Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion at SFU
We would like to acknowledge that at Simon Fraser University we live and work on the unceded traditional territories of the Coast Salish peoples of the Musqueam, Squamish, Tsleil-Waututh and Kweikwitlem Nations.
SFU’s goal is to ensure our campuses are welcoming places for everyone to gather and learn and that all who work or study here feel a sense of belonging, inclusion, fairness and mutual respect.
To help make our three campuses places where everyone feels welcome and valued, SFU launched its It’s Time to Listen, Talk and Reflect, a series of events and community conversations around the principles of equity, diversity and inclusion.
Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Report
In 2018, SFU’s Provost and Vice-President, Academic, commissioned a community conversation process to understand the perspective of the SFU community on issues of equity, diversity and inclusion. Over the course of a number of months, in-person community conversation sessions were held with students, staff and faculty. What was shared in those sessions has now been captured in a Report authored by Kim Hart, Special Advisor to the Provost on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.
The intent of this Report is:
1) to document what we heard from those who participated in the community conversation; and
2) to identify opportunities to act
The Report is not intended to be a complete inventory of the activities underway across SFU. As the intent of the conversations was to listen and reflect, the focus of the work was to document the experiences, perceptions, and observations of the SFU community related to equity, diversity, and inclusion, not to interrogate those observations. The comments collected have been distilled into themes and, along with the full report, provided to SFU’s executive.
The themes provide guidance for next steps:
- cynicism about SFU’s institutional commitment to EDI and its willingness to make change;
- lack of clarity around SFU’s vision for equity, diversity, and inclusion, and lack of a university-wide narrative and understanding of what EDI means at SFU;
- insufficient attention to physical accessibility;
- desire for more educational opportunities including both substantive knowledge and practical skills (for example, intercultural communication and understanding; implicit bias; gender identity and expression; Indigenous cultural awareness);
- better leadership training;
- insufficient support for transgendered students and employees and poor processes for name change;
- challenges faced by students with disabilities;
- lack of coordination, information sharing, and general communication about EDI work and best practices;
- failure to be proactive about racism;
- lack of data for evidence-based decision-making;
- insufficient attention to EDI in recruitment practices for executive, senior leadership, faculty, and staff; and
- lack of a centralized office or hub or an effective university-wide structure for advancing equity, diversity, and inclusion and measuring progress.
This report was initially intended to be part of a longer-term process. However, based on feedback from the community on the need to act, along with emerging opportunities, including SFU’s participation in a federal EDI pilot program, SFU’s executive have decided to redirect efforts to take immediate action on key priorities.
Though the report was completed and recommended by the Special Advisor, the community conversation process was guided with the support of an advisory and working group, who generously provided time, commitment and expertise throughout.
How do Equity, Diversity and Inclusion relate to each other?
Because these terms can mean different things to each of us, we’ve provided some definitions as a starting point for conversation.
Join in the community conversation about belonging, inclusion, fairness and respect at SFU.
More information on upcoming events coming soon. For more information and opportunities to participate in the community conversation, go here.