Equity, Diversity and Inclusion at SFU: August in Review

August 31, 2023

We continue our work towards a more equitable and inclusive campus environment for all. Here is a snapshot of what the Equity Office has been up to in August.

Advancing a Culture of Inclusive Excellence

We’re pleased to launch a new campaign to help build clarity about our intended culture of Inclusive Excellence and the supports available to the SFU community. Sponsored and co-chaired by the Vice-President, People, Equity and Inclusion and Vice-Provost, Students and International, the campaign and its contents were based on findings from the 2021 Personal Safety on Campus report and further developed by a cross-institutional steering committee earlier this year. The first round of the respect and personal safety campaign was shared with new and incoming students last week, with further information will be shared with faculty and staff in the fall. 

Learn more:

Welcome to the new Accessibility Committee! 

On July 13, SFU issued a call for applications to be part of the first Accessibility Committee in the university. This committee will help identify and remove accessibility barriers across all three campuses. There were 58 expressions of interest from folks for the at-large positions and 11 will be joining the committee. Welcome to our new members!

Appointed Members

  1. Bradley Thomas, Facilities, Surrey
  2. Brian Stewart, Chief Information Officer
  3. Ebony Magnus, Associate Dean, Academic Engagement, SFU Library
  4. Fereshteh Rashed, Director of Access and Equity, Graduate Student Society
  5. Jennifer Espinos, Executive Director, Office of VP Finance and Administration
  6. Jennifer Sanguinetti, Associate VP, Facilities and Capital Planning
  7. Joel Gilani, SFU Disability and Neurodiversity Alliance (SFSS constituency group)
  8. Mat Cocuzzi, Associate Director, Facilities Services, Vancouver Campus
  9. Megan Tweedie, Director, Human Rights Office
  10. Mitchell Stoddard, Director, Centre for Accessible Learning
  11. Nanda Dimitrov, Senior Director, Centre for Educational Excellence
  12. Rose Evans, Faculty Relations

At-Large Members

  1. Cynthia Su, Undergraduate Student, School of Contemporary Arts
  2. Lovely Ranges, Undergraduate Student, Faculty of Communication, Art, and Technology
  3. Bonnie Burnside, Graduate Student, Urban Studies
  4. Spencer Chen, Graduate Student, Psychology
  5. Matia Theodosakis, Alumni & Graduate Student, School of Public Policy
  6. Sean Heaslip, Alumni & Staff Member, Health and Counselling
  7. Leah Wiener, Staff Member, Director, Work Integrated Learning
  8. Rita Steele, Staff Member, Manager, Sustainable Operations, SFU Sustainability
  9. Elina Birmingham, Associate Professor, Faculty of Education
  10. Frances Dodd, Systems & Technical Services Librarian, SFU Library
  11. Mark Pickup, Professor, Department of Political Science

The pan-university accessibility committee will meet our compliance requirements and address recommendations for public sector employers in the Accessible British Columbia Act. The committee will build upon the Interim Accessibility Action Plan and assist the SFU in identifying attitudinal, physical or architectural, information or communication, systemic/organizational, technology, and sensory barriers. Learn more.

Second Special Programs Application Approved 

In August, the British Columbia Office of the Human Right’s Commissioner approved our second Special Program Application to hire Indigenous staff members. This follows our successful application received in July for preferential hiring of at least 15 Black faculty, in tandem with approval for hiring at least 15 Black staff as well. 

This second Special Programs Application marks our continued commitment to Reconciliation, working towards meeting the Calls to Action in our Walk With Us and Pathways reports. The Equity Office continues to work with SFU’s Faculty Association for our third Special Programs Application for the hiring of Indigenous faculty members and we look forward to submitting the final application soon. 

Pride Parade 2023

This year, SFU appeared in the Vancouver Pride Parade for the first time as an institution. The Simon Fraser Student Society and Out on Campus last represented the SFU community at Vancouver’s 2013 parade. When reviewing parade applicants such as SFU, the Vancouver Pride Society emphasizes intersectional equity, including demonstrated support for diversity of sexual orientation and gender identity, anti-racism and accessibility. The society acknowledged the university’s commitments and progress towards equity, diversity and inclusion through major institutional initiatives such as the Equity Compass, as well as 2S/LGBTQIA+ supports, resources and programming. 

See photos and read about the Pride Parade here: Pride Recap: SFU celebrates 2S/LGBTQIA+ community

Days of Significance

In August, the university observed four key days of significance. These included Emancipation Day, International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, World Humanitarian Day and International Overdose Awareness Day.  

Emancipation Day

Celebrating the interdisciplinary intellect and career of SFU Distinguished Professor Henry Daniel

The university celebrated the interdisciplinary intellect and career of SFU Distinguished professor Henry Daniel who has significantly impacted the Black community at SFU. 

Slow but steady progress: an update on Black student supports at SFU

An update on Black student supports at SFU, including information about the upcoming Black Student Centre. 

Memorandum of Understanding with Simon Fraser Student Society

We continue to actively pursue completion of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Simon Fraser Student Society (SFSS) that allows SFU to intervene on incidents within SFSS that affect students under SFU policies GP 47 (Bullying and Harassment) and GP 18 (Human Rights) as well as GP 44 (Sexual Violence and Misconduct Prevention, Education and Support) as previously established. This MOU is a partnership with SFSS, given that SFSS is independent of SFU’s legal jurisdiction and SFU cannot take over their leadership, governance or operations without specific agreement and their consensus. The draft MOU is currently with the SFSS and progressing through their internal review process. We are hopeful that the MOU will be advanced and finalized over the summer. The MOU covers the conduct of individual students, not the SFSS at large.

EDI-related supports are available

We recognize that the pace of change and local and global current affairs continues to be challenging and has impacts for many in our community. If you are in need of support, please see our list of EDI specific supports and services and reach out if you need help. 

For all other supports, see our newly launched community support page. 


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