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Universities open dialogue on inclusion and equity

Taking part in dialogues with universities across Canada will help inform the University of Windsor’s initiatives in equity, diversity, and inclusion, says provost Douglas Kneale.

Organized by the University of Toronto Scarborough, the National Dialogues and Action for Inclusive Higher Education and Communities, held on Oct. 1 and 2, were intended to foster concrete change on campuses and across society.

Along with several colleagues from the University of Windsor, Dr. Kneale attended the virtual forum focused on anti-Black racism and Black inclusion, with breakout group dialogues ranging from inclusive teaching, learning, and curricula to institutional decision-making structures.

Remarks by University of Toronto Scarborough principal and host Wisdom Tettey highlighted the historical normalization of racial exclusion and the need to redefine “equity-seeking” as “equity-deserving.”

“The two days of dialogue represent an important preliminary step on the road toward inclusiveness in higher education,” said Kneale. “While we don’t have all the answers, we do have the desire and the commitment as an institution to ask the right questions about ourselves, to identify both what’s standing in the way and what’s missing from our goal of greater diversity in our student body, our faculty and staff members, and our Board of Governors.”

One of the outcomes of the National Dialogues will be an accountability agreement based on principles that participating institutions can endorse.

Kneale says: “The commitments we make as a signatory to the emerging Scarborough National Charter will confirm the progressive actions we are taking as an institution to create meaningful, lasting change at the individual, organizational, and systemic levels.”