The Simon Fraser University senate has voted in favour of hiring at least 15 more Black tenure-track faculty members to improve inclusion at the B.C. school.
An “overwhelming majority” of the senate, which considers academic matters, supported the motion on Monday evening, according to SFU president Joy Johnson, who said Black faculty members are currently “few and far between.”
She told CBC News that the motion was developed in part based on feedback from Black community members.
“A number of our Black faculty, staff and students have not felt as included as they should be,” Johnson said.
“Our students talked at senate this evening about never having a Black faculty member, and that they are often asked in classes to represent the Black experience somehow, which is a huge burden on a young person.”
The motion also includes senate recognition of Black History Month in February as well as implementation of programs and financial measures to support Black staff and faculty.
The motion had unanimous support from the SFU student society’s executive committee.
Student society president and student senator Gabe Liosis said he is in his third year at the university and has never had a Black professor.
“Historically, Black people have been marginalized from getting these positions,” he said.
He described Monday’s vote as a “simple and tangible step” toward addressing systemic racism and other barriers that have prevented SFU from having a truly diverse faculty.
A similar motion was passed in February at the University of B.C.