Dear Members of the Trinity College Community:
I am writing to provide an update on my last community message, which affirmed our support with University of Toronto statement in solidarity with U of T’s Black community members. Racism and discrimination are completely unacceptable. It is our collective responsibility to address them and to ensure that the community is inclusive and welcoming. That includes examining our own environment and it is clear that we have much more work to do here at Trinity.
I want to particularly acknowledge our students who courageously shared their own experiences and prompted this important conversation here at Trinity. I also want to thank students, staff, faculty and alumni who have conveyed their experiences and suggestions for how we can do better. The comments I received were extremely candid and helpful. Many of them pointed to how troubling aspects of student culture and other elements of college life affected both BIPOC students and others who felt marginalized. They also stressed that we now have an unprecedented opportunity to make some much needed change and we are determined to do just that.
A number of steps have already been taken in response to the feedback we have received and we continue to work on others. Orientation is an important time for welcoming new students to the college and to a positive student experience. In order to ensure that this is the case, we are working to ensure that Orientation provides inclusive programming that ensures a positive experience for all of our incoming students. We regularly work with the U of T Anti-Racism and Cultural Diversity Office and are reviewing the anti-racism and diversity training for students, student leaders, and staff to determine how we might augment or extend the training we already do. We are also examining how to create more student support in this area, particularly with the stresses of the pandemic which we know have a disproportionate effect.
Members of the community also had many other suggestions about areas for broader action. These include re-examining student culture including the influence of Episkopon, improving student governance and leadership, reviewing matters such as College admission and residence processes, enhancing bursary support, creating specialized mentoring opportunities for BIPOC students, ensuring that the history and surroundings of the college fully reflect the diversity of the college and many other excellent ideas. To translate these ideas into concrete action, I am striking a Task Force to develop an action plan to address anti-racism and inclusion at the college. Many of you have already sent me your thoughts and suggestions and I continue to invite additional feedback. I also invite suggestions about membership of the Task Force, issues that the Task Force should consider and any thoughts you may have about what kind of process and consultation the Task Force should undertake. Please email your feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I know that these are especially challenging times. I would like to remind students especially of the supports in place and to encourage them to reach out to those of us here at the college, and other university resources:
This is a time to create real change and I look forward to working with the community and making meaningful progress in the coming months.
As always, I welcome your thoughts and suggestions.