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Office of the Vice-President, Equity and Community Inclusion

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The Office of the Vice-President, Equity and Community Inclusion (OVPECI) is a clear example of Ryerson’s leadership in the higher education sector in Ontario. The office represents a long history of equity work at Ryerson and its stature as part of the highest governance and management at the university is seen by many as significant and important. The OVPECI appears to be a misunderstood office across the university among a number of constituencies. In particular, some staff seem unable to make a distinction between OVPECI and the Human Resources unit, while others are clearer about the role of OVPECI and its mandate. The office has a tremendous amount of support and indeed many see it as Ryerson’s attempt to lead in the sector and set goals and standards that would genuinely entrench diversity and equity as foundational principles across the university. 

However, it is necessary that OVPECI be given the resources that this office needs to achieve its stated goals. Many participants in the focus groups have the impression that OVPECI is not funded in the same way and at the same levels as other vice-president offices. This perception impedes the work that the office can do and achieve. Further, the confusion between the mandate of the OVPECI and the Human Resources unit is one that creates suspicion among some staff. 

OVPECI Recommendations

The university should engage in a campaign that clarifies the mandate of OVPECI and the work it is intended to do on campus, distinguishing it from other units, specifically the Human Resources unit. 

The distinction should be clear in terms of mandates, websites, policy jurisdiction and all functions that can be perceived as overlaps. The overall success of OVPECI will depend on both adequate investment and the building of this office as an integral part of the university, buttressed by a clarity about its mandate and policy reach.