46 universities signed the Scarborough Charter – what is it?
By Keoputhy Bunny, News Editor
Mount Royal University (MRU) and 45 other universities have banded together to sign the Scarborough Charter. It is a document on anti-Black racism and Black inclusion in Canadian higher education.
The “Scarborough Charter on Anti-Black Racism and Black Inclusion in Canadian Higher Education: Principles, Actions and Accountabilities” has been in the works since last October. The charter was a collaborative effort between multiple institutions surrounding the idea of Black inclusion and promoting a framework to fight against anti-Black racism.
The charter’s principles include Black flourishing, inclusive excellence, mutuality and accountability.
Black flourishing focuses on the idea of breaking down barriers while nurturing equality, human dignity and sustainability.
Inclusive excellence acknowledges how equitable inclusion is critical to success. They want to create conversations between different groups and learn and advance from it.
Mutuality recognizes universities and colleges as part of Black communities and therefore should develop relationships with the said community. Universities may act as local employers or vitalize the local economy.
Signing the charter is not a one-and-done act . The charter requires the institutions who are signed to develop their own plans to foster Black inclusion.
“We are all diminished by a country in a sector that has been selective in who is deserving of equity through the structures and systems of exclusion founded on our country’s colonial history,” Wisdom Tettey, vice president & principal of University of Toronto-Scarborough and Chair of the Inter-Institutional Advisory Committee, said at the signing.
MRU signed with other universities on Thursday, Nov. 18 and has also published a press release about it the same day. MRU is also looking to hire an associate vice president for equity, diversity and inclusion to promote more inclusion.
The charter was born out of an event hosted at the University of Toronto (U of T) October 2020, with multiple post-secondary institutions collaborating to create a framework to continue to fight racism. They then sent out the charter to their institutional partners for feedback. The official version can be found on U of T’s Scarborough Charter page.
Dr. Adelle Blackett, the Canada research chair in Transnational Labour Law & Development of McGill University and Principal Drafter had this to say about the charter, “I’d like to suggest that the Scarborough Charter may be seen both as an archive of special significance at this moment and a framework of action inspiring our future engagements.”
In the past, MRU also established the President’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Committee to advocate against systemic racism as well as make sure MRU sticks to their values of equity, diversity and inclusion.