A message from President Vivek Goel

Vivek Goel

The University of Waterloo strives to support an equitable environment where everyone in our community can learn, grow and thrive. In 2020, we formed the President’s Anti-racism Taskforce (PART) and made a public commitment to engage our community and address systemic racism across our campuses.

Consulting with groups across our community, members of the Taskforce have carefully and thoughtfully prepared a series of recommendations to advance this critical mission. I am pleased to receive PART’s comprehensive report with eighty-eight recommendations to address racism in all its forms at the University. 

Implementation of such a comprehensive set of recommendations requires us all to make a commitment to enact changes here at Waterloo. I look forward to working with the University community to implement the recommendations, including:

  • reviewing University policies through the lens and principles of equity, diversity, inclusion and anti-racism;
  • providing a basic understanding of decolonization approaches and direction for faculty and staff to review and revise existing (and develop new) programs and services with an anti-racism lens;
  • developing anti-racism training programs to create a supportive, inclusive, and equitable campus environment;
  • supporting the recruitment, hiring and retention of more Black, Indigenous and other racialized individuals into faculty, staff, and leadership positions;
  • appropriately engaging and consulting with Indigenous and other racialized communities to achieve an equitable academic, research and campus environment;
  • ensuring effective, accessible and clear communications to Black, Indigenous and other racialized students, staff and faculty at the institution about the supports and resources available to them; and
  • developing guidelines for ethical data governance.

Though we have a great deal of work ahead of us, this report also highlights the great work that has already happened across our campuses, including:

  • the launch of two diplomas in Black Studies starting Fall 2022;
  • the Black Excellence and Indigenous Excellence faculty cluster hiring initiatives;
  • University-wide events, including an Anti-racism Book Club, that raised awareness on race, culture, and ethnicity;
  • and our ongoing equity data survey.

I am committed to the success of PART’s mission. The Taskforce has proposed leaders across the University who will be responsible for each recommendation and I look forward to working with these leaders to support them as we work towards implementing the recommendations in the report. I am also committed to ensuring that we have the resources we need for the programs, services, initiatives, and other activities that have emerged from PART. I look forward to receiving proposals from the accountable leaders in the coming months and years.

University leaders will regularly review and discuss progress on implementing these recommendations to eliminate barriers and support their timely adoption. We will also share progress updates with you through the this website and other communications channels.

We want to make sure that we continue to offer the community opportunities to provide feedback on our work to address racism at Waterloo. I encourage you to join the next President’s Forum on May 19, where we will discuss the report and the work of PART. 

Thank you to PART and the community

I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the members of PART and its working groups, and all members of our community who have been involved in anti-racism initiatives across our campuses, including the Community Collaborative and other groups that were formed for similar purposes. I would also like to thank Charmaine Dean for her leadership of this crucial work.

To the members of PART: It takes bravery, dedication and resilience to do this work. You have worked tirelessly to meet your mandates, responsibilities, and objectives, which you fully fulfilled in the face of the pandemic and other challenges. I am grateful for the work you have accomplished for the betterment of the University. You are a shining light for us all.

Our shared responsibility

Anti-racism is the shared responsibility of the entire community – not that of a specific leader or a campus unit. I am calling on everyone in the University community to take action. To help ensure the success of this initiative, I ask all faculty members, students and staff to work together on our anti-racism mission, to assist and support those accountable for PART’s recommendations, and to look for ways to implement anti-racism into your daily work. This includes supporting ongoing initiatives happening across the university, including the great work coming out of the recently created Office of Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Anti-racism and Office of Indigenous Relations. 

There is still much more work to do, but these recommendations will help us on our way. I am thankful for and inspired by the action and dedication I have seen across our University community, and I look forward to continuing this work together.