KPU signs Scarborough Charter to fight structural racism

Thu, Nov 18, 2021

Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) is one of more than 40 institutions that have signed the Scarborough Charter, a national plan of action to fight structural racism.

The charter flows from a year-long collaborative process started during the first National Dialogues and Action for Inclusive Higher Education and Communities in October 2020, a two-day national forum focused on anti-Black racism and Black inclusion in Canadian higher education. KPU President and Vice Chancellor Dr. Alan Davis signed the charter for KPU.

Graduates of Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s brewing and brewery operations diploma program have joined with Dead Frog Brewery and the BC Craft Brewer’s Guild to launch a new beer to kick off BC Craft Beer Month.

“At KPU we tirelessly strive to meet the expectations of our students, our employees and communities, and the Scarborough Charter will guide us in meeting the expectations of redressing anti-Black racism, and fostering Black inclusion, using the principles of Black flourishing, inclusive excellence, mutuality and accountability,” says Davis.

Black flourishing is defined as the principle that universities and colleges are central to enabling the just, fulsome realization of human potential and thriving. The charter says these institutions have a pivotal role in redressing anti-Black racism by removing structural barriers to equity, inclusion and social justice, with full recognition of our intersectional identities, while advancing the innovative research, critical thinking and engaged dissemination of knowledge that foster substantive equality, human dignity, and sustainability.

Inclusive excellence embodies the recognition that not only is post-secondary education enriched by equity, diversity and inclusion; equitable inclusion is critical to excellence. The charter defines it as the ability of universities and colleges to educate and to innovate; to be alive to complexity and proactive in the face of crisis; to foster fundamental questioning through rigorous, respectful engagements across difference; and to enable societal transformation.

Mutuality recognizes that universities and colleges are embedded in communities locally, as well as nationally, regionally and internationally. The charter says the positive, interactive relationship with Black communities entailed by mutuality includes the special role universities and colleges can assume in Black community economic development, notably as anchor institutions and local employers.

Accountability involves a commitment both to ongoing education – including self-education – and to courageous action built on deeply consultative processes. By signing the Scarborough Charter, universities and colleges commit to a process of continuous improvement through ongoing, sustained implementing of the Scarborough Charter’s principles-based commitments to action, and to be answerable for concrete outcomes, including to their respective boards, communities and other stakeholders.

KPU and the other higher education institutions signing the charter are committing to take action to support Black flourishing, inclusive excellence, mutuality and accountability through governance, research, teaching and learning, and community engagement.

An anti-racism task force was established at KPU in 2020 to create institutional supports for the KPU community for teaching, learning, research, scholarship, and institutional change on racial equity, systemic oppression, and intersectional social justice. The task force is chaired by Dr. Asma Sayed, Canada Research Chair in South Asian Literary and Cultural Studies.

“I am glad to see KPU strengthening its commitment to meaningfully address anti-Black racism,” says Sayed. “Following the recommendations of the Scarborough Charter will provide us with opportunities to self-reflect to recognize our biases, and to move forward toward making concrete long-term changes through education, collaborative thinking, and policy development. At KPU, we are envisioning an equitable and just future for all. We have much work ahead of us to make that a reality.”

Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) is one of 40 institutions that have signed the Scarborough Charter, a national plan of action to fight structural racism.