University of Ottawa announces a comprehensive approach to address racism and discrimination on campus

Posted on Thursday, June 20, 2019

OTTAWA, Thursday, June 20, 2019 – University of Ottawa President and Vice-Chancellor Jacques Frémont today announced a wide-ranging approach to address racism and discrimination on campus.

This approach includes a number of actions announced earlier, including the appointment of an independent investigator, Esi Codjoe, to look into a June 12 incident on campus involving a student and a Protection Services Officer. Allegations of racism, racial profiling and harassment arose as a result of the incident.

The investigator will also determine whether the relevant university policies were appropriately applied during the incident. In addition, she will review the university’s Protection Services policies and procedures and their application more broadly, in light of the Trespass to Property Act, and report on their impacts on racialized community members. Her report will be made public, while respecting relevant privacy laws.

In addition to the investigator’s report, the President has also announced four interim measures to combat racial discrimination and to promote acceptance and inclusion on our campus and within our community. These measures will be implemented and enacted this summer with the aim of ensuring our campus is a safer and more inclusive and accepting place for all when the fall semester begins. These measures include:

  • An immediate review of the interpretation and application of University Policy 33, and in particular of section 8, which governs Protection Services’ authority to request proof of identity from people on campus.
  • A strengthened and updated program of cultural sensitivity training and support for Protection Services Officers to ensure that they are familiar with best practices in this vital area and are well equipped for their interactions with our community members and members of the public.
  • A reliable and effective complaints mechanism that will offer a safe space for members of the university community and the public to raise complaints about their interactions with the University and to ensure that complaints are handled quickly, effectively, impartially and transparently.
  • The creation of a President’s Committee for a Discrimination-Free Campus to provide advice on how to combat racism and promote diversity, acceptance and inclusivity across the uOttawa campus and within the uOttawa community.

The members of this committee will be announced shortly.

 

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