The revelations of racism, sexism, classism, sexual violence, and other forms of exclusion experienced by racialized students, members of the LGBTQ+ community, and other marginalized students at Queen’s University have been ignored for too long.

Driven to act based on our own experiences and the qualitative data presented on @StolenBySmith, a team of Smith Commerce alumni and students created Reform Smith and the Equity Proposal.

The Equity Proposal is a culmination of 2000+ hours of research into the best equity practices of other institutions, and consultations with Smith students, alumni, staff, and faculty. Our goal is for the Equity Proposal to expedite the equity knowledge gathering and implementation planning at Smith. With this Proposal, the school has student and alumni voice consolidated in one place.

We call on the administration and advisory bodies of Queen’s University and the Smith School of Business to commit to the concrete steps outlined in our Equity Proposal so that we may make progress together towards an equitable future.
Read the proposal ↓
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The Equity Proposal

Through extensive research, we have outlined recommendations spanning seven core areas that address key equity problems within the Smith School of Business. As Alysha Mohamed wrote for the Queen’s Journal nearly a year ago, “why [must we] wait for another minority student or group to be targeted and dehumanized for change to take place?”

We are calling on the school to take urgent action based on these recommendations.

1. Admissions

According to findings from the 2018 PICRDI Report and the Queen’s Applicant Equity Census Results, visible minorities that fall within lower household income brackets are consistently accepted at lower rates to Queen’s undergraduate programs. Once given offers, these groups are also less likely to accept their admission offers. To address the lack of diversity in our student body, Smith must:

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2. Curriculum

The Smith curriculum leaves students unprepared to recognize, analyze, and address issues of discrimination and sexual violence in the working world. Marginalized students face additional barriers in the classroom due to discriminatory policies or content that may be harmful to equity-seeking students. To address sizeable barriers within the classroom, faculty & staff must:

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3. Equitable Hiring, EDUCATION/Training

The lack of diversity within Smith staff, paired with the lack of training and lack of awareness about equity-oriented resources has resulted in unsafe environments for equity-seeking students and staff in the classroom. Stolen By Smith highlights examples such as mockery of professors’ accents and discriminatory language used against racialized students and staff, among other examples. Smith must:

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4. Financial Aid

Astronomical tuition costs coupled with a consistent lack of socioeconomic diversity make Smith Commerce one of the most expensive, and consequently one of the least accessible, post-secondary programs in Canada. Numerous data points on Stolen By Smith highlight the classist rhetoric and financially inaccessible policies that students of lower socio-economic backgrounds face. To remove financial barriers for all admitted students, Smith must:

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5. Recruitment

Negative brand associations, financial barriers, and the lack of diversity and inclusion in touchpoints between current and prospective students has resulted in a homogenous student body. This is further compounded by the lack of transparency in the recruitment strategy and the limited recruitment initiatives targeting underrepresented students. To improve the recruitment of underrepresented students, Smith must:

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6. Disclosure, Reporting, & Disciplinary Measures

Insufficient student awareness and education, unclear scope of resources for reporting, and the university’s history of inadequately handling discrimination and sexual violence issues has led few students to disclose experiences with sexual assault, discrimination, and harassment at Queen’s University. To increase education on these issues in the Smith community, and to provide proper support for survivors, Smith must:

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7. Student Support & Community Development

In order to create equitable student support across academic and wellness counselling, accommodations for students with disabilities, the Career Advancement Centre, the Exchange Office, and other key touchpoints, Smith must:

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Read Full proposal

Real Stories.
Real Experiences.

The stark stories on @StolenBySmith have laid bare many wrong behaviours that have been accepted or ignored for too long at Queen’s and Smith. The call to action for us all has never been clearer. As students, alumni, staff & faculty, we must work together to quickly implement changes needed for all students to flourish, if this school is to continue to be considered among the best in Canada.
— Gaurav Upadhya, Comm '91
Advisor, Smith Advisory Board