Principles for Consultation with the ESAC
The Equity Student Advisory Council (ESAC) offers consultations to students, faculty, and staff in order to amplify the impact of equity and inclusion in projects and initiatives across UBC. To ensure we engage in meaningful and effective consultation together, please review the following ESAC’s principles for consultation.
- The main purpose of consulting or getting feedback from ESAC should be to improve the quality of the project and/or to ensure that student perspectives inform the project. Genuine engagement from both sides is expected to avoid the sentiment of tokenism to be created or felt.
- The ESAC is a “critical friend” to consultation seekers and anticipates that those we engage with value the honest and genuine feedback that emerges through the consultation process. We see feedback as a dialogical and collaborative process, rather than an extractive or transactional exchange.
- For consultations with ESAC to be most effective and informative, consultations should occur at a middle-stage of a project where key decisions have not yet been made yet there has been enough. planning dedicated to provide (1) a structure for feedback or (2) a clear set of questions/goals. These considerations can clarify which aspects of the project are open to being changed based on ESAC’s feedback and if there are any aspects that cannot be changed.
- During the consultation process, ESAC members may exert both mental effort and emotional labour in order to construct feedback to be given. With this in mind, those engaging with ESAC are asked to acknowledge these investments by students formally wherever possible (e.g. by mentions in written or verbal communication about the project).
- While the ESAC seeks to represent diverse perspectives of students, the ESAC also acknowledges that not everybody’s experiences are accounted for. To the best of our abilities, we seek to share perspectives of student community members not in the ESAC (with their permission, of course).
Proposed Process for Consulting with the ESAC
- Pre-consultation/Request for Consultation: When a campus group/organization has a project for which they would like ESAC’s feedback, they are asked to send an email that includes:
- Project topic
- What stage is the project currently in, and what is the projected timeline of the overall project?
- Goals of getting ESAC’s feedback
- How the feedback will be used, including for example: how intense should ESAC’s feedback be and what are the possible scope of changes? While some feedback may be beneficial for future purposes, sometimes not many aspects can be changed.
- Thoughts on the method of getting the feedback, including for example: is there something ESAC would read ahead of time, is it a discussion in a meeting, or is there a more structured activity?
- Consultation procedure: Consultation process happens. This could include an emailed response with the requested information to the concerned parties in advance and/or discussing in a meeting.
- Post-consultation: Notes from the consultation/feedback are sent to ESAC members with the minutes of the meeting. ESAC members will then have the opportunity to validate the staff member’s understanding of the feedback and its intended impact, nuance and/or correct any inaccuracies and clarify misunderstandings. This is crucial to ensure that ESAC feedback is well understood and can be appropriately integrated into their project/initiative.
- Follow-up: After decisions have been made regarding information from the feedback/consultations, we hope that the leaders of the project will write a short email to the ESAC about how their feedback was used. For larger, more in-depth consultations, more substantive follow-up might be appropriate, such as attending another ESAC meeting to discuss the decisions and answer questions.