Principal provides update on the Declaration of Commitment to Address Systemic Racism

Principal Deane prioritizes EDII initiatives, student representation, and communication 

The initial declaration was released in August.

Principal Patrick Deane released an update to the student body addressing progress made to combat anti-Black, anti-Indigenous racism at Queen’s, which he’d originally released in August as an 11–point Declaration of Commitment to Address Systemic Racism

Principal Deane addressed the finalizing of comprehensive policy and procedures included in a Harassment and Discrimination Policy. Using the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) guidelines, the policy adapts definitions of race and racism and values inclusion and community education. 

The updated policy also commits to ensuring prompt response, efficient intake, fair and effective resolution, and improved data collection through a centralized, holistic approach to harassment and discrimination.

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Regarding LGBTQIA2S+ matters, a Sexual and Gender Diversity Action group has been created to inform and shape policy and initiatives, prioritizing LGBTQIA2S+ considerations and concerns in decision making. 

Supported by the involvement of student leaders, the University has also finalized a campus climate survey. Deane said the survey is an invaluable resource in benchmarking the progress in addressing systemic racism, discrimination, and harassment.  

Addressing the recruitment and admissions process, Deane detailed significant progress made to increasing diversity of the student body under the Division of Student Affairs. He pointed to the creation of the Equity Admission Self-Identification form, with 4,000 prospective students self-identifying to date. 

The form serves to determine the success of diverse student outreach, according to Deane, and contribute to the progress made to ensure support for underrepresented student groups. 

Deane discussed grants and bursaries provided to underrepresented students like the Commitment Scholars Award, which is granted to students demonstrating leadership and a commitment to diversity initiatives and racial and social justice. The Commitment Bursary will also provide financial support to BIPOC, LGBTQIA2S+ students, and persons with disabilities.

Regarding faculty-specific work, Deane said action has been taken to address EDII concerns in all areas of student life including living, learning, and research and work environments. Deane detailed the recent implementation of a Black Studies minor and the appointment of the first Assistant Dean in EDII to the Faculty of Arts and Science. 

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The Faculty of Health Sciences launched both an EDII Office as well as the Dean’s Action Table on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. The Smith School of Business is also holding consultations on a EDII Strategy and Action Plan draft. 

Regarding education and training, Deane announced the implementation of mandatory staff training titled Working Together, which has been designed by the Human Rights and Equity Office to educate on EDII concerns and practices. 

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