Equity & Diversity

UBC Political Science Equity and Diversity Committee strives to promote the values of equity, diversity and inclusion in all that we do.

Acknowledgement: The Political Science Department at UBCV is located on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territories of the xwməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam) People.

In 2020, the Department launched a new Equity and Diversity Committee (EDC) to build on the contributions of previous committees. The Committee will consult broadly with the Department’s students, faculty, staff, and alumni as it examines structural biases in our own operations, gathers policy models and best practices for promoting equity, diversity and inclusion in academia, and draws up an Equity and Diversity Action Plan for the Department.

The EDC is an advisory body, supporting the Executive Committee and the Department. It does not have a formal decision-making function or an ombuds role.

If you have a concern or complaint related to equity and diversity, you can bring your concern to a member of the committee in private, or go here to review the formal options available to you. 

The EDC does not claim any exclusive expertise, control or privilege over our mandate. Issues of equity, diversity, and inclusion are a shared community responsibility and we welcome the efforts of individuals from within our community and beyond to contribute to ongoing dialogue and action.

See the Equity and Diversity Committee’s 2020-2021 Members here

More about Equity at UBC

Consistent with the definitions of the UBC Inclusion Action Plan, the work of the EDC is primarily concerned with:

Equity: Recognizing that everyone is not starting from the same place or history, deliberate measures to remove barriers to opportunities may need to be taken to ensure fair processes and outcomes.

Equity refers to achieving parity in policy, process and outcomes for historically and/or currently underrepresented and/or marginalized people and groups while accounting for diversity.

It considers power, access, opportunities, treatment, impacts, and outcomes, in three main areas:

  • Representational equity: the proportional participation at all levels of an institution;
  • Resource equity: the distribution of resources in order to close equity gaps; and
  • Equity-mindedness: the demonstration of an awareness of, and willingness to, address equity issues.

Diversity: Differences in the lived experiences and perspectives of people that may include race, ethnicity, colour, ancestry, place of origin, political belief, religion, marital status, family status, physical disability, mental disability, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, age, class, and/or socioeconomic situations.

Inclusion: Inclusion is an active, intentional, and continuous process to bring marginalized individuals and/or groups into processes, activities, and decision-making to address inequities in power and privilege, and build a respectful and diverse community that ensures welcoming spaces and opportunities to flourish for all.

2SLGBTQIA+: Two Spirit, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer (or Questioning), Intersex, Asexual (or sometimes Ally). The placement of Two Spirit (2S) first is to recognize that Indigenous people are the first peoples of this land and their understanding of gender and sexuality precedes colonization. The ‘+’ is for all the new and growing ways we become aware of sexual orientations and gender diversity.

Historically, persistently, or systemically marginalized: This language was intentionally and carefully chosen to recognize that:

  • UBC and other institutions throughout Canada were created at a time when societal norms privileged and included some groups and disadvantaged and excluded others. In Canada, these disadvantaged groups have been defined as Indigenous people, women, people with disabilities, racialized people, and 2SLGBTQIA+ people.
  • This history entrains a legacy of day-to- day barriers that contributed to past, and perpetuate current, inequities which compound over time;
  • Our systems, in the form of policies, practices, culture, behaviours, and beliefs continue to maintain these barriers in the ways that they continue to create the institution. It is often not an individual intentional, systematic, effort to discriminate. It is an unconscious, unrecognized practice of doing things as they have always been done (and recreating the historical exclusions).

Disability and Access: Persons who have a significant and persistent mobility, sensory, learning, or other physical or mental health impairment; experience functional restrictions or limitations of their ability to perform the range of life’s activities; and may experience attitudinal and/or environmental barriers that hamper their full and self‐directed participation in University activities (UBC Policy 73).

Intersectionality: The interconnected nature of social categorizations such as race, class, disability, sexual orientation, and gender identity as they apply to a given individual or group. The term was coined by lawyer, civil rights advocate, and critical race theory scholar Kimberlé Crenshaw to describe the “various ways in which race and gender intersect in shaping structural and political aspects of violence against women of color”. Intersectional identities create overlapping and interdependent systems of marginalization, discrimination or disadvantage.

The EDC is focused on developing strategies in the following key areas

  • Departmental hiring, mentoring, and tenure-and-promotion practices that foster the recruitment and retention of diverse faculty, building upon the previous work that produced the Department’s Diversity and Equity in Hiring policy
  • Support for racialized and Indigenous faculty in the work that they regularly do, often without recognition, to advance equity on and off our campus
  • Graduate admissions and retention practices that further diversity in our graduate student body
  • Supportive learning environments for undergraduate and graduate students built on the principles of equity and inclusion (see above)
  • Supportive working environments for faculty, staff and student employees built on the principles of equity and inclusion (see above)
  • The inclusion of more diverse voices into our course offerings, course syllabi, and speaker events; the expanded treatment of matters of racialization, racism, Indigeneity and settler colonialism, and diversity in our undergraduate and graduate course content; and building upon the previous Department survey assessing Indigenous engagement in our curriculum
  • Proactive engagement with partners–including other UBC units and offices, policymakers, the media, community partners, alumni and NGOs–on ways in which we can contribute to initiatives for equity and inclusion beyond our department
  • Departmental governance structures that ensure that equity, diversity, and inclusion are central considerations across all of our activities on an ongoing basis

Recent News

EDC Statement on Anti-Black Racism and Police Violence

Like so many political struggles, the current protests against ongoing anti-Black racism and police violence in the US, Canada and around the globe remind us of the ways in which our efforts to comprehend the politics of our time cannot be separated from such struggles. These protests clarify how our efforts – as scholars and teachers – must be attentive to political history – particularly the broad and deep history and ongoing effects of anti-Black racism and colonial racism in the modern and contemporary world.

Read the full statement here.

UBC Political Science Head’s Letter on Racism and Diversity

We believe that in addition to the individual actions any of us may take, a most important role that we can play as an institution is to critically examine our own activities as a Department — our teaching, our hiring and admissions practices, our engagement with the broader world — and to take concrete steps to further advance the goals of equity, diversity, and inclusion in all of our undertakings.

Read the full statement here.