Equity and Diversity Statement

 

We at UBC iSchool dedicate ourselves to creating a school climate of equity and mutual respect, with particular attention to the needs of all marginalized and under-represented groups of people. As we are situated on the unceded, traditional and ancestral territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm peoples, the experience of Indigenous (First Nations, Métis and Inuit) students, staff, faculty, and community members is particularly important to the school climate we envision. We are committed to the university’s Statement on Respectful Environment and the Faculty of Arts strategic goals for inclusive excellence. Furthermore, as we at the iSchool explore the intersection of people, technology, and information, we have a fundamental responsibility to be inclusive of the diversity of all people in our public and professions. This responsibility requires improving and repairing relations with all communities previously excluded from decision-making and leadership in research and the professions.

Creating a diverse, inclusive, and equitable school for students of all backgrounds and identities is vital given that our alumni are leaders in libraries, archives, and information institutions locally and around the world. For example, libraries and archives are named specifically in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action (69, 70) and it is imperative our graduates are prepared to meet these and related calls (e.g., 62, 63 on education) in their work. Information specialists play a key role in providing equitable access to information, supporting information literacy, and making governance and history transparent to the public. They also must manage the risks of information systems harming vulnerable groups including violating rights to representation, privacy, autonomy, and self-determination. This work is not exempt from disruptions from the climate crisis or precarious employment and happens alongside struggles for ethical hiring practices and working conditions in the professions. The UBC iSchool, in cooperation with professional associations and our alumni, has an important role to play in shifting information work practices toward justice. We commit ourselves to combating intersecting forms of oppression including racism, sexism, ableism, homophobia, and transphobia—both within our school and in the information systems we study and design.

 

The Equity and Diversity Committee at the school was created in 2019, in part to collect, respond to, and address student concerns about the internal climate of the department and the retention and support of students of colour.

The committee works to promote and create equitable policies and practices within the school, act as a contact point for issues that arise across the school, facilitate internal professional development that supports a diverse student body, and consult with other committees in areas such as recruitment, admissions, hiring, curriculum, and event planning. The committee includes representatives from faculty, staff, PhD students, and Masters students.

Contact the UBC iSchool Equity and Diversity Committee