Robert Gordon, Jaimie Kechego, Clinton BeckfordUWindsor president Robert Gordon and VPEDI Clinton Beckford congratulate Jaimie Kechego (centre), recipient of the inaugural EDI Award for staff.

Inaugural awards celebrate campus contributions to equity, diversity, and inclusion

Faculty, staff, students, alumni, and community members gathered in Alumni Auditorium on March 30 to celebrate inspiring students, faculty, staff, and alumni for their unwavering commitment to advance equity, diversity, inclusion, and Truth and Reconciliation at the University of Windsor and beyond.

Honourees included:

  • Faculty – Richard Douglass-Chin, associate professor, departments of English and women’s and gender studies
  • Staff – Jaimie Kechego, learning specialist, Indigenization, Centre for Teaching and Learning (nominated for her former staff role)
  • Student – Tyrone Sequeira, Dual JD student, Faculty of Law
  • Alumni – Jermain Franklin (BA 1999), anchor, SportsCentre, TSN
  • Team/Committee – UWindsor Pride

Interim vice-president equity, diversity, and inclusion, Clinton Beckford welcomed each recipient to the stage, outlining their work to bolster inclusion and anti-oppression on campus. Reading excerpts from the nominations, Dr. Beckford highlighted the ways in which recipients went above and beyond their roles to make significant contributions toward building a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive campus community, addressing systemic barriers, contemporary and historical injustices, and inequities faced by Indigenous peoples, people with disabilities, racialized people, the 2SLGBTQIA+ community, women, and other equity-deserving groups.

One of Dr. Douglass-Chin’s nominators wrote of his “fierce passion to fight all forms of racism with an intersectional and broad understanding,” describing him as being “at the forefront of organizing against anti-Black racism on campus for many years, toiling invisibly before it became apparent or acceptable to name.”

In the staff category, Kechego’s nominator noted that she “models every day how to build a more inclusive and respectful work environment,” sharing Indigenous Ways of Knowing, storytelling, oral tradition, and land-based pedagogy as a speaker at events and workshops and a contributor to educational resources, conferences, and publications.

Among his many social justice initiatives, student recipient Sequeira was instrumental in the creation of the Future Black and Indigenous Law Student Scholarship. His nominators note, “Tyrone sought sponsorship from Bay Street firms, personal connections, and made personal sacrifices to build this endowment,” including donating his prize money from the Justice Rosalie Silberman Albella Prize to the scholarship fund.

Franklin was recognized for his work inspiring and supporting Black students and alumni through sports journalism and active engagement with the UWindsor alumni office. His nominator writes that he “has led the work to dismantle barriers to full participation especially in encouraging others to become involved in the sports journalism profession.”

Finally, in the Team/Committee category, UWindsor Pride was honoured for its efforts to increase 2SLGBTQIA+ inclusion on campus through educational programming, events, rainbow crosswalks, and connecting with IT Services to ensure students’ correct names and pronouns are used. UWindsor Pride’s nominator wrote: “This is a group of individuals with a shared passion who come together and are driven to build a welcoming and fully inclusive community here at UWindsor.”

In closing the ceremony, Beckford noted: “We know that for every individual we recognized today, there are countless others who are working tirelessly across campus and beyond to dismantle racism and other forms of oppression and discrimination, and to advance Indigenization, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. Thank you for everything you do every day to make UWindsor a more welcoming, safe, and just campus.”

A photo montage of the awards is available on the EDI Awards website.