Equity & Inclusion

 

“All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.”

Diversity among Dalhousie's faculty, staff and students contributes to excellence. In our recruitment efforts, hiring practices and day to day interactions, we embrace the principles of equality and fairness.

MEMOS

Latest memos from the Vice Provost, Equity & Inclusion:

Dalhousie condemns anti-Muslim attack in London, ON

June 9, 2021

Dalhousie University strongly condemns the horrific attack against a Muslim family in London, ON.  

We express our sympathy to the family and loved ones of those who were lost and to those members of the Muslim community on our campus and around our province who are experiencing feelings of grief and anger as a result of this act of hate and Islamophobia.  

Dalhousie denounces all forms of faith-based hate, violence and discrimination. Such horrible acts stand in direct opposition to our core values. We stand in solidarity with the Muslim community and all those who face discrimination as we work toward embracing diversity and making Dalhousie an inclusive and safe place to study, work and live.  

This week’s horrible news comes in the wake of an already incredibly difficult time in our nation. We understand that hearing about and dealing with multiple painful and traumatic events can be hard to bear.  

Let us draw strength from each other and collectively work towards greater humanity for all.   

For those who would like to attend, there will be an outdoor community vigil this evening at 7 p.m. at the Ummah Mosque, 6225 Chebucto Rd., Halifax. Public health measures will be in place. For more details: https://www.facebook.com/ummahmasjid/posts/5563917680346544

Please remember to offer compassion, understanding, and support to our community members who are hurting.  

If you need immediate support, please know there are resources available: 

  • Dalhousie’s Human Rights and Equity Services provides confidential advice and support if a member of our community has faced race-based harassment and/or discrimination.  
  • Students who require immediate support should contact Student Health and Wellness by phone to book an appointment: 902-494-2171 (Halifax); 902-893-6369 (Truro). Additional e-mental health options for students are available, including Good2Talk – free and confidential counselling for post-secondary students (dal.ca/good2talk); Ask a Nurse – confidential answers to your health questions within 72 hrs; and TAO – an online mental health library.  
  • Faculty and staff resources are available through our Employee Family Assistance Program, which can be accessed at workhealthlife.com or at login.lifeworks.com. Please also visit our remote working site for employees for additional mental health resources.   

Our sympathy, strength, and spirit are with you. 

Deep, Frank & Theresa 

Dalhousie Mourns the BC Residential School Child Victims

May 31, 2021

Note: Some may find the contents of this message triggering.  

Kwe' (Greetings): 

It is with a heavy heart that the Dalhousie University community extends our deepest sympathy to the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc Residential School survivors, their families and community, all First Nations, and our local elders, chiefs, families and communities. We stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Dalhousie’s Indigenous faculty, staff and students to collectively mourn the uncovering of the 215 sacred children’s remains and the painful memories that accompany such a horrific discovery.  

The gravity of loss and trauma that the Indigenous communities of British Columbia, Nova Scotia, and all of Canada are experiencing weighs heavily on us all. We express our significant shared empathy for the loss of young children who belonged to loving families and cherished communities. We hope that one day we can say their names.  

To honour the 215 children whose lives were lost at the former Kamloops residential school and their families, Dalhousie has lowered its flags to half-mast for 215 hours to recognize each soul lost. 

With this discovery, we rededicate our continued work with our Indigenous scholars, Elders, students and community to educate every generation about Indigenous history and the lingering impact of colonialism, and actively work towards the Truth and Reconciliation educational goals. We appreciate that researching and communicating history from Indigenous perspectives are core to this process and, though often painfully difficult, this is important work. We remain committed to doing more. 

In the coming days and weeks (starting today) we will be meeting with Dalhousie’s Indigenous community to ensure their well-being and to support their experience at Dalhousie. To those members of our Indigenous community at Dal, please take care of yourself and ensure you take the time you need during this difficult period. We call on our non-Indigenous members to also reach out to our Indigenous community and offer your support and compassion. 

A National Residential School Crisis Line has been set up to provide support for former students and those affected. Access emotional and crisis referral services by calling the 24-hour national crisis line: 1-866 925-4419. 

We also encourage anyone affected by this news to reach out to the university for available resources and supports. 

  • The Elders in Residence program is available to students across campus, The Elders are committed to being available to students for guidance, counsel and support. 
  • The Indigenous Student Centre helps create a sense of belonging to support student success while at Dalhousie. Our Indigenous Student Advisor provides support and advocacy for all of Dalhousie’s Indigenous students. 
  • Dalhousie’s Human Rights and Equity Services provides confidential advice and support if a member of our community has faced race-based harassment and/or discrimination. 
  • Students who require immediate support should contact Student Health and Wellness by phone to book an appointment: 902-494-2171 (Halifax); 902-893-6369 (Truro). Additional e-mental health options for students are available, including Good2Talk – free and confidential counselling for post-secondary students (dal.ca/good2talk); Ask a Nurse – confidential answers to your health questions within 72 hrs; and TAO – an online mental health library. 
  • Faculty and staff resources are available through our Employee Family Assistance Program, which can be accessed at workhealthlife.com or at login.lifeworks.com. Please also visit our remote working site for employees for additional mental health resources.

Our sympathy, strength, and spirit are with you.  

Deep Saini
President and Vice-Chancellor

Frank Harvey
Provost and Vice-President Academic  

Theresa Rajack-Talley
Vice-Provost Equity and Inclusion 

Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM)

April 20, 2021

The month of April is used each year as an annual campaign to raise public awareness about sexual assault and to educate communities and individuals on how to prevent sexual violence. The COVID-19 experience since 2020 has made it increasingly urgent for us to use Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) to highlight this social justice issue and the extent to which it continues to plague society, escalating under the COVID-mandated living restrictions.   

Dalhousie joins with government agencies, businesses, other campuses and community-based organizations in the province, across the country and internationally, and particularly with those who provide services and supports to sexual violence victims, to spotlight SAAM. We believe that sexual harassment, assault, and sexual-related violence are public health, human rights and social justice issues and strongly condemn these horrid acts.     

Dalhousie remains committed to providing efforts for prevention and the creation of a safe and healthy environment for learning and working at the university. We recognize that we must be proactive, as sexual harassment, assault, and abuse can happen anywhere, whether it be work spaces, classrooms, social media platforms, or elsewhere.   

Specific to our students, Dalhousie’s SAAM focus this year is on building safe online spaces. As such, Human Rights & Equity Services (HRES) is providing knowledge-sharing and awareness-based programming through social media. Follow us on Instagram @DalHRES for information, tips, and resources related to sexualized violence, bystander intervention, and engaging in safer online spaces. (Facebook: fb.com/DalHRES Twitter: Twitter.com/DalHRES).   

Dalhousie University is committed to providing a safe and supportive environment for everyone that is free of discrimination, harassment and all forms of violence.

We want you to know you are not alone during this challenging time. Please reach out if you need support.

Provincial mental health crisis line

1-888-429-8167

Student supports

Students who require immediate support should contact Dalhousie’s Student Health & Wellness Services by phone to book an appointment: 902-494-2171 (Halifax); 902-893-6369 (Truro). DSU’s Survivor Support Centre offers a sexual assault & harassment phone line; call or text 902-425-1066 between 12pm-12am daily.   

Additional e-mental health options for students are available, including Good2Talk – free and confidential counselling for post-secondary students (dal.ca/good2talk); Ask a Nurse – confidential answers to your health questions within 72 hrs; and TAO – an online mental health library.

Faculty/staff supports

Faculty and staff resources are available through our Employee Family Assistance Program, which can be accessed at workhealthlife.com or at login.lifeworks.com. In addition, Morneau Shepell has opened its 24/7 bilingual crisis support line to help anyone in need of emotional support. The toll-free number is 1-844-751-2133.   

Employees are also reminded that our Blue Cross medical coverage for mental health benefits was increased to $1500 effective April 1, 2020. Please also visit our remote working site for employees for additional mental health resources.

Sincerely, 

Deep Saini
President and Vice-Chancellor

Frank Harvey
Provost and Vice-President Academic (Acting)

Theresa Rajack-Talley
Vice-Provost Equity and Inclusion

Madeleine Stinson
President, Dalhousie Student Union

Statement on anti-Asian discrimination

March 19, 2021

Recent incidents and attacks on the Asian community across North America, based on negative stereotypes and unfounded beliefs, are of grave concern. Unfortunately these acts of racism are not new, and they have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, sparking rising expressions of xenophobia and anti-Asian sentiment around the country and the world.

Dalhousie’s core values and policy on personal harassment and statement on discrimination condemns racism and expressions of hate, bias and discrimination in all forms. We recognize how recent attacks on Asians and Asian Canadians as well as the more recent tragic, unwarranted, and violent killings of six Asian women in Atlanta, USA, have deeply affected members of our Dalhousie community. We condemn these abhorrent acts in the strongest terms.

Dalhousie continues to be committed to fostering a safe and welcoming community, and we are proud of and celebrate our many Asian and Asian Canadian students, faculty and staff for their inspired contributions to our university. We are consistently working to bring more awareness to issues of racism, and on ways to support our diverse, and especially, underrepresented community members.

We encourage anyone affected by these recent events to reach out to the university for available resources and supports.
 
For support, please reach out to our colleagues in Human Rights and Equity Services for support at 902-494-6672 and Dal.ca/HRES. Students may also find support through Dalhousie’s Student Health & Wellness Centre, committed to providing quality primary and mental health care services. Appointments may be booked online or by calling 902-494-2171.

For Faculty and Staff, Employee and Family Assistance is also available for confidential support at 1-800-387-4765 or http://workhealthlife.com.
 
Dalhousie Security is responsible for the safety and security of the Dal community and operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The DalSAFE mobile app also connects the university community directly to HRES and other resources to support you.

Sincerely,

Deep Saini
President and Vice-Chancellor

Theresa Rajack-Talley
Vice-Provost Equity and Inclusion

International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day

March 8, 2021

International Women’s Day has been observed for more than a century since it began in 1911. The day recognizes the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women globally, and it is a call to action for gender parity.

Dalhousie would like to join with institutions, governments, corporations, grassroots organizations and the media in Canada and around the world to celebrate women’s achievements, while acknowledging the challenges that women still face, both in our community and globally.

This year’s International Women’s Day theme is “Choose to Challenge” – a call to action for all of us to recognize and oppose inequality and gender bias.

It has been close to a year since Dalhousie, along with the rest of Canada and the world, was forced to move the majority of our operations to a virtual space in response to COVID-19. Consistently, evidence has shown that the pandemic has resulted in particularly difficult circumstances for women as mothers, teachers, front-line workers, health professionals, and more. On a global scale, it has increased the burden on women as caregivers, while simultaneously aggravating gender-based violence.

Despite these significant challenges and atrocities, we draw strength and inspiration from the famous words of Maya Angelou: “Still [We] Rise.”

It is more important than ever to honour women’s immense sacrifices, successes and contributions. Today and every day, please join us as we strive for a more equitable world for women everywhere.   

Sincerely,

Deep Saini
President and Vice-Chancellor

Theresa Rajack-Talley
Vice-Provost Equity and Inclusion

Mi'kmaq History Month

September 30, 2020

In 1993, Premier John Savage and Mi’kmaw Grand Chief Ben Sylliboy declared October as the official month to recognize and celebrate Mi’kmaw culture and heritage. This time of year, known as Wikewiku’s among the Mi’kmaq, offers all of us an opportunity to recognize and celebrate the historic presence of the Mi’kmaq, the L’nuk, whose unceded territory we live on and who have lived here for over 14,000 years.  

The month officially begins with Treaty Day on October 1, first proclaimed by then Grand Chief Donald Marshall Sr. in 1986 to commemorate the key role of treaties between Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq and the Crown.   

Today, September 30, is also Orange Shirt Day — a day that acknowledges the residential school experience and the journey of survivors and their families to heal. This day is normally observed in September because it was this time of year when children were taken to residential schools. Orange shirts remind us of this history and to foster hope for future generations of children.   

While we are not able to celebrate Mi’kmaq History Month as we normally would — with in-person events like the campus Mawio’mi — we are committed to continuing these important celebrations and conversations virtually. The Office of the Vice-Provost, Equity & Inclusion and HRES are planning their next Speak Truth to Power Forum series event in October to provide engaging debate and discussions that can further enlighten our campus population and our extended community on the Mi’kmaq and the Indigenous Peace and Friendship Treaties. These and other events will be added to the HRES website as more details are available.   

At Dalhousie, we work, study and live on traditional and unceded Mi’kmaq territory. We have continued our efforts towards reconciliation through the hiring of a Director of Indigenous Community Engagement to support our commitment and connection to the community and the permanent installation of the Mi’kmaq Grand Council Flag on our Halifax and Truro campuses. We are currently working diligently to move our Indigenous Studies Minor towards a major; enhancing the Elders in Residence Program; and supporting the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation Hub, the Gord Downie and Chanie Wenjack Legacy Space and the Indigenous Student Centre, to name just a few examples. In addition to these inroads and ongoing efforts, we are committed to doing more.   

Catherine Martin, our Director of Indigenous Community Engagement, reminds us of the concept of “two-eyed seeing,” defined as, “To see from one eye with the strengths of Indigenous ways of knowing, and to see from the other eye with the strengths of Western ways of knowing, and to use both of these eyes together.” (Bartlett, Marshall, & Marshall, 2012, p. 335). Let us remember to keep our eyes open and our minds curious as we welcome and learn from this important time of year.  

Wela’lin (thank you),  

Deep Saini
President and Vice-Chancellor  

Theresa Rajack-Talley
Vice-Provost, Equity and Inclusion

Commitment to Mi'kmaq and Indigenous communities

September 23, 2020

Diversity and Inclusiveness are part of Dalhousie’s core values. We acknowledge that Dalhousie University sits on the ancestral, unceded, and unsurrendered territory of the Mi’kmaq Nation. As Peace and Friendship Treaty beneficiaries, we have a responsibility to continuously educate ourselves and work in solidarity with Mi'kmaq and other Indigenous communities. We respect the 1752 Peace and Friendship Treaty, the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the 1999 Supreme Court of Canada’s Marshall Decision and their associated applications — all of which reinforce the core rights of Indigenous peoples.

Negative comments against the Indigenous community exercising their right to a livelihood are not reflective of Dalhousie’s core values and those specific to the Indigenous/Mi’kmaq peoples. This includes any disparaging comments by any Dalhousie community member(s). Such comments reflect the need for greater understanding of Indigenous people and their rights, and Dalhousie continues to be committed to furthering education and improved understanding in our community and beyond.

We are reminded by the Director of Indigenous Community Engagement at Dalhousie, Catherine Martin, who herself is a Mi’kmaw woman, that reconciliation is about owning what has happened …telling the truth.  At Dalhousie, despite the ongoing expansion of Indigenous programming and initiatives, shortcomings remain. There is more work to do so that our non-Indigenous community understands the history, culture and current issues of the Indigenous/Mi’kmaq people, including the Atlantic Peace & Friendship Treaties.

We want to use this teachable moment to assure our community and the broader Mi’kmaq and Indigenous community that there is ongoing Equity, Diversity and Inclusiveness work at the university that is committed to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s calls to action. We also want to use this moment to rededicate our efforts in redressing our institutional colonial history and the impact on Indigenous/Mi’kmaq faculty, staff, students and community. We are reminded that as an institution of higher education we have a social obligation to provide an education that combats systemic racism and all forms of discrimination and intolerance. We will continue to be guided by the Indigenous Advisory Council and other Indigenous/Mi’kmaq members on our campus as well as through our community outreach by that of the Elders and the wider Indigenous communities.   

We encourage members of the Dalhousie community to learn more about Treaty rights, some information is available at UNDRIPTRC Calls to ActionTreaty Education in NS.

Also, below are some support services on campus:

  • The Elders in Residence program is available to students across campus, The Elders are committed to being available to students for guidance, counsel and support.
  • The Indigenous Student Centre helps create a sense of belonging to support student success while at Dalhousie. Our Indigenous Student Advisor provides support and advocacy for all of Dalhousie’s Indigenous students.
  • Dalhousie’s Human Rights and Equity Services provides confidential advice and support if a member of our community has faced race-based harassment and/or discrimination.

As part of the Speak Truth to Power series organized by Dalhousie’s Human Rights and Equity Services, a virtual forum focused on education about Indigenous histories in Nova Scotia will be held in October in conjunction with Mi’kmaq History Month. More details to follow.

Lastly, we urge everyone to come together and support one another through these challenging circumstances, ensuring we act respectfully and compassionately towards one another in alignment with our values.

Sincerely,

Theresa Rajack-Talley
Vice-Provost, Equity & Inclusion

Deep Saini
President & Vice-Chancellor

Pride at Dalhousie

July 13, 2020

Many around the world celebrate Pride Month in June, but here in Nova Scotia and at Dalhousie we celebrate our LGBTQ2SIA+ communities in July. We honour their continued right to be their true and authentic selves and support their struggles for equality. Though we are unable to have in-person celebrations on our campuses this year, we are still taking the opportunity to recognize Pride and raise the Rainbow and Transgender Flags on Dalhousie’s Studley Quad today, Monday, July 13 at noon. A virtual flag raising ceremony will be livestreamed on Dalhousie Student Life’s Instagram and also recorded for closed captioned viewing on Dalhousie’s YouTube channel. We will also be raising flags on our Sexton Campus and our Agricultural Campus in Truro.

The different colours of the Pride Flag (including the brown and black stripes to recognize intersectionalities) are not only reflective of the diversity that makes up the LGBTQ2SIA+ community, but also Dalhousie’s commitment to creating a more diverse campus — one that recognizes the uniqueness of individuals and groups while striving for equity and inclusion.

As an institution of higher learning, it is our responsibility to educate ourselves and others about the proud history of the LGBTQ2SIA+ community. Pride is often associated with the 1969 Stonewall Riots in New York against unwarranted police attacks on the LGBTQ2SIA+ community. Today, we commemorate Pride within the broader conversation about anti-Black racism and amidst protests against police violence — similar to those in 1969 led by many Black and racialized trans women. Canada has its own rich LGBTQ2SIA+ history. For the past 50 years, the LGBTQ2SIA+ community and its allies fought for and won certain basic human rights, decriminalizing homosexuality, getting access to benefits, protection for immigrants and refugees, and the right to civil marriage. Last year, the World Health Organization voted to no longer categorize transgender as a mental disorder.

Here at Dalhousie, we encourage our faculty, staff, students, alumni and administrators to pause, celebrate and reenergize. The full acceptance, safety and practice of inclusiveness for our LGBTQ2SIA+ community is critical to the university’s success, with multiple on-campus groups working hard to create accessible and inclusive programming that supports LGBTQ2SIA+ communities, educates allies, and creates opportunities for visibility and dialogue without fear. Dalhousie’s Queer Faculty and Staff Caucus will be organizing several virtual events this summer; please continue to visit their website for more information.

Dalhousie University sits on the ancestral and unceded territory of the Mi’kmaq. As we celebrate Pride, we would also like to acknowledge the Two-Spirit and Indigenous LGBTQ2SIA+ individuals and communities of Nova Scotia and the Wabanaki Two-Spirit Alliance.

This month serves as an important reminder of the challenges that LGBTQ2SIA+ individuals and communities have overcome, the challenges they still face, and the role we can play as allies for more diverse, inclusive and accessible higher education for all. Let’s celebrate our diversity together as One Dal.

Sincerely,   

Deep Saini
President and Vice-Chancellor

Theresa Rajack-Talley
Vice-Provost, Equity & Inclusion

Response to unjust racial tragedies

June 1, 2020

Diversity, Equity and Inclusiveness are part of Dalhousie’s core values. It is within this context that we acknowledge the anger, pain, fear, frustration and anxiety that so many are experiencing in response to the unjust racial tragedies experienced by Black people in North America and beyond. We unequivocally condemn the racist acts that have sparked such broad outrage and social action.

As an institution of higher learning, we cannot remain silent. We have an obligation to provide an education that combats systemic anti-Black racism and all forms of discrimination and intolerance; to engage our students in critical thinking and research on the causes and consequences of racial violence, persistent disparities and social inequalities; to strive for an understanding and appreciation of diversity and inclusivity in our campus culture, climate and curriculum. The recent racist incidents remind us of our own institution’s history reflected in the Lord Dalhousie Report and that complacency and silence perpetuates historical disparities. We must stand united against these wrongs.   

To our community of Black faculty, staff, students and families, far and near, please know that we share in your anguish and that you have our sincerest support and commitment against anti-Black racism and violence. Dalhousie remains committed to safeguarding our students and employees against all forms of discrimination.

To our wider Nova Scotia community, we strive to be a university that is not just located in a community but is part of a community. This means sharing in the joys as well as in the sadness and tragedies. We are consistently expanding our efforts in areas of diversity, equity, inclusiveness and community engagement, particularly those of African and Indigenous descent. Our work continues on an African Nova Scotian strategy that engages African Nova Scotians as a distinct people. As part of our academic service to the community we will be hosting a virtual public forum on the current anti-Black violence— you can expect more details in the coming days.

Please know that, even under these pandemic circumstances, there are services and supports available for our community — listed below. Please reach out if you need support.

To do nothing against social injustice is not an option. We hope that together we can make our community a safer and healthier place to live, work and study without fear of anti-Black racism, being a racialized person, or because of your gender, ethnicity, sexuality, disability, religion or nationality.

We will continue to add our voices to this important conversation and encourage others in our community to do the same. We will not be silent.

Sincerely,

Deep Saini
President and Vice-Chancellor

Theresa Rajack-Talley
Vice-Provost, Equity & Inclusion

African Heritage Month kicks off at Dalhousie

January 31, 2020

African Heritage Month begins on Saturday, and I encourage you to take part in upcoming events happening on campus and in our broader community.

In particular, I invite you to join me at Dalhousie’s African Heritage Month launch event and flag-raising on Monday, February 3 from 12-1:30 p.m. in the LeMarchant Place atrium.

This year, we celebrate milestone anniversaries of several Dalhousie initiatives that build important bridges between the university and historic African Nova Scotian communities. These include the Transition Year Program in our College of Continuing Education; the Indigenous Blacks & Mi’kmaq Initiative in the Schulich School of Law; and our Black Student Advising Centre — all marking three decades of vital service in expanding outreach, access and support to People of African Descent pursuing higher education.

In the International Decade for People of African Descent, we reaffirm our commitment to supporting all People of African Descent in our community. Informed by the recommendations of the Lord Dalhousie scholarly panel, we continue to move forward in addressing our dual responsibility to reconcile with the legacies of anti-Black racism and slavery while building a better present and future for individuals and communities of African descent. Learn more about the work on campus stemming from the Lord Dalhousie Panel on Dal News.

For an overview of Dal and community events happening during African Heritage Month, visit the Human Rights & Equity Services website.

I hope to see you on Monday.

Best regards,

Dr. Deep Saini
President and Vice-Chancellor