Nov. 18, 2021

UCalgary signing the Scarborough Charter to address anti-Black racism and foster Black inclusion

Call to action will guide institutional transformation

Calgary, ABOn November 18, 2021, UCalgary and over 40 other post-secondary institutions across Canada will take part in an historic virtual signing ceremony of the Scarborough Charter on Anti-Black Racism and Black Inclusion. This Charter contains four overarching principles that will move institutions to create lasting change: Black flourishing, inclusive excellence, mutuality, and accountability. These principles will shape institutional actions to combat anti-Black racism and foster Black inclusion in the areas of governance, teaching and learning, research and scholarship, and community engagement. They will also shape the intentional development of equitable and inclusive initiatives, policies, strategies and actions.   

“We recognize that we cannot just be the University of Calgary – we need to be the university for Calgary. We need to be the hub where diverse members of our community can come together, teach, learn, create, and share a plurality of perspectives and approaches to knowing. We sign the Scarborough Charter today to demonstrate our commitment to taking action against anti-Black racism and supporting Black inclusion in higher education.”

Dr. Ed McCauley, president and vice-chancellor

By signing the Scarborough Charter, UCalgary also commits to holding itself accountable to combat racial biases, systemic racism and mitigate obstacles that impede Black inclusion and flourishing. This includes closing the gap on Black under-representation at all levels of the institution; recognizing the research excellence of Black faculty and students and career progression for Black staff; supporting plural knowledge, including a Black and African Studies curriculum; and, engaging the wider community in collaborative initiatives to combat anti-Black racism.

The charter is a call-to-action that emerged from the National Dialogue and Action for Inclusive Higher Education and Communities held in October 2020. UCalgary’s Dr. Malinda Smith, vice-provost and associate vice-president research (Equity, Diversity and Inclusion), was a member of the advisory committee that facilitated the extensive national consultative process for the co-constitution of the Charter.

“The Scarborough Charter is historic. It was created through an unprecedented and highly collaborative process on a national scale. The Advisory Committee and drafting committee led by Dr. Adelle Blackett, a professor of law and Canada Research Chair at McGill University, worked hard to capture the spirit and intent of the extensive feedback from Black communities, the post-secondary sector, and civic and political associations.”

Dr. Malinda Smith, vice-provost and associate vice-president research (Equity, Diversity and Inclusion)

Smith also noted that it was important for the Charter to acknowledge the over four centuries of Black presence and their significant and often hidden contributions to Canada.

“Today, Black faculty, staff and students continue to face experiences that impede Black flourishing. The Charter affirms the importance of collaborative relationships and mutuality to correct this problem, and sets out clear principles, actions and accountability measures that can guide us in these ambitious but necessary pursuits,” says Smith.

Additional initiatives to affect systemic change are underway, led by UCalgary’s  Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (OEDI), Human Resources, and faculties. These include the development of an Equitable and Inclusive Hiring Guide, an Anti-Racism Policy and Procedure, the launch of an anti-Black racism guide, and reviews and updates to the process for hiring senior leadership.

UCalgary is also part of the Dimensions Pilot Program, the federal initiative to increase equity, diversity and inclusion and help drive cultural change within the research ecosystem.

“The work we have done up to this point represents a start. We see our university’s support for the Scarborough Charter as an extension of a long-term commitment to empowering Black futures. This is work that strengthens all aspects of our campus and every member of our community.”

Dr. Ed McCauley, president and vice-chancellor

The signing will take place from 1 p.m. – 2p.m. MST. For those interested in attending the event, click here. Please note there is no deadline to register for the event. More information on UCalgary’s commitment to the Scarborough Charter can be found our website.


Media inquiries
Jacqueline Sinnett

Media Relations Advisor, Media and Issues Management

University of Calgary (Advancement)



About the University of Calgary

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