Athabasca University joins fight against anti-Black racism
AU one of 40 Canadian post-secondaries to sign Scarborough Charter
Athabasca University (AU) has joined 40 other Canadian universities and colleges in a national fight against anti-Black racism.
In signing the Scarborough Charter on Nov. 18, AU joined the first national action plan for Canadian post-secondary institutions to redress anti-Black racism and foster Black inclusion in higher education.
“Athabasca University’s guiding mission is the removal of barriers to university-level study and increasing equality of educational opportunity for adult learners worldwide,” said Deborah Meyers, interim president.
“Our endorsement of the Scarborough Charter is a commitment to action—to addressing anti-Black racism and redressing its impacts, to listening, engaging, and acting together toward transformative inclusion, to fostering and promoting inclusive excellence in all that we do.”
“Athabasca University’s guiding mission is the removal of barriers to university-level study and increasing equality of educational opportunity for adult learners worldwide.”
The 2020 murder of George Floyd and protests prompted higher education institutions to identify how equity, diversity, and inclusion have historically been excluded from research, teaching, learning, and governance.
The idea for the Scarborough Charter originated in October 2020 at a national conference, hosted by University of Toronto Scarborough, on anti-Black racism and Black inclusion in higher education. The charter was developed after a year-long collaboration with partner institutions, including AU, which this past spring consulted community members for feedback and input.
The charter identifies barriers to Black inclusion and how to respond to them. It also contains concrete actions and accountability mechanisms for institutions to deliver on their promise to make structural and systemic change.
“This charter follows through on a promise we made last year, as a sector, to move from rhetoric to meaningful action in addressing anti-Black racism and to promote Black inclusion,” said Dr. Wisdom Tettey, U of T vice-president and principal of U of T Scarborough.
“As universities we have much work to do in addressing anti-Black racism and ensuring we better reflect the Black communities we serve,” added Dr. Steven Murphy, president of Ontario Tech University. “The Scarborough Charter can act as a needed accelerant to working through these issues on our campuses, and in turn, in our communities.”