Sheridan Joins Black North Initiative Aimed at Dismantling Systemic Racism
President and Vice Chancellor Dr. Janet Morrison has signed the Black North Initiative CEO Pledge, committing Sheridan – alongside other leading Canadian institutions – to specific actions and targets designed to dismantle systemic anti-Black racism and create opportunities for underrepresented members of its community. Sheridan’s declaration of support is being made in advance of Dr. Morrison’s participation in the inaugural Black North Initiative Summit, being held virtually on July 20.
“Sheridan firmly believes that diversity fuels excellence – and we’re committed to fostering an environment in which dignity, individualization, integration and full participation are valued and respected,” says Dr. Morrison. “As a learning community, we condemn racism, hatred, and discrimination in all of its forms. We denounce the unequal justice and adverse social determinants of health that disproportionately impact Black and Indigenous people and people of colour. We fully believe that people of privilege have an obligation to disrupt and deconstruct systemic structural and institutional failures and to do more within their spheres of influence to cultivate an equitable and inclusive community.”
The CEO Pledge commits Sheridan to conducting unconscious bias and anti-racism education and by 2025, ensuring that 5% of its student positions and 3% of its donations create opportunities for the Black community. Additionally, the CEO Pledge commits Sheridan to attracting, developing and advancing talent to contribute to a target of 3.5% of executive and Board roles based in Canada being held by Black people by the same timeframe. Furthermore, its actions and progress will be accountable through reports to its Board of Governors.
“The actions outlined in the CEO Pledge directly align with our institutional commitment to fostering equity, diversity and inclusion, as codified in our strategic plan, Sheridan 2024: Galvanizing Education for a Complex World,” adds Dr. Jane Ngobia, Vice President, Inclusive Communities at Sheridan. “At Sheridan, fostering inclusion is a shared responsibility. As educators, learners, researchers, and leaders, who are committed to students and their success, we are all accountable for addressing and preventing racism, racial inequality and injustice in our communities, on our campuses, and in our classrooms. This work is fundamental to creating an inclusive campus that embraces the rich diversity of Sheridan’s community to foster a strong sense of connection, respect for people’s rights to belong and equal opportunity to engage, thrive and succeed.”
Prior to signing the Black North Initiative CEO Pledge, Sheridan had already committed to: deliver unconscious bias, anti-oppression and anti-racism training to all employees in 2020; hire six professors who self-identify as Black or Indigenous over the next two academic years; launch a scholarship program to promote the recruitment and enrolment of Black and Indigenous applicants; empower its EDI Advisory Council to inform future actions and assess the efficacy of its change agenda; and report progress to its Board of Governors.
Those actions build on foundational work that has been completed in recent years, notably: a 300% base budget increase for the Centre for Equity and Inclusion; establishing the role of Vice President, Inclusive Communities; undertaking an employee diversity census; launching an EDI Advisory Committee; and becoming a signatory to the Dimensions Charter and participating in the Dimensions program, which recognize that equity, diversity and inclusion strengthen the research community and the quality, relevance and impact of academic research.
“We call on every member of our community to join us in our important work by considering the actions that they can take to be a positive force for change,” adds Dr. Ngobia. “By working together, we will succeed in our genuine efforts to build a community where every individual feels a sense of belonging and is confident that their unique perspectives and contributions will be valued.”
Pictured top right: Sheridan College, Trafalgar Campus
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