School of Planning, University of Waterloo

ANTI-RACISM INDIGENIZATION EQUITY DIVERSITY INCLUSION VALUE STATEMENT

March 2022

This statement was developed to outline values that inform and guide the School of Planning community in all its functions and operations. The context is set by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Ontario Human Rights Code and the University of Waterloo policies addressing issues surrounding equity, diversity, and inclusion. For Indigenous issues, the context is also set by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report and the treaty relationship that is about mutual respect between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples.

Within the University, of specific note are the following policies:

This statement includes more detailed articulation of values developed specifically for and by members of the School of Planning. The statement was developed by a committee of students and faculty members and included School-wide consultation.

Inclusion

The School of Planning recognizes the value of diversity. Everyone is valued and respected regardless of age, ancestry, colour, race, citizenship, ethnic origin, place of origin, creed/religion, disability, family status, marital status, gender identity, sexual orientation, economic status, and as outlined in the Ontario Human Rights Code. The School fosters inclusion by identifying and implementing initiatives that create a welcoming and safe environment for students and employees. 

Anti-Racism

The School of Planning acknowledges how privilege, discrimination, and systemic racism impact life experiences and opportunities for students, faculty, and staff. Therefore, there will be conscious efforts by faculty and staff to foster equity and fight against structural racism. Efforts will be made to identify and remove barriers and equipping faculty, staff and students to implement these values in and outside the classroom.

Anti-Indigenous Racism

The School of Planning acknowledges the ongoing systemic discrimination experienced by Indigenous Peoples within the Nation currently called Canada that stems from colonial policies and practices, including those of the planning profession. The School will make efforts to reverse systemic racism, foster equity, and fight against anti-Indigenous structural racism in all facets; this includes initiatives such as land acknowledgment, engagement, integration of ecological knowledge, narrative sovereignty, and inclusion of Indigenous ways of knowing into the education curriculum.

Anti-Black Racism

The School of Planning acknowledges the ongoing systemic discrimination Black People experience. Within Canada, colonial and historical policies, practices, and the planning profession contributed to and continue to contribute to discrimination and oppression toward Black People. Consequently, conscious efforts will foster developing awareness, equity, and fighting against anti-Black structural racism in all facets within the School. Measures to implement change will include a review of current policy and practices, providing access to resources for those experiencing discrimination, and the use of Black-centric educational materials.

Fostering Transformative Reconciliation

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada identified 94 calls to action.

Transformative reconciliation is required, facilitating relationships between settlers and Indigenous people that encourage self-determination, respect, and healing. Transformative reconciliation approaches include looking to Indigenous People for guidance and leadership in the School of Planning efforts to decolonize, land-based learning that centers Indigenous voices, practices in education, research, training planners, and administration. Respectful relationships between First Nation, Metis, and Inuit communities and the School of Planning ensure that difficult conversations occur within supportive environments resulting in creative real-world decolonial solutions to reconciliation.

Diversity

The School values the diverse conditions, experiences, and expressions of students, faculty, staff, sessional instructors and planners in residence and the unique and memorable qualities and characteristics we all possess. The School acknowledges that there are unique forms of oppression and violence that some experience due to their unique qualities and characteristics.  Efforts will be made to co-create environments where everyone in the School community feels protected and safe. Diverse perspectives will be incorporated into the curriculum, on-going consultation, and events planning.

Equity

Equity encompasses fairness and justice for all individuals, recognizing any differences and systemic barriers an individual may face. To foster equity and achieve a level playing field, we must consider, respect, and address the unique challenges everyone faces and how it impacts their ability to navigate and access resources, which allows them to flourish in society. Equity must be reflected in the curriculum, and everyone in the School community needs to actively participate in determining how to accommodate individual needs.

Sexual Violence

Sexual violence means any sexual act targeting a person’s sexuality, gender identity or gender expression, whether the act is physical or psychological in nature, that is committed, threatened or attempted against a person without the person’s consent.  The School of Planning understands that sexual violence is pervasive, both on campus and within our communities, may involve imbalanced power relationships, and is a public health issue. We understand that sexual violence affects people of all ages, genders, sexual orientations, races and ethnicities, socioeconomic status, and abilities.  We are committed to creating a culture built on respect, consent, and care for others.  As such, it is important to learn how to respond supportively to a disclosure and the School seeks to identify opportunities for raising awareness on this within the School of Planning community.  

Initiatives

Ongoing initiatives arising from these values include but are not limited to finding ways to

  • diversify the student population to reflect population demography
  • proactively address diversity and representation in new faculty and sessional hires
  • review and revise curriculum from an equity, diversity, inclusion, and justice perspective
  • assign readings and projects that are by and draw on the works of a diversity of the population and from historically underrepresented groups
  • consult and involve a diversity of students in processes that influence decision-making 
  • provide students with opportunities to share their own experiences whenever possible
  • plan for educational opportunities that contribute to continuous development in the areas of equity, diversity, inclusion, justice, and sexual violence prevention and response