When Brock University Interim President Lynn Wells signed her name at the bottom of the Scarborough Charter document, it signalled the University’s participation in a landmark movement in the fight against structural racism.
Brock joined nearly 50 other universities and colleagues from across Canada Thursday, Nov. 18 to sign the Scarborough Charter, which comes as the result of a year-long collaborative process that started during the first National Dialogues and Action for Inclusive Higher Education and Communities held in October 2020. The two-day national forum focused on anti-Black racism and Black inclusion in Canadian higher education.
“The principles outlined in the Scarborough Charter reflect Brock’s commitment to foster a culture of inclusivity, accessibility, reconciliation and decolonization for our students, employees and the community around us,” said Wells. “Last Fall, Brock University was proud to be part of the National Dialogues forum, and today we are proud to be taking the next step in this important national movement.”
Following the forum, an inter-institutional committee immediately got to work drafting the charter based on the perspectives, insights and conversations that took place. Then, in March 2021, partner institutions began consulting with their own communities and institutions for their feedback and input on the charter, a process finished this past summer.
The charter identifies key barriers to Black inclusion and approaches to identifying and responding to them. It also contains concrete actions and accountability mechanisms for institutions to deliver on their promise to make structural and systemic change.
The partner institutions wanted those mechanisms built into the charter as a way to maintain accountability, an important step in moving beyond rhetoric into taking meaningful action.
“Post-secondary institutions can and must play an important role in examining anti-Black racism and making equity and inclusion a priority,” Wells said. “I am proud of the work being done by Brock and the many other institutions across Canada who are signing the Scarborough Charter today and committing to address the realities of anti-Black racism.”