Equity Committee

The Equity Committee was established in the winter term of 2006-07 to focus on equity in the Sociology department. Our mandate is promote the intellectual spirit and concerns of social justice and equity studies—the analysis of historical inequalities of race, gender, sexuality and disability and support for greater equity, justice and diversity in social and political life. The practical mandate of the committee is limited to developing departmental initiatives in curriculum development and planning, departmental policy and administration related to teaching allocation, graduate admissions, graduate student recruitment, scholarships, the teaching/research/learning environment, and research and departmental resources for faculty and students.
The term ‘equity’ acknowledges that at times the allocation of resources and entitlements may need to focus on particular groups, individuals or areas of concern in order to allow and encourage their full participation in departmental practices and decision-making. The touchstone of equity is proactive intervention on behalf of subordinate groups. Through history and through government and institutional initiatives, specific groups have been identified as the focus of concerns about equity. The activities of this committee are not, however, limited to these groups but remain sensitive to the particular equity concerns of the Sociology department as they arise. As a result, concerns about equity may include childcare and family needs, the allocation of space, funding and teaching, practices around hiring, promotion and retirement and research agendas, particularly as they affect members differentiated on the basis of race, class, gender, sexuality, age, religion, ethnicity, ability, political and research commitment, and intersections of these. The committee also explores how the Sociology department as a whole can continue to work in equitable ways, and in ways that reflect the intellectual concerns and spirit of current research in equity studies.

The committee does not have a mandate to resolve or adjudicate individual grievances about equity. However, as a committee it may gather information about and provide general support for students and faculty who have concerns about equity and social justice within the department. Students are invited to participate in our projects described below.

The committee’s unique ad hoc status has permitted a structure in which graduate students have always been numerous. Recruitment of undergraduate students has been highly successful. As a result, the committee functions as a vibrant team whose members not only share a dedication to the cause of equity, but also to democratic decision-making and open dialogue about relevant issues, consistent with the letter and spirit of our mandate. If you have an interest in equity issues, and would like to get involved with the committee, please contact us via email or directly to any committee member.

From 2007 to 2013, the Equity committee focused its efforts on the Social Justice Essay Prize, which awarded a prize to the best essays written on the theme of social justice. Beginning in 2013-14, the Equity Committee began two new initiatives to improve departmental awareness about the equity concerns of sociology students.

Comment Box:

Together with the promotion of our Gmail box, the Comment Box functions as an invitation to undergraduate students to communicate with committee members about their concerns or questions. The Equity Committee welcomes all submissions to the Comment Box, whether they are anonymous or not. Examples are: experiences with the curriculum, student life, learning, teaching, evaluation and policies that highlight inequities of race, ethnicity, ability, gender and class.  Students may also have suggestions for new projects for the committee, or for how the Sociology department may continue to integrate equity and social justice concerns into its curriculum and policies.

Resource Guide:

The guide not only lists individuals, units, committees, activities, and organizations on campus that are related to social justice and equity issues, but also courses on equity related issues. This is a unique contribution to the other equity resources available on campus now available from other units with whom we collaborate. With links to units such as SGPS, the Equity Office, the Human Rights Office, and ultimately to the Inclusive Community page on Queen’s main website, the Resource Guide attests to the growing recognizability of the committee as we continue to work with allied groups on campus to achieve shared goals.

The Equity Committee e-newsletter for all sociology majors featuring articles written by committee members, interviews, events announcements, responses to campus events, and invitations for articles, reviews of media, online sites, films, and readings.