Statement from Principal Woolf on racism, diversity, and inclusion final report
April 10, 2017
To read the final report, please visit the principal's website.
In late 2016, I worked with Senate to create an implementation committee which we tasked with expeditiously reviewing past reports on racism, diversity, and inclusion at Queen’s and recommending changes that can be made to build a more progressive campus community.
Earlier today, the Principal’s Implementation Committee on Racism, Diversity, and Inclusion (PICRDI) submitted its final report to me – the result of very intensive consultation, review, and discussion on these important issues at Queen’s over the past several months. Their report is now publicly available on my website.
The report is quite extensive and includes numerous recommendations for implementation, both in the short and long term. Over the next week, I will carefully examine the content in advance of the discussion at the Senate meeting on April 18.
Though Queen’s has made progress on some of these issues in recent years, it is evident that we haven’t done enough and that we must view this as a process which requires constant re-evaluation. Our ability to remain a top-tier university will depend on our ability to embrace change – not because we are under intense pressure and scrutiny, but because it is the right thing to do. We will manage progress through education, dialogue, and concrete actions.
In anticipation of this report, and in light of the report from the Queen’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Task Force, Provost Bacon recently announced that $3 million in funds over the next three years has been earmarked to support existing and launch new initiatives related to equity and diversity on our campus, including but not limited to those outlined in the PICRDI report.
In addition, I am pleased to announce that Deputy Provost Teri Shearer will assume responsibility for senior leadership on equity and diversity at Queen’s. The deputy provost portfolio will be redesigned to bring a diversity and inclusion lens to all aspects of university operations. This will include leading the university's response to the PICRDI and TRC reports, overseeing the newly created Office of Indigenous Initiatives, and making additional changes that support equity-seeking groups more broadly (for example, LGBTQ+ and persons with disabilities). As the provost's deputy and a member of the senior executive team, Dr. Shearer is uniquely positioned to oversee institutional changes through her working relationships with the deans, vice-provosts, and vice-principals. More details on this will be announced shortly.
I note that several of the recommendations in the report align with messages which we have received from other Queen’s stakeholder groups over the past year. For instance, it is clear that we must work with students to revise the content of Orientation Week to include mechanisms for training and educating our students on diversity and inclusion in this first week of university.
Last month, the TRC task force released a report that will guide our university community toward sustainable institutional change, and we are hopeful that the PICRDI report will do the same for issues on race and diversity. With these two significant reports in hand, and their alignment with our faculty renewal and employment equity efforts, I am confident that we have started down a path that will lead us to a more inclusive and respectful university.
I thank those of you who provided comments and feedback, which helped inform much of the report, and those faculty, staff, and students who supported the committee and its members. In particular, and on behalf of the entire Queen’s community, I thank the members of the committee for their lasting contribution to this conversation at Queen’s. This was not an easy task to undertake, and yet they volunteered a significant amount of their time and energy to ensure that Queen’s becomes a more welcoming place for all.
Principal and Vice-Chancellor