Newsletter Archives — October 2016

What’s New for October 2016


The University has been full of excitement over the past few weeks as Back to School orientations, student club fairs, festivals, frosh week and the first day of classes welcomed new and returning students to campus. The ARCDO enjoyed meeting many new students on campus!


We also wanted to let you know that the ARCDO is planning the 2016-2017 Unfiltered: Truth Talks and the Race & Faith Dialogue for students. These sessions will take place across all three campuses – stay tuned for more info coming soon!

U of T’s Truth & Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Steering Committee – Update

The University’s Truth & Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Steering Committee was struck by the President and Provost in early 2016, one month following the release of the TRC of Canada’s final report on the country’s devastating residential school system. The Commission’s final report contained 94 ‘Calls to Action’ impacting all sectors of society, including universities and schools.

The Terms of Reference for the University’s Steering Committee mandate the group, which includes faculty, staff, students and Indigenous Elders, to “make recommendations regarding how the University can implement the TRC Calls to Action” in alignment with the University’s mandate and mission, and to “review and recommend priorities” concerning those Calls to Action.

The Steering Committee is advised by 5 working groups, focusing on Indigenous students, Indigenous faculty and staff, Indigenous Curriculum, Indigenous Co-Curricular Education, and Indigenous Research Ethics and Community Relationships. Each of these working groups, which have conducted their own consultations with members of the University community, will present their final recommendations for prioritization over the coming weeks. The Steering Committee also welcomed the submissions it has received from individuals, groups and academic units from across the University. All of these recommendations will be considered by the Steering Committee, which will submit its final report to the President and Provost by the end of 2016. The Committee is mindful that the work of reconciliation will not be accomplished in months or even years; it will therefore aim to include recommendations as to mechanisms to promote continuing action towards reconciliation at the University and beyond. The Committee’s interim report, released this summer, is available at the following URL:

Ontario’s Anti-Racism Directorate Holds Community Meetings

As you may know, the Ontario Government created the Anti-Racism Directorate this past February 2016. The goals of the Secretariat are to:

  • Decrease systemic racism in institutions governed or regulated by the Ontario government.
  • Increase awareness and understanding of systemic racism among the public.
  • Promote fair practices and policies that lead to racial equity.
  • Collaborate with the community, business organizations, government and the Ontario Human Rights Commission.

Since its creation, the Directorate has embarked on a community engagement strategy to hear from Ontarions on addressing systemic racism and eliminating barriers for Indigenous and racialized communities, further to the government’s commitment to fight racism. Led by Michael Couteau, Minister Responsible for Anti-Racism and Minister for Children and Youth Services, community meetings have been held in Toronto, Hamilton and Mississauga this past July and September, respectively. The Directorate will continue to hold community meetings across the province between now and the end of the year. Among other issues, the meetings will focus on anti-Black racism, Islamophobia and anti-Indigenous issues.

Please visit the Directorate’s website to get more information on how you can participate in any of the upcoming community meetings.

Dream Job Academy

The Career Centre and Hart House announced the Fall cycle for Dream Job Academy. The Dream Job Academy is an arts-based, experiential learning program designed to increase students’ self-knowledge, self-awareness and self-efficacy as they engage in career exploration activities. Through arts-based facilitation and methods, the curriculum supports students in developing a self-directed, non-linear approach to career development, encouraging students to engage in a life-long reflective practice that will support their evolving career identities.

Dream Job Academy is Co-Curricular Record (CCR) approved. For further information and registration details, please visit the following URL:

Conversations That Matter – Is Canada’s Refugee Program Equitable?

Attend a panel discussion to generate debate on Canada’s Syrian Refugee program on Thursday October 20, 2016 from 4:00 pm – 8:00 pm at Innis College Town Hall, 2 Sussex Avenue. The panel will be followed by a reception to raise funds, featuring not only Syrian music, contributed by the Syrian Film Festival, but also Syrian food and community booths.

Panelists include:
Mahmoud Allouch, Syria Project Coordinator, Arab Community Centre of Toronto
Ashna Bowry, Lead Physician, St. Michael’s Hospital Syrian Refugee Clinic
Michaela Hynie, Associate Professor and refugee and migration researcher, York University
Audrey MacKlin, Professor and Chair in Human Rights Law, University of Toronto

The event will raise money for the Marhaba Committee and other private sponsorship groups under the Ryerson University Lifeline Syria Challenge initiative to support Syrian refugees in Toronto. All funds raised will directly support the relocation of Syrian refugees entering Canada through private sponsorship groups.

For Tickets, Registration and/or Donation, please visit the following URL:

Connections and Conversations

Connections and Conversations is an affinity group for racialized staff at the University of Toronto and their supporters. The staff-driven initiative offers discussions and a support network for racialized staff to flourish at U of T. The focus is to create an open and empowering environment for racialized staff to celebrate their accomplishments and contribute their unique ideas and talents to the University through networking, mentoring and other activities. Local chapters were created on all three campuses – earlier this year.


Scarborough Campus:

The next meeting is scheduled on October 24, 2016 from 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm in the Catalyst Centre of the Environmental Science & Chemistry Building in Rooms EV151 & EV152 at the University of Toronto Scarborough.

The workplace is an environment where diverse people interact and collaborate on a daily basis. As a result, racial issues can often arise at work, and if left unaddressed, can lead to conflict, turnover or low morale, etc. During this season participants will engage in a highly interactive and authentic discussion on how to address racial barriers and systemic issues within the workplace. In collaboration with Human Resources at UTSC, key concepts such as self-advocacy, implicit bias, and conflict resolution will be explored.

Lunch will be served – come ready to talk! Please RSVP for this event.

Mississauga Campus:

These meetings take place on the last Friday of each month.

The next meeting is scheduled on October 28, 2016 from 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm in the Kaneff Centre, 1833 Inner Circle, Room KN2213 at theUniversity of Toronto Mississauga. If you would like to be kept appraised of upcoming meetings, please email Heather Hines and you will be added to the UTM C&C listserv.

Further information: Connections and Conversations.

Student Accommodations for National Day of Action – November 2, 2016

Students will participate in The National Day of Action on November 2, 2016. Amongst other objectives, seeks to persuade the province to increase per-student funding.

At U of T student governments have requested that instructors accommodate students who are unable to meet their academic obligations on November 2nd as a result of their participation in the day of action.

A memo was sent by the Vice-President & Provost, Cheryl Regehr, to all instructors noting that if instructors have an academic activity (such as a test or mid-term exam) scheduled for November 2, 2016 and are aware of students who may wish to participate in the day of action, advising them to raise this potential conflict with their students at the earliest opportunity.

While the decision to grant dispensation to students remains with individual faculty, where possible, faculty members have been asked not to penalize students for non-attendance at classes on this day and, where possible, permit students the opportunity to complete and assignment or test at another time if the student’s participation in the campaign necessitates this. Read the full memorandum: Student Accommodations for National Day of Action – November 2, 2016

More Events

(If you wish to request that your event be included in our monthly newsletter, please submit requests to at least one week prior to the beginning of the new month.)

October 13, 12:30 pm – 2:00 pm, Canadiana Gallery Building, 14 Queen’s Park Crescent West, Ericson Seminar Room, Room 265: The Criminalization of Indigenous Peoples: Continued Colonization. Speaker: Prof. Lisa Monchalin, Kwantlen University College, Vancouver.
If you are a person with a disability and require accommodation, please contact Lori Wells (tel: 416-978-3722 x226; e-mail:

October 14, 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm, Koffler Student Services Centre, 214 College Street, Room 313Life Management Series: Effective Study Tips. A workshop series designed to empower students to find a better balance between their academic work and caring for others. Life Management Series is Co-Curricular Record (CCR) approved. Registration required.

October 14, 3:30 pm – 6:00 pm, Canadiana Gallery Building, 14 Queen’s Park Crescent West, Main Floor, Room 160: Public Forum on Race, Policing, and Black Lives Matter. Moderator: Prof. Akwasi Owusu-Bempah, Sociology, UTM. Speakers: Prof. Justin Hansford, an activist, lawyer and law Professor from St. Louis, Missouri who has been at the forefront of legal support and advocacy in the Black Lives Matter movement. Prof. Idil Abdillahi, is an Assistant Professor in the School of Social Work at Ryerson University researching anti-Black sanism and state-sanctioned police violence against Black peoples living with mental health issues. Anthony Morgan, is a human rights and public interest lawyer at Falconers LLP, Toronto. Representative from Black Lives Matter Toronto, name to be confirmed.

If you are a person with a disability and require accommodation, please contact Lori Wells (tel: 416-978-3722 x226; e-mail:

October 16, 5:45 pm, Robarts Library, 130 St. George Street, 3rd Floor, Media Commons TheatreSpirituality and Social Justice Film Series: The Trials of Muhammad Ali. This film explores the life of the athlete outside of the boxing ring – his conversion to Islam, refusal to participate in the Vietnam War to protest global racism and US imperialism, and the social and political consequences of his decision. The film addresses subjects such as Black liberation, Islam, conscientious objection, imperialism, colonialism and spiritual transformation. The Spirituality and Social Justice Film Series is a monthly educational film series sponsored by the Multi-Faith Centre for Spiritual Study and Practice, the Anti-Racism and Cultural Diversity Office, the Equity Studies Program at New College, and other University Departments and student organizations at the University of Toronto. Registration required.

October 19, 2:30 pm – 5:30 pm, Hart HouseWorkshop Series: Where Does Change Happen? Session 1 – Focus: Introduction and setting the stage. Join students from UTM, UTSC and UTSG to connect with others and learn about community advocacy, social enterprise and social change by visiting community partners throughout the GTA. Participants must attend four of the five sessions for the program to be recognized on their co-curricular record. Registration required.

October 26, 2:30 pm – 5:30 pm, Eastview Public School, 20 Waldock Street: Workshop SeriesWhere Does Change Happen? Session 2 – Focus: How change is happening for indigenous communities in Scarborough. Join students from UTM, UTSC and UTSG to connect with others and learn about community advocacy, social enterprise and social change by visiting community partners throughout the GTA. Participants must attend four of the five sessions for the program to be recognized on their co-curricular record. Registration required.

October 27, 12:30 pm – 2:00 pm, Canadiana Gallery Building, 14 Queen’s Park Crescent West, Ericson Seminar Room, Room 265: Policing and Everyday Conflict: ‘False’ Cases in the Tamil Countryside, 1900-1950. Speaker: Prof. Radha Kumar, Maxwell University, Syracuse, NY.
If you are a person with a disability and require accommodation, please contact Lori Wells (tel: 416-978-3722 x226; e-mail:

Disclaimer: This newsletter may contain links to non–Anti–Racism & Cultural Diversity Office (ARCDO) websites. These links are provided solely as convenience to you. The ARCDO is not responsible for the content of any non–ARCDO websites and does not endorse the information contained therein.