Acadia releases new anti-racism report, begins work to create campus-wide change

Dr. Peter Ricketts and Rev. Dr. Marjorie Lewis

Acadia University has taken a major step towards greater equity, diversity, and inclusion with its release of the Report of the President’s Anti-Racism Task Force (PART) and the official response by the University’s President and Vice-Chancellor, Dr. Peter Ricketts.

“The publication of these two documents marks the beginning of the work that we need to do as an institution to address racism on our campus,” Ricketts said. “The PART report and my response will provide the roadmap for starting 2022 in a positive way to address racism and make real progress towards equity, diversity, and inclusion at Acadia.”

PART, which was officially announced on Emancipation Day, August 1, 2020, builds on the work of the President’s Advisory Council on Decolonization and other initiatives at Acadia University to counter racism. The task force and its working groups have been meeting regularly since November 2020 and have generated recommendations for specific aspects of Acadia's work.

“President Ricketts’ announcement of initiatives to address racism on campus is timely,” said Rev. Dr. Marjorie Lewis. “It comes in the context of a Canada-wide recognition of the need for urgency in implementing measures outlined in The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action and the United Nations Report of the Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent on its mission to Canada.”

To ensure that change will be real and lasting, President Ricketts announced three high-level actions:

  • creation of the Acadia University Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Anti-Racism (EDIAR) council to provide oversight and accountability for Acadia’s progress towards anti-racism and equity, diversity and inclusion
  • establishment of a Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPOC) Student Working Group
  • alignment of Acadia with the new nationwide initiative to eliminate anti-Black racism in Canadian higher education by being one of the first signatories, in November 2021, of the Scarborough Charter on Anti-Black Racism and Black Inclusion in Canadian Higher Education

The PART report provides a detailed series of short-, medium-, and long-term recommendations. These include the following:

  • providing more scholarships for Black, Indigenous, and racialized minority students
  • providing mandatory racism-awareness training for the entire Acadia community
  • developing a template and process for anti-racism curriculum reform
  • hiring more staff and faculty from under-represented groups
  • ensuring more inclusive representation on boards and committees
  • providing annual funding for Acadia-wide celebrations of Mi’kmaq History Month and Black History Month

“The PART report represents a call to action for Acadia as we seek to become an anti-racist community and make lasting contributions to the elimination of racism in society at large,” Ricketts said. “My sincere thanks to the Co-Chairs, Rev. Dr. Marjorie Lewis and Ms. Patricia McCulloch; Vice-Chair, Ms. Zabrina Whitman; and Elder Dr. Joe Michael, Acadia’s Elder in Residence, for their leadership, wisdom and guidance throughout this process.”

Read the Report (PDF)

Read the President's Response (PDF)

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Sherri Turner
Director, University Communications