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  • Writer's pictureQWIL

QWIL EDII Commitments

Although we are an organization that aims to promote and strengthen gender equity in the Commerce society and the workplace, we have not always employed an intersectional approach to this objective.  This was not acceptable then, and it is not acceptable now - this has never been more clear than through the tireless effort and courage by Kelly Weiling Zou to create the @stolenbysmith platform. Our team is committed to doing better. 

Words are empty if they are not backed by action. The following slides contain a draft of our commitments for community review. We want to continue the dialogue with our community about how we can improve, and would love to hear from you with feedback on these commitments. The link in our bio leads to an anonymous submission form where feedback on any/all commitments will be shared with our team and the COMSOC TSO’s. If you would like to reach out to our team directly, the contact information for our Co-Chairs and EDII portfolio is listed on the final slide of our commitments. Thank you, and we look forward to furthering this conversation with you.

Note As part of QWIL’s EDII Commitments, all proposed initiatives, policies, and practices will be made available throughQWIL’s official platforms for community feedback and review. Comments and suggestions will be collected for the duration of 1 week through an anonymous submission form to be reviewed by the QWIL Executive team andCOMSOC TSO’s.

QWIL’s Proposed EDII Commitments, outlined in this document, are thus subject to further refinement by the QWILExecutive team pending community feedback.

1. New EDII Initiatives, Policies, and Practices

1.1 Sexual Violence Resources Support

Purpose The number of sexual violence accounts that have been shared on the Stolen by Smith page is of utmost concern and must be immediately addressed by the university. To support assault survivors and at-risk groups, QWIL will provide a centralized and accessible list of intersectional resources available at the university and within the Kingston community.

Details An intersectional list of resources focused on reporting, physical health, mental and psychological support for assault survivors will be made clearly visible available on our website and our social media.

1.2 QWIL EDII Advisory Board

Purpose The Co-Chair role has a significant degree of power and influence not only over the experience of their Executive team but the broader Commerce society as a whole. To support future Co-Chairs in EDII commitment and strategies, a graduate Advisory Board will be established by the end of 2020.

Details The QWIL Advisory Board will primarily support the Co-Chairs and Executive team in developing EDII initiatives, reviewing EDII policies and practices, reviewing educational and partnership content, reviewing events for accessibility and inclusivity.

The Advisory Board will consist of 3 individuals in number, with 3 QWIL alumni and 1 non-QWIL alumnus for a maximum 3-year term.

Advisory Board members will be selected by a committee of alumni, Executive members, and COMSOC representatives and must be unanimously improved by the Executive team and existing board.

1.3 Executive EDII Code of Conduct

Purpose All QWIL Executive members will be required to agree to and be held accountable to an Equity Code of Conduct to ensure that every member fully understands the expectations of their role in an equity-seeking organization.

Details At the beginning of each year, all Executive members, including Frosh representatives, will be required to review, sign, and agree to be held accountable to a joint code of conduct that will set expectations for actions and behavior during the year as they relate to equity, diversity, and inclusion.

Reviewing, signing, and agreeing to the code of conduct will be required for the official ‘acceptance’ of anExecutive team role.

1.4 Content Accessibility

Purpose Certain venues or event formats may create accessibility challenges. Where possible, event content will be filmed and made available online to registered participants if they are unable to attend.

Details Applicable events where recording is possible and permitted (e.g. keynote speeches, panels, or information sessions) will be filmed and shared with our participants, either by request or online in event groups.

Where recording is not possible or permitted, resources including but not limited to contact information, speech notes, or PowerPoint slides will be requested to share with students unable to attend.

Online events on platforms such as Zoom will be presented with subtitles.

1.5 EDII Events Framework

Purpose Past QWIL events have not applied a rigorous equity standard that ensures inclusivity and accessibility to thebest of the Executive team’s ability. An Events EDII Framework will be created, under which framework allfuture events will be designed and evaluated.

Details The Equity Framework will prioritize inclusivity and accessibility, including, but not limited to, evaluation criteria for venues, speakers, content, and communication.

The Events EDII Framework will be created in collaboration with COMSOC and subject to annual review by the QWIL EDII Advisory Board.

1.6 EDII Partnership Framework

Purpose Past QWIL sponsored events have not applied a rigorous equity standard to sponsorship and partnershipdecisions that ensure inclusivity to the best of the Executive team’s ability.

A Sponsorship EDII Frameworkwill be created, under which framework all future partnerships will be initiated and evaluated.

Details All QWIL sponsors will be required to follow the EDII Partnership Framework standards in the execution of their event or other partnership initiatives (e.g. coffee chats).

An EDII mandate will be included in all future partnership packages or other materials to clearly communicate the EDII expectations of partnering with QWIL.

The EDII Partnership Framework and Mandate will be developed in collaboration with the Smith Career Advancement Center (CAC).

1.7 Land Acknowledgment

Purpose In past years, the use of a land acknowledgment at QWIL events and conferences has been sporadic or non- existent. Moving forwards, a mandatory land acknowledgment is an important first step to ensure that QWIL formally recognizes the traditional territory of Indigenous People at Queen’s University and other eventvenues.

Details A land acknowledgement will be read at all events either by the Co-Chairs or the Executive-team leader of the event. For sponsored events, the QWIL land acknowledgment will be read in the sponsor introduction or by the sponsor themselves.

All internal meetings will commence with a land acknowledgment, and the responsibility for reading the acknowledgement will rotate between executive members throughout the course of the year.

2. Repurposed Initiatives, Policies, and Practices with an EDII Focus

2.1 Repurposed WILPower Blog Mandate

Purpose While QWIL’s WILPower Blog developed an External Contributor Guide early in 2020 that discussed theimportance of intersectionality and inclusivity, the blog itself has no formal mandate for promoting EDII or amplifying marginalized voices.

Details An official mandate will be developed to require a specific focus on creating space for marginalized student voices alongside sharing career opportunities and professional development content.

An internal Content Team will be created between the Brand portfolio, traditionally holding sole responsibility for blog content, and the EDII portfolio to evaluate content and contributors to the blog in line with the Blog Mandate.

2.2 2020 First-Year Membership Program

Purpose In past years, QWIL Membership and Mentorship programs have been created, but with no EDII focus or mandate. This year, QWIL will create a Membership Program open to all first-year students to support community-building and reach students that have not traditionally been included in the QWIL community.

Details All first-year students who apply to the program will be accepted.

The Membership program will be a combination of mentorship ‘groups’, where students will be paired with aQWIL Executive member with a specified number of other first-year students, and EDII content, including bi-weekly speakers/panels and educational content.

All QWIL Executive mentors will be required to complete training under the Queen’s Equity Office.

3. Ensuring Accountability

3.1 EDII Anonymous Submission Form

Purpose In previous years, there has been no formalized or accessible way for community members and event participants to share their concerns about QWIL events, policies, or practices. The External Anonymous Submission Form will be made clearly available on all QWIL social media to ensure that all event participants and community members have the opportunity to safely and securely share equity-related concerns about QWIL events with the Executive team.

Details A public form will be made clearly available on all social media, where event participants or community members can share EDI-related concerns.

The EDII Anonymous Submission Form will be shared with COMSOC TSO’s to ensure accountability forconcerns that are shared.

At the conclusion of all events, information about where to access the EDII Anonymous Submission Formon QWIL’s social media will be shared with all participants.

We Want to Hear From You

To submit feedback on our commitments anonymously, please share through the anonymous submission form that is linked in our bio. To share with us directly, the following QWIL Executive members are available to discuss your feedback with you at your convenience. 

Roya Shidfar, Co-Chair

Quinn Fotheringham, Co-Chair 

Bani Arora, EDI Coordinator


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