Last week, the University announced the creation of a new council to facilitate the recommendations put forward by the Principal’s Implementation Committee on Racism Diversity and Inclusion (PICRDI).
The new University Council on Anti-Racism and Equity (UCARE) is expected to hold its first meeting before the end of the year.
Teri Shearer, the deputy provost (academic operations and inclusion) told The Journal the council is responsible for “coordinating, reviewing and reporting on the progress of the university” in the implementation of the PICRDI diversity and inclusion recommendations.
PICRDI was formed in response to racially charged events off and on campus last year, notably the costume party that gained national media attention and was dubbed “the racist party.” The 118-page PICRDI report, released in April, details how the university plans to address issues of racism and diversity on campus.
PICRDI recommends the University implement several new programs like establishing the Alfie Pierce Student Centre for Racial Equity and Social Justice, similar to the Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre.
As well, the report tackles hiring, training, education and accountability for high-level administration members.
The UCARE council will total 17 members at its first meeting. Members include the Principal, the Provost, the Director of the Human Rights Office, the Vice-Provost, Dean of Students, the Chair of the Senate Educational Equity Committee, the AMS Commissioner of Social Issues, the SGPS Equity and Diversity Commissioner, three members of faculty, three members of staff, two students at-large and two members of the Kingston community or Alumni.
The council is accepting applications for faculty, staff, student and community members until October 22, with their membership announced in November. According to the Gazette, the council will maintain “at least 51 per cent representation from racialized groups.”
UCARE is expected to work in partnership with student, faculty and staff groups on campus to facilitate PICRDI’s recommendations and create new initiatives that promote inclusion. The council will form sub-councils responsible for addressing specific areas of need, such as curriculum diversification, Shearer said.
Shearer thinks the council will be a “very positive” influence on campus and will be “quite instrumental” to the promotion of diversity and inclusion at Queen’s over the next several years.
“We’ve seen a lot of positives come out of the work of the Aboriginal Council at Queen’s. I see the UCARE group as being capable of similar things. It creates a community to look at the issues that we face, find creative and best ways to address issues and move forward,” Shearer remarked.
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