University of Guelph launches anti-racism module for students and staff
GUELPH -- Following a Black Lives Matter march in June and a student-led petition calling for mandatory anti-oppression training at the University of Guelph, change is starting to happen.
“The university for years has always been committed to the notion of inclusion and belonging because that's the only way to ensure true learning and education and knowledge acquisition really happens,” said Indira Naidoo-Harris, Associate Vice President, Diversity & Human Rights at the University of Guelph.
The Principles of Belonging: Anti-oppression and Anti-racism module is a one-hour online course, mandatory for all new students and available to all current students, faculty and staff.
Students are expected to compete the training by the end of this semester. There is no penalty for not completing it, but students will not be able to participate in any university-sponsored activities until it's done.
According to Naidoo-Harris, the university is hoping to lead by example, with community groups in Guelph and another university in Ontario reaching out because they're interested in adopting their training module.
“This is a moment in time where a commitment to diversity and inclusion is really key to building the right type of society for all of us,” Naidoo-Harris said.
“Education is the key fundamental piece to us changing this conversation. So if we start implementing these things not only into the schools but into our workplace, into our boards it might actually work to help us progress further,” said Kayla "Kween' Gerber," Executive Director of the Guelph Black Heritage Society.
Since the module was launched last week, Naidoo-Harris says more than 2,000 users have signed up for the training. She said it's an encouraging sign as they work to create a more compassionate community on campus.