SFU reaches next step in ambitious plan to hire more Black faculty and staff
SFU’s effort to grow a more inclusive and diverse community has passed a key milestone after the B.C. Human Rights Commissioner approved two Special Program applications, allowing the university to conduct limited and preferential hiring of at least 15 tenure-track Black faculty and 15 Black staff members.
Program advocates, including Dr. June Francis, co-founder of SFU’s Black Caucus and former special adviser to the SFU President on anti-racism, have called the decision a significant step toward redressing the obstacles that have existed for Black empowering and Black flourishing at SFU.
The approval of the special program is one of many actions SFU is taking to live up to the aspirations of the Scarborough Charter on Anti-Black Racism, which SFU signed in 2021. Together, these actions aim to acknowledge and address the harm and trauma that Black students, faculty and staff have faced due to systemic and institutional racism.
With a clear and distinct mandate, the program hopes to have a meaningful impact in addressing inequality by removing barriers to employment access and extending opportunities to qualified candidates from equity-deserving groups who are historically and currently underrepresented.
The Special Program application stemmed from a motion previously passed by the SFU Senate to hire 15 Black faculty across the university’s faculties and disciplines. The motion was the direct result of student leadership, having been put forward by former SFSS president Gabe Liosis and championed by student co-organizers Osob Mohamed, Balqees Jama, Marie Haddad and Giovanni HoSang. It was further endorsed by the SFSS council and supported by many campus groups, including SFU Students of Caribbean and African Ancestry, African Students Association, the Somali Students Association and the SFU Black Caucus.
In anticipation of the commissioner’s decision, SFU’s Equity Office has been working on recruitment and retention guidelines with the understanding that a comprehensive onboarding and retention program would better support new faculty and staff hired as part of this novel program.
Departments and faculties with open tenure-track and staff positions can begin hiring for new positions in the coming weeks.
A separate application for Indigenous staff hiring is currently being processed and SFU hopes to have an update from the Commissioner on that application soon.
In 2021, SFU was among almost 50 post-secondary institutions that signed the Scarborough Charter, pledging to fight anti-Black racism and encourage Black inclusion in higher education in Canada. Read more about this historic charter, here.
Learn more about the special program designation, click here.