Whether you’re a first-year student or a fourth-year student who is about to convocate, by now you’ve probably used some of York’s learning resources and support services. Maybe you learned how to perfect a thesis statement at the Writing Centre’s one-to-one writing support sessions or mastered the art of the job interview at a Career Centre workshop. There are some amazing resources available to York Lions, but today we’re going to introduce you to one you may not be aware of: the Centre for Human Rights, Equity & Inclusion (REI).
The Centre for Human Rights, Equity & Inclusion promotes and builds a respectful, equitable, diverse and inclusive university community by providing programs and services that uphold human rights, facilitate equitable access to opportunities, and champion diversity and inclusion. It’s important for students to be aware of this key university resource: the REI currently offers tools, funding opportunities, training and events related to human rights, equity, and inclusion issues on campus.
Introducing: The Centre for Human Rights, Equity & Inclusion
The REI is home to many different services, resources and committees. However, the REI administratively supports the following independent sub-committees of the President’s Advisory Council on Human Rights. These committees are dedicated to ensuring the inclusion of all students, faculty and visitors on the York University campus.
Enable York is a committee that focuses on accessibility on campus. Their main goal is to seek out ways to create an inclusive environment for persons with disabilities, as well as those encountering disabling circumstances at York. Enable York offers many different accessibility and accommodation resources, such as policies, guidebooks and transportation services to help aid in these accessibility issues.
Success tip: Want to contribute to accessibility at York? Volunteer for Peer Note Sharing Services and share your course notes with your classmates who may experience difficulty taking effective notes.
SexGen York focuses on affirming the intersectional environment for sexual and gender diversity at the University. The SexGen Committee works to eliminate prejudice and discrimination towards sexual orientation and gender identity through advocacy, education and campaigns as well as the support of campus services and resources for gender and sexual diversity. York offers many different Gender/LGBTQ* services to aid in this initiative, such as a Gender-Free Language Policy, guides, student clubs and support services.
The third REI committee is Race Inclusion & Supportive Environments (RISE) whose main focus is to eliminate racism at York and support an inclusive university community. This committee’s main goal is to bring issues of race and racism to the forefront of conversations at York, particularly through Black History Month events. RISE wants to get more people talking about issues of racism, allyship and intersectionality to engage in productive conversations about inclusivity, support and creating positive change.
You can join any of these committees by clicking on the links above to see if any of REI’s Supported Committees are accepting new members. Serving on a committee is an excellent way to help eliminate prejudice and create a more inclusive space at York University. The REI is currently working on adding a new feature to their website so that joining these committees will be as easy as clicking a button.
In addition to supporting related events on campus, the REI hosts four main events each year that connect to the work of the Centre, including the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, Inclusion Day, International Women’s Day and the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. Explore all of the REI events throughout the year on their website to find out about opportunities to support inclusivity on campus!
Coordinated by the SexGen Committee, Trans Day of Remembrance was held on November 20, 2017 and focused on remembering those who were subjected to violence towards trans, Two-Spirit and gender non-conforming identities. The event gathered the York community to hold a vigil for those individuals, show support for sexual and gender diversity and engage in a powerful discussion about self-care and support.
Inclusion Day was held on January 25, 2018 and included panels and guest speakers who discussed the connection between decolonization and academia. For more on this event, check out the #YUBlog post, “The #YUBlog Goes to Inclusion Day 2018”.
Black History Month is a national event that occurs in February of each year. The RISE committee took this opportunity to include the York community in events celebrating Black knowledge and culture. On February 14, 2018, RISE hosted a public talk about critical race theory and discussed the life of Anton Wilhelm Amo, a philosopher and teacher. This event included a discussion amongst several York professors who discussed the impact and significance of Amo’s work.
If you’re intrigued by the REI’s previous events, attend International Women’s Day on March 8, 2018! The REI will be hosting a multi-sector panel that will discuss the theme of “Reimagining Women’s Rights.” This event will be free of charge, open to the general public and located in the Senate Chambers Ross Building. Register today to save your spot at this exciting event!
As a student, it’s important to show your support for York events that foster and celebrate inclusivity, diversity and human rights issues, as well as being aware of the many resources the REI offers year-round. The York community can go to the REI for Case Resolution Services, Education & Professional Development Training Sessions and Private Consultations. The Case Resolution Services are offered by the REI to resolve human-rights related conflicts and complaints through consultations. The Education & Professional Development resource is offered to provide training sessions to students, staff and Faculty, including a certificate of completion in human rights for participation in a REDI series.
Additionally, students, staff and faculty who are hosting events on campus are invited to use the Inclusion Lens online resource, an event management tool that helps planners ensure that their event is inclusive and accessible to all. The Inclusion Lens was developed in partnership between REI and the Lassonde School of Engineering in 2016. If you are hosting an event on campus, take some time to go through the various steps outlined in the Inclusion Lens and don’t hesitate to contact REI if you have questions or want to learn more about what they do.
The Centre for Human Rights, Equity & Inclusion and York University are working together to create an inclusive campus for everyone to enjoy! To learn more about REI and their upcoming events on campus, visit their website. You can also learn about upcoming workshops, resources and events by following @YorkURights on Twitter and Facebook, or by following the REI events calendar.