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:

National Day for Truth and Reconciliation - Thursday, September 30

MEMORANDUM

To:           The Dalhousie University community

From:       Theresa Rajack-Talley, Vice-Provost Equity and Inclusion

                Catherine Martin, Director of Indigenous Community Engagement

Date:        Monday, September 27, 2021

Re:           National Day for Truth and Reconciliation - Thursday, September 30

Dear Dalhousie community,

This year, for the first time, September 30 has been designated by the Federal government as the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, a statutory holiday to commemorate the horrific legacy of residential schools in Canada.  This new holiday is one of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s (TRC) 94 calls to action.  On this day, Dalhousie University will be closed, classes will not be held, and only employees designated as essential will be required to work. In his August 31 memo, President Saini made it clear that the day is for us — as a community located in Mi’kma’ki, the ancestral and unceded territory of the Mi’kmaq — to learn and reflect on the history, culture, and lived experiences of Indigenous peoples.

This year, the day marks a very special and sacred time in our history as we honor the lives of the children who attended Shubenacadie Residential School and all the others across Turtle Island - Canada.  We encourage the Dal community to take some time from everyday life to reflect and soul search on the atrocities that were done to the sacred lives of Indigenous children, some of who never returned home; to understand that this is part of Canada’s truth/ history; and begin to embark upon a journey of healing and change. As Catherine Martin emphasizes: “This day is not a “holiday”; rather it is a memorial, and a time of grieving, forgiveness, and transformation.”

September 30 has, since 2013, also been designated Orange Shirt Day across Canada to commemorates the experience of Phyllis (Jack) Webstad, who created the day. Orange was the colour of her shirt on her first day attending residential school, and it was taken from her when she arrived.

In honor of the National Truth and Reconciliation Day, the Henry Hicks Building (Halifax) and Cummings Hall (Truro) will be lit orange on September 30 as part of a national “Light the Country Orange” campaign organized by the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, and orange flags will be raised at both campuses.   

As part of reflection, we encourage all to participate in the special events hosted by the Dal community including:

  • A three-day speaker series titled "Preparing for a Day of Truth and Reconciliation" hosted by the Indigenous Health in Medicine program on September 27, 28, 29 (email IHIM@dal.ca);
  • A free course titled 4 Seasons of Reconciliation, Dal Libraries;
  • A screening of the film The Secret Path on September 29 at noon in the McInnes room at which special TRC postcards will be distributed;  
  • An Orange Shirt unveiling on the Truro Campus in the Student Learning Commons, which will be on display beginning September 28 at 12:30 pm until Monday, October 4. (see The Golden Ram, Dalhousie Agricultural Students' Association monthly campus newspaper, for more info).  
  • A virtual sunrise ceremony hosted by Catherine Martin, Director of Indigenous Community Engagement, on September 30 from 7-7:30 a.m. (Link will be made available from the HRES website.)
  • A virtual Zoom presentation from Dal faculty member Patricia Doyle-Bedwell, hosted by the Dalhousie Faculty Association, taking place on September 30 from 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.
  • A virtual talk and discussion on Tuesday, September 28th from 6-8pm, by Catherine Martin, hosted by the School of Resource and Environmental Studies Student Society.

There are many more events taking place in Mi’kmaki, and across Turtle Island. For more information on both Dalhousie and community events, visit the HRES website. We also invite the Dal community to join the online sunrise ceremony organized by APTN and airing live on television. More information here.

We end this memo with a quote from the beloved late Grand Chief Ben Sylliboy who said in a film (NFB 2004) - "At night we cried for our parents… we will never let this happen again.”   

M’sit Nokomaq / All my relations,

Theresa Rajack-Talley

Vice-Provost Equity and Inclusion

Catherine Martin

Director of Indigenous Community Engagement

Dalhousie University is located in Mi’kma’ki, the ancestral and unceded territory of the Mi’kmaq. We are all Treaty people.

Celebrating Pride Month

Thursday, August 12, 2021

Re:                  Celebrating Pride Month

While much of the world celebrates Pride Month in June, here in Nova Scotia and at Dalhousie we usually celebrate our LGBTQ2SIA+ communities in July. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and health and safety, Pride Month is being commemorated in Halifax in August this year.   

Pride looks different around the world, but it shares a common purpose: to fight for continued recognition of the basic human rights for all LGBTQ2SIA+ people everywhere. What was sparked in New York with the Stonewall riots of 1969 is now a global movement.  Dalhousie’s students, faculty, staff, friends, family and alumni join with the LGBTQ2SIA+ community in Halifax, the rest of the country, and the world in celebrating Pride Month.   

To recognize Pride Month, we will raise the Progress Pride flags on Dalhousie’s campuses beginning today (August 12). The different colors of the flag are reflective of the diversity of those that make up the LGBTQ2SIA+ community including Black and People of Colour. Dalhousie University sits on the ancestral and unceded territory of the Mi’kmaq People and as we celebrate Pride Month, we acknowledge the Two-Spirit and Indigenous LGBTQ2SIA+ individuals and communities of Nova Scotia, and the Wabanaki Two-Spirit Alliance.   

We are truly thankful to the dedicated LGBTQ2SIA+ individuals, supporters, and those who paved the way in building a more inclusive Dalhousie, including those currently developing a new a Queer Studies certificate for Dalhousie. While we are unable to have large in-person events on our campus, we encourage all in Halifax to support the Halifax Pride Festival taking place in the city from August 12 to 22. A list of activities organized can be found at https://www.halifaxpride.com/calendar.  A limited number of free tickets will be given to Dalhousie community members via the HRES Instagram account.

Have a safe and happy Pride Month!

Theresa Rajack-Talley
Vice-Provost, Equity & Inclusion

Madeleine Stinson
President, Dalhousie Student Union

Emancipation Day - August 1

MEMORANDUM

To:        The Dalhousie University community

From:     Deep Saini, President and Vice-Chancellor

             Theresa Rajack-Talley, Vice-Provost Equity and Inclusion

Date:     Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Re:        Emancipation Day – August 1

Earlier this year, Canada’s House of Commons voted unanimously to designate August 1 as Emancipation Day. Dalhousie University joins the government, other universities, and communities in Nova Scotia, Canada and internationally in celebrating this important occasion.   

On August 1, 1834, the Slavery Abolition Act came into legislative effect throughout the British Empire. This marked the first Emancipation Day and brought with it the legal end of centuries of enslavement of African People and their descendants. At the time of its enactment, the new law spelled legal freedom for nearly a million African people throughout the British Empire, including in Canada. Official national observance of Emancipation Day is an impetus to reflect on the ongoing impacts of slavery on people of African ancestry in Canada and elsewhere.   

Dalhousie’s role in this important commemoration is noteworthy. Former faculty member and current Senator Wanda Thomas Bernard has worked for years to have the day officially commemorated. Thanks to her efforts and the efforts of many others, Emancipation Day provides us occasion to acknowledge an important part of our shared history in Canada — one that has traditionally gone unremarked upon.   

Dalhousie has also documented our own intersections with the historical legacies of slavery, and with a vital imperative to help strengthen and support the African Nova Scotian community, this occasion is particularly timely and relevant. This weekend, Dalhousie will be raising the new African Nova Scotian flag — designed by visual artist Wendie Wilson and revealed earlier this year — on both our Halifax and Truro campuses in honour of Emancipation Day.

We would also like to invite members of the Dalhousie community to a special virtual panel discussion hosted by Halifax Public Libraries this Wednesday (July 28) called Emancipation and Liberation: Where Do We Go from Here?, featuring multiple Dalhousie faculty members. Afua Cooper, Barb Hamilton-Hinch and Isaac Saney will be joined by NSCAD University’s Gregory Adolphe-Nazaire to explore the meaning of the Slavery Abolition Act within the contemporary context of the struggle for racial justice.   

Let us each do our part to recognize Emancipation Day through contemplation, education, celebration and action.

Sincerely,

Deep and Theresa

 

--

Deep Saini

President and Vice-Chancellor

Theresa Rajack-Talley

Vice-Provost Equity and Inclusion   

Call for Nominations – President's Awards for the Advancement of Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Accessibility

Tuesday, July 20, 2021  

At Dalhousie, we aspire to be a national leader in championing equity, diversity, inclusion, and accessibility (EDIA). Inclusive excellence is core to our new strategic direction, Third Century Promise, and the efforts of our faculty, students and staff in advancing EDIA are vital to our collective success. 

Each year, we recognize individuals and groups across our campuses who have made outstanding contributions in this space with President’s Awards for the Advancement of Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Accessibility – and we are now inviting nominations for the 2020-2021 awards.  

We encourage the nomination of individuals or groups (including units, departments, faculties, or campus organizations) and will be providing three awards:

  • A faculty or staff individual award 
  • A faculty or staff group award 
  • A student individual or group award 

Nominees should demonstrate a commitment to dismantling systemically unjust structures and promote an inclusive campus community at Dalhousie, going above and beyond what would normally be expected in their everyday duties to accomplish these objectives.  

If you have worked with an individual or group who deserves recognition for their exceptional or creative efforts to advance Dalhousie’s EDIA work, please nominate them by August 31, 2021.  

More information about the nomination process, along with the nomination forms, may be found here

Please help us recognize and celebrate the extraordinary work happening across our campuses to make Dalhousie a thriving community where everyone belongs.  

Sincerely, 

Deep and Theresa 

Deep Saini
President and Vice-Chancellor

Theresa Rajack-Talley
Vice-Provost, Equity & Inclusion

Dalhousie mourns the Saskatchewan residential school child victims

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

June 24, 2021

Kwe' (Greetings):

The Dalhousie University community extends our deepest sympathy to the survivors, families and Indigenous communities in Saskatchewan who are mourning the discovery of 751 unmarked graves of sacred children at the site of a former residential school in that province.  

This is the second such horrific discovery in less than a month with others to follow that will continue to mark one of the darkest chapters in Canada’s history. We are heartbroken at this news and the Dalhousie community offers our unwavering support to the Indigenous communities impacted by this tragedy. We continue to work closely with Dalhousie’s Indigenous Advisory Council on how to better address this issue and make Dalhousie more inclusive in all that we do. To honour the 751 children whose lives were lost at the former Saskatchewan residential school and their families, Dalhousie will lower its flags to half-mast. 

We invite you, this evening, to join our Speak Truth to Power Forum: They Found Us and We Are Coming Home to listen and learn from Indigenous panelists on this devastating issue. The event begins at 6 p.m.; full details can be found here.

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, Frank & Theresa 

--

Deep Saini
President and Vice-Chancellor
deep.saini@dal.ca   

Frank Harvey
Provost and Vice-President Academic
provost@dal.ca

Theresa Rajack-Talley
Vice-Provost Equity and Inclusion 
theresa.rajack-talley@dal.ca

Dalhousie University is located in Mi’kma’ki, the ancestral and unceded territory of the Mi’kmaq. We are all Treaty people.

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