This past November, Queen’s became a founding signatory of the Scarborough Charter on Anti-Black Racism and Black Inclusion in Canadian Higher Education. Signing this document commits the university to specific goals and targets to work towards eliminating anti-Black racism across the institution and to promote Black representation and flourishing. More than 50 universities and colleges across Canada have signed the Scarborough Charter.
To help direct this work, four committees have been formed to help advance specific targets within each of the four categories that fall under the Charter. For each, two committee co-chairs from faculty and staff have been appointed. These committees work in conjunction with the Principal’s Declaration of Commitment to Address Systemic Racism Implementation Group that was formed two years ago.
“The Charter document is ambitious but more importantly, it is more than just a signature. It commits us to change and evolution, to making progress at Queen’s to eradicate anti-black racism and confront some of the systemic barriers that have been in our way,” says Stephanie Simpson, Associate Vice-Principal, Human Rights, Equity and Inclusion.
The Scarborough Charter committees and co-chairs are working in these specific areas of focus:
· Black Community Representation and Inclusion – Co-chairs: Martha Munezhi and Lon Knox
· Research – Co-chairs: Katherine McKittrick and Betsy Donald
· Teaching, Learning, and Student Success – Co-chairs: Corinna Fitzgerald and Lavonne Hood
· Community Engagement – Co-chairs: Yinka Adegbusi and Heather Cole
Over the summer, the committees will conduct an inventory of our current environment and the initiatives already underway that speak to the specific goals laid out in the document. After that, the working groups will consult with the university community in the fall to find new ways to implement the goals and make progress on our commitments.
“We are embracing the goals set out in the Charter to seek new paths at Queen’s to eliminate anti-black racism, support Black flourishing and ultimately work towards a more just, equitable and civil society,” says Patrick Deane, Principal and Vice-Chancellor.