In June I announced my intention to form a new task force to tackle racism at the University.
I am deeply committed to making sure that we make lasting changes to address racism as an institution. This must include anti-Black racism, anti-Indigenous racism, and other issues of racism that we see too frequently on our campuses and in our society.
These are not simply words on a screen. Throughout my experience as an academic, an administrator and a citizen, I have a deeply held passion for addressing systemic racism as broadly as necessary and in all its forms, that diminishes us as a University, a country and as humans.
Since I announced my intention to form the President’s Anti-racism Taskforce – or PART – I have received many expressions of support and interest to participate. Thank you to everyone who has reached out.
I have also heard important expressions of concern from Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPOC) about our approach to announcing PART.
What I have heard so far from our scholars, students and staff is clear: we need to take more time to listen and consult with those affected. And we need to do that to make sure that PART gets to actions that will help us end the systemic racism that our friends, colleagues and peers experience every day.
I want to remain completely clear: PART will be led by people who are Black, Indigenous or People of Colour who will be responsible for ensuring broad campus representation within the group’s membership. This is a foundational principle that is critical to making meaningful progress that reflects the lived experiences of BIPOC individuals. I should also reiterate that the initial mandate the group will be given is a starting point for their consideration.
Other campus leaders and I have already started to engage with a number of BIPOC individuals and will continue to consult more broadly and deeply. I will be keen to hear perspectives on the best next steps to advance our efforts to end systemic racism. I am committed to communicating our next actions once my leadership team and I are confident we understand how we should move forward.