The Scarborough Charter and Queen's University
In November 2021 Queen's became a signatory to the Scarborough Charter.
The Scarborough Charter On Anti-Black Racism and Black Inclusion in Canadian Higher Education was created following the 2020 National Dialogues and Action for Inclusive Higher Education and Communities. In November 2021, Principal Patrick Deane signed the Scarborough Charter, committing Queen's to implementation of the Charter's various action items and to full accountability to a sector network of signatory institutions.
Since the release of the PICRDI report almost five years ago, the university has made some noteworthy progress. The Human Rights and Equity Office, Human Resources, Division of Student Affairs, and the Office of Institutional Research & Planning have worked together to identify gaps in representation across campus, specifically considering disaggregated statistics on Black community representation.
The Charter Implementation Framework is oriented around four broad themes articulated in the Scarborough Charter:
Black Community Representation and Inclusion
Teaching, Learning, and Student Success
The Scarborough Charter builds on work already in progress, such as the Declaration of Commitment to Address Systemic Racism. Support is still needed for career progression and retention of Black managerial, administrative and support staff. While hires of underrepresented staff and faculty have increased, the institution struggles with retention. Furthermore, representation of Black faculty in tenured positions and research and leadership roles is low. We need to partner to redress Black underrepresentation within Tri-Council research grant selection and recognition practices. We also need more education on anti-Black racism for all community members while we build internal capacity for supporting Black flourishing on campus. Finally, while we have gathered data on the experiences of Black students, we need also to collect data on the climate for staff and faculty and to disaggregate that data in order to address the particular challenges faced by Black staff and faculty members.
Anti-Black racism is just one type of racism experienced on our campus. The Black community at Queen’s is an integral part of our diverse campus community and reflects a component of a broader EDII commitment that is central to the mission, vision and values of Queen’s and imperative to the future success of our institution.
Working Groups have been formed to focus on the priorities identified by the Scarborough Charter. During Spring and Summer 2022, the Working Groups will meet regularly and work on environmental scans, with the goal of engaging the Queen's community in a consultation process during Fall 2022.
Scarborough Charter Working Groups
Lead: Stephanie Simpson
Administrative Support: Jill Christie
Leads: Martha Munezhi and Lon Knox
Administrative Support: Patricia Ballenas
Lead: Katherine McKittrick and Betsy Donald
Administrative Support: Aleksandra Bergier
Lead: Corinna Fitzgerald and Lavonne Hood
Administrative Support: Carlyn McQueen
Lead: Yinka Adegbusi and Heather Cole
Administrative Support: Anne Martineau
National Dialogues and Action For Inclusive Higher Education and Communities and the Scarborough Charter
In the fall of 2020, a team of staff, administrators, scholars and educators, led by Principal Dr. Wisdom Tettey at U of T Scarborough, invited Queen’s and universities and colleges across the country to participate in frank discussion of higher education’s role in perpetuating anti-Black racism, as well as the promise these institutions hold as champions of learning and research for the benefit of the planet and all humanity. The National Dialogues resulted in the creation of the Scarborough Charter on Anti-Black Racism and Black Inclusion in Canadian Higher Education.
As a Charter signatory, Queen’s pledges accountability to Black communities and all communities experiencing structural barriers to equity and inclusion, as well as an end to discrimination, underrepresentation, and inequity. We pledge to recognize the vibrancy of Black life and thought within an institution that has systematically denied or minimized its existence. And finally, we recognize that our success does not lie in pledges alone but the degree to which each of us, in our various roles and occupations, is prepared to speak out and to act, alongside Black communities, in support of Black life and thriving.Read the Charter
Endings and beginnings: Acting in honour of Black lives
In the spring of 2020, the world bore witness once again to the truth of anti-Black racism, exposed through the brutal erasure of yet another Black life at the hands of police. As a university, we were forced to reflect on what it meant to be human witnesses not only to physical violence, but to the many forms of abuse and injustice that continue to be levelled against Black and marginalized communities, neighbours, friends, and colleagues. We were forced to acknowledge that the death of a black man in Minneapolis was not an isolated incident but rather symptomatic of the systemic disavowal of Black life that continues to be woven into all our institutions, including the education sector.
Educational systems in Canada were founded in the colonial dispossession and oppression of Indigenous and many marginalized groups. It continues to be a place where Black people experience discrimination, underrepresentation, and a failure to be recognized as vital contributors to society. The Scarborough Charter reminds us that the work of equity and liberation from oppression is unfinished, but that there are many achievable steps we can take together to bring about a just and vibrant future.
What can you do?
The various sections of this website are an invitation to read the Scarborough Charter, learn more about Black traditions of liberatory struggle and action, become better informed about universities’ initiatives, and engage in meaningful dialogue with colleagues about what Queen’s must do now to end anti-Black racism and interconnected oppressions.Read the Charter