The University of Windsor has announced the launch of the President’s Committee on Diversity and Inclusion (PCDI), which will replace the President’s Accessibility Steering Committee (PASC).
The PCDI will have a broader mandate that will also include employment equity. Both the Campus Accessibility Coordinating Committee and Employment Equity Coordinating Committee will report on their work directly to the PCDI. It is anticipated that a Human Rights Coordinating Committee will later be developed and also report to the PCDI.
“This new committee structure will enable input from the campus not only on matters related to accessibility, but also to equity and human rights,” said president Alan Wildeman.
The new committee structure, proposed by the Office of Human Rights, Equity and Accessibility (OHREA), is designed to encourage more campus involvement and input.
Kaye Johnson, director of OHREA, said rather than just listening to people, the committees will now be directly engaged in issues dealing with diversity and inclusion.
“The goal is a more a coordinated approach to human rights, equity and accessibility that is centred on a structure that will lead to more meaningful engagement,” said Johnson. “Many things previously overlapping have been broken down into structures that will be more focused and coordinated.”
Under the new structure, the Campus Accessibility Coordinating Committee will continue to coordinate and prioritize the work of these committees:
- Accessible Built Environment
- Accessible Information and Communication
- Accessible Education Training and Awareness
- Accessible Employment
- Accessible Customer Service
- and a new committee dealing with Mental Health
“With the AODA standards-based committee structure, there are greater opportunities for engagement with students, staff and faculty,” said Anne Mullen, accessibility and human rights manager. “This helps to foster dialogue and create ideas that make the campus a more accessible and inclusive place.”
The Employment Equity Coordinating Committee, with a mandate to coordinate and prioritize, will develop three committees with the present working titles of:
- Attracting and Recruiting
- Inclusion and Retention
- Training and Education
The Human Rights Coordinating Committee that will be developed is envisioned as the body to coordinate and prioritize human rights needs and activities associated with the mandates of related future committees and groups. In addition to the committees, the plan is to facilitate the development of affinity groups within the structure.
Affinity groups are a means of moving beyond diversity towards inclusion. Depending on the group, they provide: personal and professional development, education, networking, support, reduction of isolation, a means of sharing knowledge and resources, a means of providing the institution with insight and they may also serve in an advisory capacity.
Equity groups are typically formed around various racial identities, persons with disabilities, sexual orientation and gender identity, women, indigenous peoples and so on.
Johnson also said there will also be more meaningful engagement of senior management in the new structure to better understand the scope of issues which can impact all areas of the university.
“No one office can take on the engagement of everyone,” said Johnson.
The Office of Human Rights, Equity & Accessibility (OHREA) is responsible for education, human rights inquiries and complaints, ombuds functions related to human rights, equity and accessibility, government reporting, policy development, and any other matters requiring accountability in these areas at the University of Windsor.