Since the first meeting of the Advisory Group on May 26th, the killing of George Floyd and other police-involved incidents in the United States and Canada have jarred the public consciousness and renewed calls to accelerate anti-racism and EDI efforts within our institutions and in the broader culture.

The work of the EIC Advisory Group has thus been highlighted and taken on elevated importance as Carleton University seeks to embrace this moment to improve those outcomes. While the university has taken steps to lay the foundation for progress, much work to advance anti-racism and EDI still needs to be done. As a large institution, the university is an extension of society and is not insulated from its challenges.

In this cultural moment, intergenerational traumas are refreshed and current violence, injustices and inequities are rightly scrutinized anew. We consider community requests for information about institutional responses to be entirely appropriate as framed within an understanding that substantive and lasting change does not come about through impulse but through deliberate yet thoughtful consensus-building. Working together with due haste, we will secure sustainable progress.

By the Terms of Reference, the Advisory Group reports to the President and Vice-Chancellor. A process to examine pan-university EDI successes, gaps and opportunities to fashion and recommend a set of institutional strategic directions is underway. To be compelling and transformative, these directions must leave room for customized planning within individual faculties and administrative service units. As such, the Group mandate is distinct from the scope of dispute resolution processes under various university policies.

Since its inception, the work related to the Advisory Group has proceeded with a sense of urgency despite circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic, the ongoing transition to virtual operations, overdue civil unrest, and a disruptive economic contraction. The Call for Members, the membership confirmation process as well as the formation of the supporting Friends and Allies Group were completed by the end of April. A Carleton University EDI survey was designed and completed by Advisory Group with consequent data analysis reported back to members in May.

Over the summer, I will continue conversations with the Provost, the President, the Vice-Presidents, Deans, and other administrative and student leaders to convey the survey findings and tentative strategic directions to promote alignment between the evolving pan-university work and emerging initiatives from the faculties and the administrative service units. The sum of these resources will shape a proposal for review and comment by the Advisory Group before its next meeting. A broader but efficient process for consultation to be determined will follow. In the interim, the team at EIC stands ready to support and consult with members of the university at the Group and local planning levels.

Carleton’s continued engagement with anti-racism and EDI imperatives as well as its expanding interest in the proactive measures taken by the Advisory Group are critical. Members of the EIC team are humbled and privileged to serve. As this essential work continues, I look forward to providing further updates.

Hopefully, all of you will find time this summer to relax and exercise self-care. It has been a brisk few months and a break and time to cherish friends and family, even if only for a few days while remaining close to home, is definitely in order.

Be well, stay connected and stay safe,

Michael

Michael F. Charles J.D.
Chair, Equity and Inclusive Communities Advisory Group
Assistant Vice-President and University Advisor
Department of Equity and Inclusive Communities (EIC)