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Advice and Guidelines for Supporting the University Community

From: Dr. Barrington Walker, Vice-Provost, Equity and Inclusion

Dear McMaster faculty members,

I have heard instructors and others at the university express interest in planning events in their various Faculties, schools, and departments for students or colleagues who are most impacted by the current conflict in the Middle East region.

The desire to hold space, provide support and foster difficult conversations is important. In service to this goal, members of our academic community should all be aware of the need to plan with the psychological and physical safety and well-being of participants in mind, and the benefits of having a consistent approach across the university. Below is a short list of guidelines.

  • Event organizers should apprise Deans and other unit leads of their plans at least one week prior to the event.
  • McMaster University upholds a fundamental commitment to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly for all its Anyone planning an event can find policies, guidance, general principles and goals on the Freedom of Expression website.
  • Event organizers should review the Emergency Preparation Guidance for McMaster Event Planning document located on the University Health and Safety website and Freedom of Expression, Protest and Dissent: Guidance for Event Organizers and Participants.
  • Deans and other unit leads are strongly encouraged to direct organizers to the Equity & Inclusion Office, Student Affairs, University Health and Safety, Human Resources and the Security Services departments for consultation. Links to the these university areas are below.
  • These offices can help determine what sort of support or guidance may be needed depending on the nature of the event, including virtual events. Event organizers — even those with lived experience — should be aware that they may benefit from consulting university specialty areas with requisite training in designing safety protocols, accessibility, expertise in mediation, de-escalation, and trauma-informed care.
  • Specifically, organizers should seek supports for each stage of an event, from planning, implementation, post-event debriefing, and advancing long-term goals consistent with inclusive excellence and creating events that strengthen the well-being of the community.
  • If any issues are raised to your attention that may fall within the scope of the Discrimination and Harassment Policy. Please contact the Equity & Inclusion Office for consultation.
  • We also recommend that event organizers refer participants to Resources for the McMaster Community, which lists individual support information for all community members:

Internal Resources

External Resources

  • Conversation (Mental Health & Wellness) – for graduate students
    • Virtual mental health and wellness services available 24/7. Completely confidential and free. Offered in partnership with the Dialogue app.
  • Good2Talk
    • 1-866-925-5454
    • Counselling, info, & referrals for mental health & addiction
    • 905-972-8338
    • Hamilton Line for adults in crisis, their family members &
  • Barrett Centre for Crisis Support
    • 905-529-7878
    • Telephone crisis assessment, intervention, and Free services are available 24/7.