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Jenny O’Donnell.

The role of HR in dismantling anti-Black racism

On July 17, 2020, Ryerson released the Anti-Black Racism Campus Climate Review Report based on consultations with Black faculty, staff and students who spoke about their experiences on our campus and their interactions with the institution. As the chief human resources officer, I take particular note of the statement that Black employees at Ryerson experience anti-Black racism as a “defining feature of their work life”. Concerns ranged from day-to-day microaggressions, to compensation, job security, and limited career progression. These conditions have resulted in Black community members feeling disrespected and undervalued, and we need to take action to change this immediately.

I joined Ryerson in February 2020 and as I continue to orient myself to the policies, processes, programs and systems at Ryerson, I am committed to embedding equity, diversity and inclusion in everything we do. Human Resources plays a critical role in dismantling systemic anti-Black racism through the policies we create, the programs we design and the expectations we set for all employees and leaders. We also need to lead the way in fostering a culture in which employees feel they can bring their whole selves to work, where they feel they belong.

The report provides a series of recommendations that I wholeheartedly support and will work to implement under the direction of the Presidential Implementation Committee to Confront Anti-Black Racism. We need to be intentional, make concrete decisions now and take bold action, in order to create a legacy of sustainable change into the future. We need to look at every piece of work we do, every single day, through the lens of dismantling anti-Black racism and discrimination in all its forms. We all need to understand the critical role we each play in creating an inclusive workplace that consistently confronts anti-Black racism.

I want to thank our Black students, faculty and staff for speaking so bravery about their experiences. Thank you also to the Office of the Vice-President, Equity and Community Inclusion and President Lachemi for leading this important initiative.

Jenny O'Donnell
Chief Human Resources Officer

 

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