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Tanya (Toni) De Mello named director, Human Rights Services

New director has international experience in human rights
November 25, 2016
Tanya (Toni) De Mello

Photo: Tanya (Toni) De Mello will lead the Human Rights Services department.

Tanya De Mello, known to most as “Toni” will be the new director, Human Rights Services, effective January 9, 2017.

De Mello comes to Ryerson from the University of Toronto, Scarborough campus where she has been equity and diversity officer since 2014.

In her role at U of T, De Mello was responsible for managing human rights issues and has been instrumental in creating a culture of respect and inclusion at UTSC. A notable achievement was co-founding Outside the Box, a program which successfully engaged staff and student groups in discussions of intersectionality and LGTBQ+ issues.

De Mello is a dynamic speaker who has delivered more than 500 training sessions on topics such as human rights and equity, diversity and inclusion. De Mello has both domestic and international human rights experience. She worked for the United Nations High Commission for Refugees where she lobbied government for aid for 60,000 displaced people in Colombia. She also worked on a team which initiated $10 million in donations for humanitarian aid programming in Senegal under the United Nations World Food Programme.

De Mello holds a bachelor of arts in economics and political science from the University of Waterloo; a master’s of urban planning from Princeton University and a bachelor of civil law (B.C.L) and common law (L.L.B.) from McGill University. De Mello was called to the Bar in June 2012 and is currently completing her Ph.D. in Social Justice at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE), where she is examining inclusive and exclusive interview processes in hiring.

Human Rights Services, opens in new window is part of the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, opens in new window (EDI) and the human rights services director reports to Denise O’Neil Green, the assistant vice-president/vice-provost of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI). The office works with members of the Ryerson community to promote an environment free of discrimination and harassment. The director will provide leadership and direction for the day-to-day management of Human Rights Services, overseeing case management of human rights complaints, and developing initiatives to foster a campus culture and climate that supports human rights.

“Toni will be an excellent addition to the EDI team,” says Green. “Given her experience in higher education, her legal background and ability to forge partnerships, I believe the campus will benefit from her passion and commitment as she takes on this new leadership role.”

“I am looking forward to the energy and commitment Ryerson has placed on making the campus more inclusive and equitable,” says De Mello. “I think Ryerson is at the forefront of responding to the needs of a rapidly changing economy coupled with an increasingly globalized and diverse neighbourhood in which Canadians are living.” 

Members of the search committee are listed below:

Nora McAllister
Strategic Lead, Recruitment & Employment Equity

Tariq Amin-Khan
Professor, Department of Politics

Darrell Bowden
Education and Awareness Coordinator, EDI

Heather Lane Vetere
Vice-Provost, Students

Julia Lewis
Director, Integrated Risk Management

Christina Sass-Kortsak

Gowry Sivapathasundaram
VP, Equity, OPSEU

Katie Solomon
Interim Manager, Human Rights Services

Saeed Zolfaghari
Vice Provost, Faculty Affairs

Denise O’Neil Green
Assistant Vice President/Vice Provost Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

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