Acadia University is one of more than 40 universities and colleges across Canada that will officially sign a charter vowing to redress anti-Black racism and foster Black inclusion in higher education.
The online Scarborough Charter launch and signing event is set to occur from 3 to 4 p.m. ET on November 18. It will feature a panel discussion and question-and-answer segment with audience members.
"This charter follows through on a promise we made last year, as a sector, to move from rhetoric to meaningful action in addressing anti-Black racism and to promote Black inclusion," says Wisdom Tettey, U of T vice-president and principal of U of T Scarborough.
He says the charter results from 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.
Following the forum, an inter-institutional committee immediately got to work drafting the charter based on the perspectives, insights, and conversations. Then, in March 2021, partner institutions began consulting with their communities and institutions for their feedback and input on the charter, a process finished this past summer.
"I'm delighted that Acadia University is signing the Scarborough Charter and being part of this inter-institutional forum. It's been inspiring to work and collaborate with colleagues across the country to make the future a lot better than the past," says Peter Ricketts, president and vice-chancellor of Acadia University.
While the only thing left to do in creating the charter is for partner institutions to sign, the work in fighting structural racism is only beginning, says Steven Murphy, president and vice-chancellor of Ontario Tech University.
"As universities, we have much work to do in addressing anti-Black racism and ensuring we better reflect the Black communities we serve. The Scarborough Charter can act as a needed accelerant to working through these issues on our campuses, and in turn, in our communities," he says.
The charter itself 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 to maintain accountability, which is an important step in moving beyond rhetoric into meaningful action.
Those interested in joining the Scarborough Charter launch and signing event can register online.