The early beginnings of U of T’s Anti-Racism & Cultural Diversity Office arose with the creation of the Special Committee on Race Relations and Anti-Racism Initiatives in 1991. With the appointment of a Special Advisor to the President in 1993, the Race Relations and Anti-Racism Initiatives Office (RRARIO) was established.
The RRARIO quickly became a key player in the University’s evolving commitment to equity, diversity and human rights. In recognition of its changing role, its name was changed to Anti-Racism & Cultural Diversity Office (ARCDO) in 2005.
Additionally, the role of the Vice-President, Human Resources was expanded to include a University-wide responsibility for equity issues. As such, the ARCDO now reports into the Human Resources & Equity portfolio.
The Office is mandated to offer programs and services to students, faculty and staff across the three campuses. The Anti-Racism & Cultural Diversity Officer is a member of the Equity Issues Advisory Board at the University of Toronto and works closely with fellow Equity Offices. The Office engages collaboratively with stakeholders on campus to enable the University’s academic mission through the integration of its commitment to equity, diversity and inclusivity.
The 3 primary areas of focus for the Office are:
- Ensuring that every member of the University community is accorded the requisite environment to live, learn and work free of bias or discrimination.
- Ensuring every individual on campus has the right to be treated with dignity and respect.
- Honouring the institutional commitment of the University of Toronto as an organization exemplifying commitment to anti-racism and the elimination of systemic discrimination.
- Creating events and programs that highlight the intersection between the academic work in the areas of ethno-cultural diversity, critical race-related issues and issues of relevance to the larger community on campus.
- Providing a forum for individuals and student groups to meet, discuss and initiate ideas and plans for programs and events that will strengthen both the diversity of the university community and its commitment to an equitable environment.
- Developing and delivering antiracism, equity and human rights education and professional development workshops to build awareness and competencies.
- Providing assistance and managing confidential concerns and complaints of discrimination and/or harassment based on race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship and/or creed.
- Advising individuals and groups in taking responsibility for creating safe spaces in classrooms, residences, workspaces where ethnic, racial, cultural and religious differences are respected.