UNBC signs on to Scarborough Charter

UNBC signed on the Scarborough Charter on anti-Black Racism and Black inclusion in Canadian Higher Education.

November 18, 2021

Prince George, B.C. The University of Northern British Columbia is a founding signatory to a national charter addressing equity and inclusion in Canadian post-secondary education.  

UNBC joined more than 40 universities and colleges from coast to coast in a virtual signing ceremony Thursday to enact the Scarborough Charter on anti-Black Racism and Black inclusion in Canadian Higher Education. 

“The principles, actions and accountabilities outlined in the Scarborough Charter will guide us at UNBC as we take action to eliminate systemic racism and support Black inclusion across our campuses,” says UNBC interim President Dr. Geoff Payne. “We are looking forward to working with other post-secondary institutions across Canada to ensure we are all doing the important work to support equity, diversity and inclusion.” 

The Charter contains four overarching principles that institutions can apply as they develop policies that: 

  • Support Black flourishing by removing structural barriers to equity inclusion and social justice while advancing research, critical thinking and engaged dissemination of knowledge that foster substantive equality, human dignity and sustainability;
  • Through inclusive excellence, recognize that equity, diversity and inclusion and that equitable inclusion enriches post-secondary education and is critical to excellence;
  • Foster mutuality by developing positive, interactive relationships with Black communities, locally, regionally, nationally and internationally;
  • Accepting accountability through a process of continuous improvement, including ongoing, sustained implementation of the Charter’s principles-based commitments to action.   

UNBC Global and International Studies Associate Professor Dr. Nathan Andrews participated in the National Dialogues and Action for Inclusive Higher Education and Communities in October that helped elevate the issue of anti-Black racism and Black inclusion to a national-level audience. 

“The Charter represents an important step in not only acknowledging that systemic racism in higher education disproportionately affects Black people and hinders their excellence but it also reveals proactive ways of addressing this problem,” Andrews says. “I would expect that institutions such as the UNBC will not only sign on to the Charter as a goodwill gesture but will commit to certain actionable and measurable initiatives that will tackle anti-Black racism, including race relations in general, and enhance inclusive excellence at the University and beyond.”

The launch event, hosted by the University of Toronto, featured remarks from the leaders of the universities and colleges who signed on to the Charter, a panel discussion and a question and answer session.