Equity, Diversity and Inclusion at SFU: June in Review

June 29, 2023

As our summer semester continues, we are beginning to prepare for the busy fall term and 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 June.


June is both National Indigenous Peoples Month and Pride Month. We observed several days of significance across the university including International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence, World Refugee Day, National Indigenous Peoples Day, National Day of Remembrance for Victims of Terrorism and Canadian Multiculturalism Day. 


June is National Indigenous Peoples Month, and June 21 marks National Indigenous Peoples Day. Across the university we honour the history, culture, resilience and contributions of First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples to SFU and across Canada. On this page, we highlighted events, resources, stories and ways to get connected to groups and activities for this month. 


SFU has an ongoing responsibility to create a welcoming place for all LGBTQIA2S+ members of the SFU community. We shared information about the roots of Pride Month, and a list of events, SFU-led projects and resources to support learning. 

EDI Council Updates

The EDI Advisory Council provides advice and guidance to the President. Co-chaired by Joy Johnson, president and vice-chancellor and Yabome Gilpin-Jackson, vice-president, people, equity and inclusion, the Council is composed of members including faculty, staff and students from a diverse representation of lived experiences, career and education stages. EDI Advisory Council members work together to consider the needs of the entire university and serve as EDI champions.  

The Council recently formalized Dorothy Cucw-la7 Christian as Auntie/Elder-in-Council to support Council with territorial acknowledgements, providing teachings, and to advise on the overall indigenization of the Council meetings this year.

Over the past month, we also formalized the 2023 EDI Advisory Council membership. Ten members stepped down this year. Thank you to Aslam Bulbulia, Sherryl Bisgrove, William Chan-Gill, Donald Estep, Gem Lee, Shaheen Nanji, Valerie Spicer, Javier Tavitas, Kyle Yeung and Amy Zheng for sharing your feedback and experiences. Your contributions to the Council to help guide our EDI efforts at SFU are greatly appreciated. 

Welcome to our nine new members:


  • Christina Lam, Undergraduate student (Faculty of Health Sciences)
  • Evan Accettola, Undergraduate Student (Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences)
  • Grace Shaw, Graduate student (Philosophy Department)
  • Nathan Grandjambe, Graduate Student (Beedie, Executive MBA)
  • Olivia Nieves Echevarria, Graduate student (Faculty of Environment)
  • Tiara Cash, Graduate Student (Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences)


  • Rachel Fouladi, Associate Professor (Department of Psychology)


  • Alda O’Grady, Research Project Manager (Institutional Strategic Awards, VPRI)
  • Leah Wiener, Curriculum Manager, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, Work Integrated Learning (Work Integrated Learning)


The Special Program Application to the British Columbia Office of the Human Right’s Commissioner to fulfill our commitment to preferential hiring of at least 15 Black faculty has now been approved, in tandem with approval for hiring at least 15 Black staff as well. This designation is a key milestone in our work to build a more inclusive and diverse community and fulfill our Equity Compass Goal 4 objectives towards Employment Equity.

On behalf of SFU leadership and the Equity Office, we would like to thank all members of Senate for your support of this important work. We are especially grateful to the students who advanced this critical initiative in September 2021. Thank you to co-organizers Gabe Liosis, Osob Mohamed, Balqees Jama, Giovanni Hosang and Marie Haddad who brought this to Senate. We are at this milestone today because of your leadership, vision and advocacy.

Our deepest gratitude also goes to Dr. June Francis who submitted a position support letter for the Special Program application on behalf of Black Caucus. We further thank all community members who provided support, solidarity letters and consulted with their members on the application, such as Director, Indigenous Initiatives, Chris Lewis; the faculty association leadership and staff led by President Kumari Beck, Academic Women Board, led by Ouldooz Baghban Karimi and Administration & Professional Staff Association led by President Jill Sutherland.  

This initiative began in September 2021, when SFU Senate approved a student-led motion to move ahead with a plan to hire at least 15 tenure-track Black faculty. The motion also included a resolution to implement programs that would redress inequities at SFU. Following the Senate meeting, it was identified that the next step would be approval from BC’s Human Rights Commissioner to conduct a limited and preferential hiring process as the preferred approach to fulfilling the motion, in addition to Employment Equity Act provisions. The applications for the hiring of Black faculty and staff were submitted in March 2023. A third Special Programs application for the hiring of Indigenous faculty and staff is also underway.  

While awaiting the Commissioner’s decision, the Equity Office had started working on recruitment and retention guidelines with the understanding that a comprehensive onboarding and retention program would better support new hires from underrepresented groups. That work will now continue with an immediate first step to deliver a Special Programs Toolkit as a resource for Chairs/Directors hiring Black Faculty and managers hiring Staff under the Special Program. Retention Program guidelines will also follow. We look forward to sharing more information in the Fall. 


We are working on creating a pan-university accessibility committee to meet our compliance requirements and address recommendations for public sector employers in the Accessible British Columbia Act. These include establishing an accessibility committee, an accessibility plan and building a tool to receive feedback on accessibility. Next month, we will be sharing a call for expressions of interest and extending invitations to join the SFU Accessibility Committee.  

Following an expected update to Employment Standard and Delivery of Service Standard by the provincial government this fall, the Accessibility Committee will be adjusting and finalizing the interim accessibility framework and plan and will begin working on implementing these standards to ensure we are creating accessible conditions across our campuses. 


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.


The news about the recent violent attack at the University of Waterloo that took place in a gender studies class was hard to hear. As a fellow member of Universities Canada and an institution committed to advancing the principles of equity, diversity, and inclusion, UWaterloo has been working to foster an inclusive, safe, and welcoming environment for all students, staff, and faculty. This hate-motivated, gender-based violence reminds us all that, despite the strides we have made as post-secondary institutions in Canada to advance understanding of the need for inclusive excellence and equitable outcomes for all, there is still work to be done to combat gender-based violence and all other forms of hate and systemic oppressions. There is comfort in knowing those attacked are reported to have non-life-threatening injuries.  

We recognize that these senseless tragedies, as well as the rate of change and worldwide current events, continue to be difficult and have an impact on many people in our community at SFU. Supports are available.  If you require assistance, please review our list of supports and services and contact us.


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