After months of meetings and consultations across campus, the University’s Human Rights Task Force (HRTF) reached a major milestone this week as it issued an interim report that assesses the current landscape of protections for individuals and groups at Brock, and offers a vision on how the institution can move forward to evolve its culture and better advance human rights.
The HRTF was established in the summer of 2016 by then-president Jack Lightstone, with a mandate to review all of Brock’s policies and procedures that impact human rights, and provide recommendations to the President to improve human rights policies, processes, services and supports. The task force is comprised of students, faculty, staff and members of the external community.
Released today, the HRTF document — Pushing onward: Interim report of the Human Rights Task Force at Brock University — explains how the task force organized its approach to a complex assignment so that it could “provide recommendations regarding Brock’s human rights policies, processes, services and supports to carry us into our next decade of leadership.”
One key step was to identify six overarching principles that helped guide the members to what eventually became 36 specific recommendations. The recommendations range from including diversity goals and metrics in University strategic planning documents, to providing time for staff to attend first responder training to create a safer environment for sexual violence survivors, to having dedicated staff to support racialized students on campus.
HRTF chair Brad Clarke said the exercise has been thought-provoking, motivating and at times challenging for the task force members, but that everyone realizes the importance of their assignment.“We’ve had the opportunity to hear from many on campus,” said Clarke, who is also Brock’s Director of Student Life and Community Experience.
“People have been very candid in sharing their experiences with human rights at Brock, both the successes and the struggles. It is our hope that these interim recommendations provide a platform to continue this important conversation with the campus community, and that they ultimately result in a campus that is more inclusive, welcoming, safe and supportive for all.”
The next step is for the HRTF to collect campus-wide reactions and feedback to the interim report. A series of forums will be held, starting with senior administration on Feb. 6 and concluding on March 8 with undergrduate students. See the Consultation Plan for dates, times and location of all feedback sessions.