The President’s Human Rights Task Force that was struck a year ago following distressing incidents of sexual violence and racism has completed its work. The report has been made public and is available here. This is an important document and the recommendations it formulates will help Brock move in the right direction, provided they are implemented. A few concerns arise however.
- By choosing to prioritize certain experiences and issues, for example, there is a potential risk of obfuscating other human rights issues that are equally important. We hope that equity-seeking groups do not end up pitted against each other as a result.
- Putting in place good policy is crucial and some policies at Brock have been flawed for way too long. However, beyond good policies, there is a need for all people at Brock to not only abide by said policies, but to wholeheartedly embrace them and their principles. It seems we have a long way to go with that and at all levels.
- While the report addresses sexual and gender violence, it fails to capture the cultural problem we see at Brock which can be referred to as chilly climate. Sexual and gender discrimination is a fact at Brock and the glass ceiling has been thickening for members of equity-seeking groups in the last few years. It seems that more than a good hiring equity policy will be needed to reverse this process and ensure that people are encouraged, trained, and mentored to be successful in undertaking leadership roles at Brock.
Thank you to the members of the Human Rights Task Force for undertaking this. Here is to hoping that actions follow, sooner rather than later, and that the university stops being merely reactive to crises but rather embraces a proactive stance that will prevent such crises from occurring in the first place.