Equality at Acadia

An Open Letter from the kNOwMORE Team

Hey Acadia! Did you know that our school doesn’t have a full-time Equity Officer? Currently, administration has only allotted one day per week for Meg Townsend to come to campus and work. Think about a night class that you have once a week; you only have 12 of those this semester. That’s just about how many days Acadia’s Equity Officer has to tackle all of the issues of equity on campus. And while Meg Townsend has been very flexible in the past and will come in whenever a student is in need, it is unfair to expect her to work so much outside of her contracted hours. As a community, this should move us to action.

The roles and responsibilities of the Equity Officer as outlined by the Acadia University Equity Office are:

– Take reasonable steps to protect the health, safety, and security of any member of the University community in relation to the Discrimination and Harassment Policy.
– Receive, investigate, and resolve complaints by:
(1) informal resolution
(2) mediation
(3) formal complaint
– Provide and promote programs that raise campus awareness of the nature of, and problems associated with, discrimination, sexual harassment, and personal harassment and to educating those in positions of responsibility in the objectives and implementation of the policy.

In addition to this, based on Acadia’s Harassment and Discrimination Policy, when handling a complaint the Acadia Equity Officer must have a final report submitted to all parties involved including senior administration within forty days. Depending on when the Equity Officer’s working days fall during this period, this may mean she is only able to work five of the forty days. It is impossible to expect all issues of equity on campus to be dealt with effectively in this time period.

It should also be noted that faculty receive no training to help students and peers deal with issues of equity if someone chooses to confide in them. While this training could fall under the roles and responsibilities of the Equity Officer, there is simply no time for this training to be planned and implemented. It is unfair to leave our staff and faculty unequipped to deal with these often emotionally charged situations. It can leave them at risk, too.

#kNOwMORE is planning on moving forward with a petition to demand that senior administration provide Acadia with the resources we need to exist in a safe and equitable community. We need a full time Equity Officer working for the University to make this happen. We encourage students, faculty, family of Acadia members and the Wolfville community at large to personally email and write to the Board of Governors to make our voices heard. The contact person for the Board of Governors is Board Secretariat Kathy O’Connor and can be reached at [email protected]. Alternatively, feel free to email Ray Ivany directly at [email protected]. Stay tuned by following our Facebook page for our online petition through change.org as well.

– The kNOwMORE Team