UBC remains deeply committed to tackling issues of equity, diversity and inclusion in our core academic mission and to identifying and addressing gaps in supporting racialized students, faculty and staff to succeed. An inclusive university is one which actively confronts and overcomes systemic barriers faced by different groups and enables everyone to realize their full potential. With this in mind, I want to provide our community members with an update on some steps that have been taken to address these important issues.
This past summer, UBC committed to tackling the pervasiveness of systemic racism. We know that when any population on campus does not feel included, respected, and engaged, it impacts their experience and their capacity to change the world.
We have recently created a new position, Senior Advisor to the President on Race and Inclusive Excellence. University faculty members interested in this opportunity are encouraged to learn more: https://ubctoday.ubc.ca/news/october-10-2020/call-applications-senior-advisor-president-race-and-inclusive-excellence. We have also seen a broader commitment across both campuses to hire more Indigenous, Black and People of Colour (IBPOC) faculty. The university is also continuing to work actively on a wide range of institutional initiatives guided by the Inclusion Action Plan which has key intersections with the Indigenous Strategic Plan.But much more still needs to be done. Following our clear commitments to address systemic racism this summer, I believe it is critical to create a strong connection between our community members – particularly those community members who have faced historic, persistent and systemic marginalization – and the most senior executives in my administration.
That’s why I’m pleased to announce today the appointment of Ainsley Carry, Vice President Students and Ananya Mukherjee Reed, Provost and Vice-President Academic, UBC Okanagan as Co-Executive Leads for Anti-Racism. As senior administrators, they will provide a critical bridge between the UBC Executive and our IBPOC community members.
I can’t think of a better pair to help tackle this complex and critical task.
In 2015, when Ainsley was VP Students at the University of Southern California, he co-led the Provost’s Task Force at the University of Southern California to respond to student demands for greater diversity and inclusion. Through town halls and committee meetings, the process resulted in several thoughtful initiatives, including diversity officer positions, data collection and transparency, expansion of cultural spaces, curriculum revisions, and a speaker series.
Meanwhile, at the UBC Okanagan, many of you will know that Ananya was a crucial driver for significant work on campus. UBC Okanagan has established a public forum on systemic racism, which has quickly gained recognition beyond UBC and is evolving fast into a space for bold discussions. Ananya and her team have embarked on developing more systematic data on our IBPOC faculty, staff and students at UBCO and have also launched a series of conversations with IBPOC faculty with the intent of discussing their experiences and aspirations to forge a path forward together to make this campus more inclusive.
I am excited to work closely with both these senior leaders and support them on their new role listening and acting on issues of equity and inclusion.
Santa J. Ono
President and Vice-Chancellor
“I am incredibly grateful to President Ono for making anti-racism one of his top priorities for his second term. I am also humbled by his invitation for me to serve as a co-Executive Lead and bridge to our community. I am especially excited to share this opportunity with my colleague Provost Ananya Mukherjee Reed. She is among Canada’s thought leaders on equity, diversity, and inclusion. Thank you all for this opportunity to serve.”
– Ainsley Carry, Vice-President, Students, UBC
“I feel very humbled by this appointment. I see this as a way to indicate that I, and my colleague Ainsley Carry, are ready to serve both the UBC community and our other executive colleagues to realize UBC’s commitment to anti-racism. I am very encouraged by the conversations we have been having across both campuses led by our president following his June statement. We are engaging in difficult, bold conversations, acknowledging the work that needs to be done, and trying to find a way forward. We must continue to hold these conversations and listen to our faculty, students and staff, many of whom are hurting. We also need to act on what we have already heard – about the lack of representation, about the inadequacy of our processes, about our practices that need to be changed. I see this appointment as a way to convey to the UBC community, and to my executive colleagues, that I am happy to be of service.”
– Ananya Mukherjee Reed, Provost and Vice-President Academic, UBC Okanagan