A Message from the OHRE on the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

On March 21st of each year, the United Nations, and countries all around the world, mark the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. This day is an opportunity to both celebrate the contributions that Indigenous and racialized communities have made toward the advancement of civil and political rights, and recognize that racial discrimination continues to prevent Indigenous and racialized persons from fully participating in the economic, social, and cultural lives of our communities. Allies play a pivotal role in combating racial discrimination, and, therefore, it is everyone’s role to stand-up and speak out against racism, whether it be on the streets of our towns and cities or in the halls of our colleges and universities.

For this year’s IDERD, the Office of Human Rights and Equity is partnering with the Teaching Commons to offer an interactive workshop for faculty members and contract lecturers on how to have challenging conversations in the classroom about subjects such as race, racism, and other related subjects while maintaining a safe and inclusive environment.

Challenging Conversations in the Classroom

Tuesday, March 22, 2022 @ 10:00 – 1130 a.m.
Register: https://libcal.lakeheadu.ca/event/3647534

Friday, March 25, 2022 @ 1:00 – 2:30 p.m.
Register: https://libcal.lakeheadu.ca/event/3647576

This workshop will include tools and tips for faculty members and contract lecturers as well as the voices of a diverse group of students in the form of short videos.

Looking Forward

In the coming months, we will be launching a number of initiatives to combat racism and racial discrimination, including the following:

An App-based Tool for Reporting

We have been beta-testing a module of the Lakehead University Mobile Safety App in which students and employees will be able to report incidents of racial discrimination on their mobile devices. The module will feature options to report anonymously or non-anonymously, with the opportunity to attached photos. We have been holding focus group to get feedback on the test module, and look forward to launching it live to the Lakehead University very soon.

A New Human Rights Policy

We have been working on a revision to our current Harassment and Discrimination Policy, which will be renamed the Human Rights Policy. We conducted a first round of consultations with students and employees last year, and will be conducting a second round starting in April of 2022. The new policy will provide increased supports and protections for those who experience racial discrimination, and will decrease the time in which complaints are processed.

A New Self-Identification Survey

We have been working on a revision to the current Voluntary Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Survey located on myinfo. Data is a key component to measure barriers and gaps in policies and practices faced by Indigenous and racialized students and employees, and a more extensive and inclusive self-identification survey will assist us in meeting the goals of Lakehead University’s Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Action Plan. We expect to launch the new survey in September of 2022.