For some time the University has had a Human Rights and Equity Advisor on their payroll. The mission of the HREA is to “ensure StFX is a welcoming, inclusive and respectful learning and work community for everyone; one that respects and encourages diversity and equality.” This position has sat vacant since the summer of 2016 when the former advisor Marie Brunelle left the university.
According to Cassia Tremblay, the Equity Student Representative for the Students’ Union who has a seat on council, the job posting for the advisor position was taken down “in response to requests from equity stakeholders around campus as they wanted to revise the role to better serve campus.”
On January 20th the University sent out an e-mail which contained a survey regarding the Human Rights and Equity Advisor position, seeking feedback; the survey questions included questions such as: “In your view, how should the HREA support equity at StFX?”
Another question was “In the past, the HREA has been supported by an Equity Advisory Committee. What role do you think the Equity Advisory Committee should play in relation to the HREA’s work? How should the committee be constituted?”
In addition to the survey, from January 23rd to January 25th, the Students’ Union held focus groups to discuss equity within the U. Tremblay states that this year has seen much revision regarding the HREA’s role.
Currently, StFX has a 12 page discrimination and harassment policy. This policy has not been updated since 2009 and states that issues may be brought to the HREA, yet currently, that is not possible.