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School of Creative and Performing Arts hosts EDI town hall

By Enobong Ukpong, April 13 2022—

On March 21, the School of Creative and Performing Arts (SCPA) hosted a town hall on Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Decolonization (EdiD), where students were invited to provide their input on a draft of the EdiD Action Plan.

The EdiD Action Plan describes a multi-year agenda towards addressing issues of discrimination in terms of hiring priorities, recruitment, curricula, programming, student experience and the overall teaching, learning and research environment.

Prior to the town hall, SCPA students were sent a draft of the EdiD Action Plan, which details the actions the EdiD committee has taken to promote equity and diversity, the consultation the committee has received and the future actions it has taken.

The action plan was drafted by the SCPA EdiD committee. As stated in the Action Plan, the goal of the EdiD committee is to “advance and promote equity, diversity, inclusion, and decolonization in all of SCPA’s practices.” It was formed in response to the killing of George Floyd in May 2020.

Students were invited to share their input at the town hall and were also invited to email the SCPA directly with their suggestions.

Bruce Barton, director of the SCPA, started the town hall by emphasizing the importance of the opinions of members of the SCPA in drafting the Action Plan. 

“We need to hear from primary stakeholders, such as yourselves,” said Barton. “As well as from faculty and staff.”

Barton briefly talked about the measures the SCPA plans on taking to increase Edi, as well as the steps it has already taken. He said that the EdiD committee found that increasing the cultural diversity of the performances offered in each division was so that they could quickly do.

“We started to work in a really self-conscious way about the cultural diversity of our program,” he said. 

However, Barton highlighted that the Action Plan is by no means complete, and is an ongoing document. 

“One of our very first advisors, Cheryl Foggo, who is an Afro-Canadian playwright, was one of the first people who guided us,” said Barton. “And what she said was what we knew — that this isn’t a sprint, this is a marathon. And what we really are is an ongoing process. We’re now in a new sprint within that marathon.”

Attendees of the town hall were split into groups where they could discuss their opinions amongst themselves and offer solutions to EdiD Committee members. Additionally, students had the option to email questions and suggestions to the SCPA directly.

All written input will be summarized anonymously and presented at a meeting of the SCPA Council on April 8. This information will be published on the U of C EdiD website.

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