Welcome to the Department of Equity Studies

The Department of Equity Studies stands in solidarity with Black Lives Matter in Canada, USA, and the world demanding an end to anti-Black state racism. Students, staff, and faculty members of the Department of Equity Studies (DES) collectively   decry the violence of white supremacist inaction and, the maintenance of white privilege across institutions and public spaces. Anti-racism and racial justice work reveal themselves not by slogans, platitudes, or statements, but by direct action to dismantle all forms of racism, settler colonialism, and white supremacy. We urge fundamental transformative changes in our society. We are committed to ending the historical and current violence of silence in thought and action and join forces with BLM in mobilizing communities into action.

During this time of worldwide protest against anti-Black racist violence, we need to be reflective and reflexive of our own racism and biases. Anti-Black racial harassment, racial profiling, and violence against Black students at York University, and the deplorably low representation of Black faculty members are social justice issues that require immediate attention.

As the department that houses the Human Rights and Equity Studies (HREQ) degree program and the Certificate in Anti-Racist Research & Practice (CARRP), we pledge to:

  • develop more specific courses on anti-Black racism, and
  • prioritize the hiring of Black faculty members to teach our courses and to reflect our student body.

In this regard, we fully support the recent recommendation by the Joint Sub-Committee on Employment Equity and Inclusivity (JSCEEI)  which has called for six targeted hires of Black faculty this year, along with a range of other recommendations for retaining Black faculty members and mentoring Black students.

The Department of Equity Studies (DES) is a learning environment that values cultural diversity, and promotes and supports political, cultural, social and economic equalities. Together, students and professors create an environment that enhances voice, empowerment and identity. Professors teaching in DES explore critical theories and real life practices in the areas of human rights, and Indigenous studies. Their teaching, informed by critical pedagogy, also reflects their rich and vibrant research.

Our undergraduate degree program is in Human Rights and Equity Studies (HREQ). We also offer General Education courses which prepare students to focus on our HREQ program. Additional offerings include a Cross-disciplinary Certificate in Anti-Racist Research & Practice (CARRP) and a  General Certificate in Refugee and Migration Studies. A graduate degree, MA/PhD, in Equity Studies is currently in development.

Graduates of the Department of Equity Studies are well positioned to work in a wide range of areas with organizations/agencies, governments, industry and communities that have programs, policies and procedures around the equitable treatment and experiences in the areas of human rights, racialized peoples, and immigrants and refugees.