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Denise O'Neil Green leaving Ryerson

Green was the first vice-president dedicated to equity at a Canadian university and led the way in creating inclusive spaces
January 26, 2022
Denise O’Neil Green.

Vice-President, Equity and Community Inclusion Denise O’Neil Green helped establish the university’s reputation for excellence in equity, diversity and inclusion. Photo by Clifton Li

After almost a decade of leading the Equity and Community Inclusion (ECI) portfolio for Ryerson University, Denise O’Neil Green has decided to conclude her tenure at the end of February 2022. 

Over the past decade, Green, with the support of her dedicated team and committed colleagues across the university, developed a vision for equity and inclusion built on the values of our institution. Her work propelled Ryerson to the forefront and established our university’s reputation for excellence in equity, diversity and inclusion. 

Green first joined Ryerson as the assistant vice-president/vice-provost, equity, diversity and inclusion in 2012. In this inaugural role, she drew upon her 20+ years of teaching, scholarship and academic leadership to establish the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, along with new and innovative initiatives and programs including the Diversity Self ID Reports and the Soup and Substance Series. 

In 2017, Green was named vice-president, equity and community inclusion, the first vice-president position dedicated to equity in a Canadian university. During this period, and thanks to the work of Green, the university was recognized as one of Canada’s Best Diversity Employers for five consecutive years from 2014 to 2019. 

Thanks and recognition

“I want to thank and recognize Denise for the transformational work she undertook over the past decade,” said President Mohamed Lachemi. “Denise’s contributions, including co-chairing the President’s Implementation Committee to Confront Anti-Black Racism, co-leading the work that created the foundation for our Truth and Reconciliation strategy, and being an executive lead on the Standing Strong Task Force, demonstrated her unwavering commitment to matters of equity, anti-racism, human rights, education and organizational change.” 

Under Green’s leadership, Ryerson successfully convened the White Privilege Conference (WPC) Global - Toronto, and developed educational programming that elevated awareness and understanding of human rights and EDI at the university to new levels. Access Ryerson and Accessibility have greater prominence, and Aboriginal Initiatives and Aboriginal Student Services have expanded their scope to support the Indigenous community and foster successful and meaningful academic experiences without barriers. She was also recently named among the 100 Inspirational diversity and inclusion leaders for 2021.

“The work I am most proud of is bringing people together to build and foster community among faculty, staff and students, across the GTA and beyond,” said Green. “My work at Ryerson focused on organizational change and transformation, starting with self-education to combat and eradicate different forms of racism, discrimination and harassment. It was ultimately about making a difference, a positive difference such that now EDI is reflected in policies, practices, procedures and programs and is at the heart of the foundation of university life.”

Next steps

Anver Saloojee has been appointed interim vice-president, equity and community inclusion effective March 1. Saloojee has been a member of the Department of Politics and Public Administration since 1987 and has conducted extensive research on issues of equity and human rights. He most recently served as the interim dean of Law and as assistant vice-president, international.

A search for the next vice-president, ECI, will begin immediately. Updates will be shared with the community as the process moves forward.

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