International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is recognized around the world each year on March 21. Communities, governments and institutions are working towards finding opportunity to promote and recognize social inclusion and diversity as a strength to Canadian society and our post-secondary educational institutions.
Brock University is taking steps to advance human rights and equity across campus by following up on the University’s Human Rights Task Force Report. Brock plans to form a new President’s Advisory Committee on Human Rights, Equity and Decolonization, in response to recommendations put forward by the Task Force. Brock will be also hiring a Director of Human Rights and Equity, who will report directly to the President.
The President’s Advisory Committee, expected to be established this spring, affirms Brock’s commitment to promoting a welcoming and inclusive campus. The committee’s mandate will include identifying, addressing and advising the President on issues pertaining to equity that affect any individuals and groups on campus.
Brock President Gervan Fearon states, “Brock is an outstanding University contributing to the regional community and economic growth, as well as advancement in teaching, learning, research and scholarship at the provincial and national level. We are at our best when all members of the University community are engaged, welcomed and supported to succeed and to make contributions to these efforts.”
In providing a forum for discussion, reflection and learning, the President’s Advisory Committee will also oversee and advise on implementing recommendations by the Human Rights Task Force. In the coming weeks, nominations for membership will be sought from across campus, with the support of the Office of Human Rights and Equity (HRE).
In HRE, the new Director of Human Rights and Equity position, expected to be posted soon, will report directly to the President. While HRE remains an independent office of complaint resolution and equity programming, the new reporting line signals the priority of human rights and equity issues to senior administration, and supports a Task Force recommendation to enhance the importance of human rights in the University structure.
Brock also plans to create a racial justice co-ordinator role to further support the University’s initiatives on racism and equity issues.
“These initiatives advance Brock’s efforts to promote equity and social justice principles on campus as well as the broader community that we serve,” Fearon said. “We are striving towards building partnerships across the University community, based on principles of diversity, equity and inclusion. We are recognizing the important work done by the University Human Rights Task Force and March 21 as the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.”
International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination commemorates the 69 lives lost in 1960 during a peaceful protest in Sharpeville, South Africa, against apartheid pass laws. Proclaiming the International Day in 1966, the United Nations General Assembly called on the international community to enhance its efforts to eliminate all forms of racial discrimination.
The UN has designated the 2018 theme as “Promoting tolerance, inclusion, unity and respect for diversity in the context of combating racial discrimination.”