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 see the resources below 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.

Equity & Diversity Committee Mission

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

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.

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 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.

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.

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).

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).

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

Equity & Diversity Committee Members

The Equity and Diversity Committee is composed of three faculty members, a department staff representative, a graduate student representative, and undergraduate student representative, and an alumni representative.

The 2023-24 Committee:

About Equity at UBC

The work of the EDC is carried out in the larger context of the UBC Strategic Plan and the UBC Inclusion Action Plan. Accordingly, the EDC works toward the following general goal:

“Sustained excellence in research, education and engagement depends on the integration of diverse perspectives and approaches. As a public institution, UBC has the responsibility to ensure inclusion across students, faculty, staff and alumni, and through all interactions beyond the university. Inclusion is a commitment to access, success and representation of historically underserved, marginalized or excluded populations. Given the long-lasting legacy of colonization of Indigenous peoples, we will continue to prioritize our partnerships with Indigenous peoples and communities. Education is an enabler of social development and mobility, and UBC is intent on advancing the inclusion of all those who have been excluded historically based on gender, race, religion, sexuality, age, physical ability or economic circumstance.” (UBC Strategic Plan, p. 20)

In doing so, the work of the EDC seeks to achieve the following outcomes within the Department of Political Science:

“At UBC, inclusion is a commitment to creating a welcoming community where those who are historically, persistently, or systemically marginalized are treated equitably, feel respected, and belong. Inclusion is built by individual and institutional responsibility through continuous engagement with diversity to inspire people, ideas, and actions for a better world.” (UBC Inclusion Action Plan)

  • Recruitment, Retention and Success: support, retain, and advance students, faculty, staff, and leaders from systemically marginalized communities.
  • Systems Change: UBC will be intentional and proactive in changing systems, structures, policies, practices, and processes to advance equity, diversity,
    and inclusion.
  • Capacity Building: UBC will enhance institutional and individual capacities and skills to succeed in and advance inclusive environments and work to sustain and continually evolve that capacity as skills and capabilities are increased.
  • Learning, Research and Engagement: UBC will foster environments of learning, research, and engagement that value building and exchanging multiple and intersectional ways of knowing.
  • Accountability: UBC will hold itself accountable to its commitment to inclusion through clear and timely processes, thorough evaluation, and transparent reporting to the UBC communities on its progress on this action plan.

Equity & Diversity Resources

Through our Respectful Environment statement, the University envisions a climate with the best possible conditions for learning, research and work that is supported by an environment that is dedicated to excellence, equity, diversity and inclusion. Diversity, equity, and excellence are not only institutional values; they are also about the people who make up our UBC community.

Please see UBC Student Services for resources related to:

  • Disability
  • Discrimination and harassment
  • Race and ethnicity
  • Sexuality
  • Students who are parents
  • Trans and gender diversity
  • Women on campus

Harassment Policies

Complaints from students that are based on any of the protected human rights grounds are directed to UBC’s Equity and Inclusion Office. These complaints would fall under Policy SC7: Discrimination and would follow the grounds enumerated in the BC Human Rights Code, including race, colour, ancestry, place of origin, religion, family status, marital status, age, mental disability, physical disability, sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity or expression.

Email the Equity and Inclusion Office here: humanrights@equity.ubc.ca.

Sexual harassment can fall under two different policies. One, sexual harassment is regarded as sex discrimination and can fall under Policy SC7. It can also fall under Policy SC17: Sexual Misconduct. Students experiencing sexual harassment can go to SVPRO for support and if they wish to make a report, SVPRO can offer support and information on filing a complaint with the Investigations Office.

Call the SVPRO here: 604-822-1588.

Complaints of harassment that is NOT based on a human rights grounds would be referred to the Department Head. These complaints would align with the Respectful Environment Statement. Email the Department Head Richard Price here: richard.price@ubc.ca

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