McMaster is committed to inclusive excellence, recognizing that having a diversity of peoples and perspectives is essential to excellence in teaching, learning and research. The evidence is clear that certain groups do not enjoy equal opportunity to enter and succeed in university — Black peoples are among those in our society and community whose opportunities are profoundly diminished due to unconscious bias, explicit bigotry, or systemic barriers. This is a fact, and it is the reason why we have strategic scholarships for Black students to remedy persistent barriers and support inclusive excellence. These scholarships do not take away from the many existing scholarships and bursaries available to any and all students who demonstrate academic excellence or financial need —they build on them. These opportunities are not discriminatory — they aim to remedy unequal treatment. Such initiatives are permitted by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Human Rights Code as part of Canada’s commitment to equality for all.
As the university announces new initiatives to support this, there are always questions. Questions and dialogue about such initiatives are always welcome, however, I urge (now more than ever) the exercise of ‘intellectual humility’ — recognizing we may not have all the information needed to accurately judge a situation – and kindness when expressing inquiries and stating opinions.
“It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences.” ~ Audre Lorde