclusive place for Indigenous Peoples.

Sheila Cote-Meek. (University Relations)

Dr. Mahtani’s talk, meanwhile, was focused on marginalized voices, and drew from her own experience as she worked to enter academia.

Following the two keynotes, Dr. Cote-Meek and Dr. Mahtani joined Queen’s own Ramna Safeer (Artsci’18), Social Issues Commissioner with the Alma Mater Society; Awet Weldemichael, Associate Professor and Queen's National Scholar on African and World History; Lauren Winkler (Artsci'17, JD'20), past president of the Queen’s Native Student Association and past member of the Queen’s Truth and Reconciliation task force; and Beverley Mullings, Associate Professor and Queen’s National Scholar in the Department of Geography and Planning, for a broader conversation about equity in academia.