UW signs Scarborough Charter on anti-Black racism and Black inclusion

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The University of Waterloo has signed on to the Scarborough Charter alongside more than 40 other post-secondary institutions across Canada.

The charter is a sector-wide agreement designed to move post-secondary institutions toward more meaningful, concrete actions to address anti-Black racism and to promote Black inclusion. It is founded on four core principles that commit the charter’s partners to address systemic barriers and to champion equity, inclusion and diversity. These principles include Black flourishing, inclusive excellence, mutuality and accountability, and each one includes a series of actions the post-secondary institutions can take to improve governance, approaches to research, teaching and learning, as well as community engagement.

Signed by UW president and vice-chancellor Vivek Goel during a virtual ceremony on Nov. 18, the charter follows through on commitments made by partner institutions at the October 2020 National Dialogues and Action for Inclusive Higher Education and Communities forum and provides a framework for delivering on these promises.

“By providing a unified framework for confronting Anti-Black racism within higher education institutions in Canada, the Scarborough Charter complements cross-campus anti-Black racism initiatives being developed and implemented at the University of Waterloo,” said Goel in a Waterloo News article.

“Through the Scarborough Charter, we are honouring our commitment to making unbiased choices and being anti-racist in all aspects of our lives,” Goel continued. “We are taking coordinated actions to dismantle systems that perpetuate racial discrimination and build a more inclusive and equitable society.”

UW’s signing of the Scarborough Charter follows its recent announcement of a cluster-hire initiative to appoint 10 Black tenure-track or tenured professors. 

Some of the other initiatives implemented to help address racism include the recent appointment of equity strategist and anti-racism advisor Christopher Taylor as associate vice-president of the newly formed Equity Office. UW will also begin offering two Black studies diploma programs through the Faculty of Arts in fall 2022. Both programs were developed by members of the Black Faculty Collective under the leadership of professor Vershawn Young.

“While Waterloo is making significant strides toward developing and maintaining a diverse, inclusive and equitable culture, we must continue to fast-track concrete, sustainable actions to combat anti-Black racism and advance inclusivity on our campuses,” Taylor said in the Waterloo News article.