Dear EDI affinity groups, allies and agents for change,
I hope you have all had an opportunity to rest and recharge over the summer as we prepare to start what I hope will be a productive academic year with respect to our shared interest to foster an ever more inclusive and equitable university community and environment. I’ve been so inspired and encouraged by the various ways that you have been championing equity, diversity and inclusion at UBC to date, setting up a strong, community-informed platform that we can continue building on.
This past year, the UBC Equity & Inclusion Office (EIO) has been preparing the Strategic Equity and Anti-Racism (StEAR) Framework and we are excited to soon be formally launching the implementation phase of this work that will activate priorities identified in a number of institutional plans and recommendations, including the Inclusion Action Plan, the Anti-Racism Task Force recommendations, and the Trans Two-Spirit & Gender Diversity Task Force recommendations. The EIO has also been supporting efforts – driven by disabled students, faculty and staff – to identify disability equity and anti-ableism priorities – work that is being taken up, in part, through an Accessibility Committee and which will inform that development of an Accessibility Plan, in accordance with the Accessible BC Act.
This coming year, the EIO will be focused on strengthening communication, consultation, collaboration and coalition building with all of you on across our Vancouver and Okanagan campuses. We will also be focused on enabling and supporting academic and administrative leaders across campuses to cultivate a culture of accountability for progress on accessibility, equity, anti-racism, and inclusive excellence commitments. You can expect a more detailed update on the progress of this work in October.
A new academic term brings renewed energy and with that hopefully an opportunity to refresh our various ways to engage with equity, diversity, inclusion and anti-racism.
Faculty members and staff colleagues: I encourage you to visit the inclusive teaching website that has valuable resources to enhance your curriculum, to explore our gender diversity knowledge hub, to review our guide for administrators receiving human rights disclosures and complaints and to engage with various EDI-related educational offerings (including our Hiring Equity and Positive Space Foundations courses) available on the Workplace Learning Platform and from our colleagues at the Centre for Teaching, Learning and Research.
As we look at building on our collective efforts, I invite you all – students, faculty and staff – to connect with some of the many affinity communities or EDI committees and networks and to familiarize yourselves with various services and supports available to you.
We’ve just launched the StEAR Enhancement Fund and you can apply for funding ranging from $500 to $10,000. With that, I encourage you to reflect on what more can be done at UBC and consider putting those ideas into action by developing a project and applying for funding – together we can make a real difference. Institutions of higher learning are places from which some of the most transformative social justice movements have emerged and influenced social change – through your engagement, you are contributing to the power of community-led changemaking.
Lastly, if you are seeking general information about moving an EDI initiative forward, please get in touch with us using our consultation request form; if you have any specific questions or have concerns related to an experience of discrimination at UBC, please do not hesitate to get in touch with a member of our human rights advising team.
With gratitude for your courage and collaboration,
Arig al Shaibah
Associate Vice-President, Equity and Inclusion