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TMU signs on to the Scarborough Charter

National initiative outlines guidelines for tackling anti-Black racism and fostering inclusion in higher education
By: Tania Ulrich
November 08, 2022
Young Black students stand around a computer.

The Scarborough Charter on Anti-Black Racism and Black Inclusion commits universities and colleges to combat anti-Black racism and foster Black inclusion in higher education and communities. Photo: Monstera via Pexels

Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) is the newest signatory to the Scarborough Charter on Anti-Black Racism and Black Inclusion in Canadian Higher Education (external link) 

Signed by TMU president Mohamed Lachemi last month, this document commits the university to specific goals and actions to eliminate anti-Black racism across the institution, promote Black inclusion and establish the conditions for Black community members to thrive. 

This commitment is a component of the critical work already underway at TMU, aligning with the recommendations set forth in the  (PDF file) 2019 Anti-Black Racism Campus Climate Review and furthering the university’s values and goals of fostering an equitable, diverse and inclusive community of belonging.

“The Scarborough Charter recognizes the existence and effects of anti-Black racism at institutional levels that create barriers for Black community members and deprives our entire community of the rich benefits that inclusivity brings. The guidelines not only reflect our aspirations for the university, but more importantly, provide a framework for realizing these important commitments on the ground,” says Anver Saloojee, interim vice-president, equity and community inclusion.

Principles, actions and accountability

The charter was established as a result of national conversations on the state of anti-Blackness at Canadian higher education institutions and as a way to commit to meaningful action. A core obligation of signatories to the charter is the development of an action plan to address institutional and systemic racism, and fostering Black inclusion and representation on campus. 

The charter is defined by four core principles for informing policy-making and action: 

Black flourishing: Enabling conditions for Black students, staff and faculty to thrive in an environment conducive to maximizing the fullness of their potential.

Inclusive excellence: Recognition of the richness that equity, diversity and inclusion bring to post-secondary education, as well as the necessity of equitable inclusion to achieve excellence.

Mutuality: A positive and interactive relationship with Black communities.

Accountability: A commitment to ongoing education and action based on consultative processes.

Building on these four principles, the Scarborough Charter outlines commitments to action in the areas of governance, research, teaching and learning, and community engagement. Some of these commitments include:

  • Redressing Black underrepresentation and building equitable practices into research grant selection and research recognition processes.
  • Enabling, supporting and acknowledging Black student leadership.
  • Commissioning academically rigorous and community inclusive task forces to conduct independent studies of the histories of slavery, colonialism and racial injustice.
  • Recruitment and retainment of Black faculty, staff and students.
  • Increasing community engagement by building robust community partnerships with Black-led organizations.
  • Establishing ethical data co-creation and governance practices by benchmarking data to enable comparisons over time and between signatories to the Scarborough Charter.

Creating the conditions for Black flourishing

The charter affirms TMU's commitment to recognizing and addressing the realities of anti-Black racism while acknowledging the pivotal role universities and colleges play in cultivating the necessary conditions for Black members in the community to thrive and prosper.

“There has been an increasing shift to move beyond reducing Black experiences to the binary of victim or aggressor and instead centering Black joy and flourishing,” says Grace-Camille Munroe, program manager for TMU’s Presidential Implementation Committee to Confront Anti-Black Racism (PICCABR). ”We don’t want to solely address the effects of anti-Black racism at the university; we aspire towards a vision of  Black flourishing that is normalized, inclusive of and responsive to the diverse and unique needs of the Black/African Canadian community.” 

The future, today

The Scarborough Charter builds on the work already in progress and led by PICCABR. With the support of more than 40 members drawn from various departments and units across the university, the PICCABR will soon launch Year of Action 2022-2023 – detailed action plans that will help realize Black flourishing across the institution. 

Additionally, the PICCABR will be releasing an update for the community in the coming weeks highlighting the most recent progress on implementing the recommendations laid out in the Campus Climate Review. Students, staff and faculty interested in learning more about the PICCABR’s work can visit the Confronting Anti-Black Racism website to stay up to date. 

Over 50 colleges and universities in Canada have now signed the Scarborough Charter, committing to action in support of social change. By signing the charter, TMU is pledging to the eradication of anti-Black racism and the removal of systemic barriers to equity, inclusion and social justice that limit Black community members, while also fostering an environment that makes it possible for everyone to thrive, prosper and flourish.


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