Student Equity Coalition
The Student Equity Coalition (SEC) uses a unique and innovative approach to embedding social justice into the nursing profession. The SEC was conceptualized within the School of Nursing (SoN) at Dalhousie University by students with diverse backgrounds who experience barriers to inclusion by way of unexamined biases, assumption, values, and beliefs that are racist, colonial, heterosexist/cissexist, and nationalistic/nativist in nature. In what follows, the purpose, objectives, and expectations will be shared so that those who wish to operate in solidarity with the student community groups that constitute the SEC can understand what role they are permitted to take in our work. This is subject to change as the SEC’s work evolves.
The SEC is intentionally unratified so that it can operate independently within an environment that is steeped with racism, colonialism, heterosexism/cissexism, and nationalism/nativism. It is a partnership among four student community groups who have their own mandates with regards to bringing about structural change within the SoN and the nursing profession more broadly. The SEC unites under common goals that support the work undertaken by the student community groups and does not take direction from non-member groups. The SEC has a process for collaborating with non-member groups and is outlined below under “expectations of those who wish to operate in solidarity with the SEC”. The SEC works in ongoing collaboration with faculty members by way of the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee at the SoN and only engages in work that aligns with the purpose and goals as they are described below.
Purpose: To address the systemic discrimination within the SoN that is faced by students who are Black, Indigenous, 2SLGBTQ, and/or those who are internationally situated with respect to their heritage, education, and/or professional experience.
- To substantiate the SoN’s Strategic Plan by way of Strategic Direction 3, which is to develop citizenship through a social justice perspective.
- To advocate for professional development in nursing that supports an intersectional and critical application of equity, diversity, and inclusion within the SoN.
- To create opportunities for students from diverse backgrounds to become involved in research and scholarly activities.
- To advocate for EDI within the SoN that develops and fosters strong connections and relationships with diverse communities throughout Halifax Regional Municipality, Nova Scotia, and the nursing profession.
- To challenge the propensity to situate diversity as if it resides outside of the nursing profession by increasing the visibility of diverse nurses and nursing students who are erased, silenced, tokenized, and discriminated against within the SoN, health care, and society more broadly.
- To promote the retention and success of nursing students from diverse backgrounds.
- To provide support and guidance around professional aspects of nursing; such as, licensing, registration, examination, and other practice-related topics.
- To advise on EDI issues within the SoN.
Expectations of those who wish to operate in solidarity with the SEC:
- Adhere to the Allyship Position Statement that was developed by the SEC (see link below). The shared position statement is updated as the work of the SEC evolves.
- Adhere to the expectations set forth by each of the student community groups (see respective group descriptions).
- Accept that some student community groups may never open their space to non-members and that spaces can become closed again at any time and at the discretion of the community group.
- Communicate with the SEC by way of our email address: firstname.lastname@example.org. This includes any questions pertaining to the SEC that are perceived as missing from this description.
- Propose collaborative work between the SEC and non-Student Equity Coalition members by way of meetings that are open to non-members. At this time, this is limited to the C2SLGBTQSN, who hold two meetings per month, one of which is open to non-members (i.e. “allies”). Students are notified by email, typically two days before the meeting will take place. If you are not comfortable with tabling a proposal, then please email your initiative to email@example.com. The SEC has an internal process for discussing collaborative work with non-member groups and will provide feedback on any tabled proposals by either attending a meeting with the non-member student groups meeting or by email, depending on the availability of the SEC leads.
- If non-members of the SEC wish to propose work that does not involve the C2SLGBTQSN (i.e. if they wish to collaborate with one of the other community groups and not the SEC), submit the proposal to our email address (firstname.lastname@example.org). Feedback will be returned by the student community group with whom the collaboration is sought and following their own internal process.
Allyship Position Statement – Dalhousie University, School of Nursing
The following is a position statement that has been developed for and by the coalition of Black, Indigenous, 2SLGBTQ, and International student interest groups at Dalhousie University, School of Nursing. This coalition aims to represent the diversity within the nursing profession and is committed to building capacity within our institution to determine how to be inclusive toward members of equity seeking groups. The coalition’s understanding of allyship and the role of allies will evolve over time in relation to the work being done.
The coalition requires time to develop shared goals to overcome divisive boundaries, which hinder our solidarity and persist in relation to histories wrought with colonialism, racism, heterosexism, and eurocentrism. This position statement is based upon shared values within the coalition pertaining to allyship. The future inclusion of allies will come as a result of solidarity that is demonstrated by engaging in this relational process. At this time, a relationship with allies that is grounded in trust, consistency, and accountability will be made possible through a shared recognition that time and space is necessary to ensure ongoing and accumulating harms (which are experienced as a result of systemic inequities) do not hinder the coalition’s ability to achieving its capacity building goals.
Allyship is defined as, “an active, consistent, and arduous practice of unlearning and re-evaluating, in which a person in a position of privilege and power seeks to operate in solidarity with a marginalized group.”1 We understand allyship to be an ongoing and relational process where “relationships [are] based on trust, consistency, and accountability with marginalized individuals and/or groups of people.”1 We recognize that allyship is grounded in responsibility and is acknowledged as such by the individuals and groups with which allyship is sought.1
The first priority of the coalition will be to determine how equity and inclusion can be promoted within our institution. Personal, collective, and generational traumas necessitate that we are permitted adequate time and space to become united under common goals. Although our work is centred around Black, Indigenous, 2SLGBTQ, and International students, those interested in our mandate will be welcomed to join as allies. We are currently organizing to determine what kind of support is needed by the coalition from members of faculty, students within the school of nursing, Dalhousie Graduate Nursing Society (DGNS), Dalhousie Undergraduate Nursing Society (DUNS), and the general student population, which will be central to this work. During this period of organization, if there are additional student interests that are not addressed by the existing coalition, it is important that concerns are brought to the attention of faculty.
1.“Allyship,” The Anti-Oppression Network, https://theantioppressionnetwork.com/allyship/