Questions & Answers
No, in fact it is an important first step towards equity and inclusion to know who is here and who isn't. If we don't know what the problems are, we can't fix them.
University education continues to have systemic barriers for people from these groups. Programs and services that were developed in the past for a privileged few are not always welcoming or inclusive of people from underrepresented groups, who often have different perspectives, experiences and ways of understanding the world. There are structural barriers and biases that can prevent students from these groups from achieving their potential.
This doesn't mean that individuals with identities related to religion, ethnic origin, first language, immigration status, etc. don’t experience discrimination and harassment. TMU has many services available to support all students, including Human Rights Services.
We still want and need to know who is here. Your answer definitely still matters to us because you are part of the TMU student body. We need the full picture to enhance the learning experience for all students.
It would be great if that were true. However, some people have advantages and some people have disadvantages. It is like a video game where some players get more and better tools with fewer and easier obstacles, and some players get less and weaker tools with more difficulty and a greater number of obstacles. If both players can get the same number of points for completing the same tasks, then the player with the better tools, and fewer and easier obstacles, is more likely to get a higher score. That doesn't mean, however, that they are a better player.
If university admission is comparable to getting a high score, then students with fewer resources and more obstacles are disadvantaged and their academic ability may not be fully recognized.
Most scholarships, student awards and programs providing financial support are available to any student who needs it and/or are based on academic performance and criteria other than being part of an equity seeking group.
There are a small number of scholarships and awards that are established to help address the disadvantages some students have in accessing education because of a long history of discrimination, ongoing barriers, stereotypes and biases. For example, because of past and ongoing discrimination there are many Indigenous people who live in poverty. Therefore, there are specific scholarships and awards to help provide financial support for Indigenous students to be able to attend university. Contrary to the common misconception, Indigenous students do not get free university education.
We are all individuals so it is always challenging to see ourselves as part of larger groups, especially when they are defined by someone else. This is why for most questions we give you the option of specifying an identity in addition to the categories listed.
If we are going to know who is here and who is missing at TMU, based on specific characteristics, we need to be able identify people based on broad groups. And we want to be able to use available information to compare with who is in the community, such as the GTA, Ontario and Canada. Most of the external community information comes from Statistics Canada, through the Census or other surveys. That is why, for the most part, we use the Statistics Canada terminology.
We know that these categories reflect many diverse identities and that students do not necessarily apply the terminology in the questionnaire to identify themselves. For example, Black people are not a homogenous group and many students would identify as Afro-Caribbean or African-Canadian rather than Black. Not all Indigenous students identify as Aboriginal Peoples and not all students with disabilities identify with the same labels.
You will be able to select from the categories provided AND indicate how you prefer to identify.
Terminology is fluid and we are always open to suggestions for changes and would like to keep the conversation going about these matters.
The Student Self-ID supports the priorities of the academic plan. The priorities include:
- Enable greater student engagement and success through exceptional experiences;
- Increase SRC (Scholarly Research and Creative Activity) excellence, intensity and impact;
- Foster an innovation ecosystem; and
- Expand community engagement and city building.
We know that some groups have been historically and persistently under represented in higher education generally or in specific programs, such as women in STEM. Providing equitable opportunities to access a university education is an important goal for the university. We also need to make learning and the educational environment more inclusive for students who haven’t typically been present but who are making up a growing number of students, e.g. Indigenous students and students with disabilities. Having a diverse student population has been shown to enhance learning for all students. TMU needs to understand the students who are enrolled at university as well as those who are not enrolled so that we can establish a baseline and measure our progress towards a goal of becoming even more inclusive.
We also want better data to compare the representation of our faculty with, which will also help us to attract and retain diverse students.
Academic leaders and faculty have long been asking for student diversity data by program.
Student groups have also asked for the data. For example, Indigenous Students Rising and the Black Liberation Collective have requested information in order to help address issues raised in the campus community.