U of T’s new race-based census to point way towards diversity

by | Feb 22, 2016 | News



Phil Witmer

The University of Toronto plans to introduce a race-focused census next fall to better analyze the school population’s ethnic background.

The study, encompassing all 85,000 current U of T students, will be the largest of its kind among Ontario post-secondary institutions.

U of T Human Resources VP Angela Hildyard told Humber News that while the plan had been in talks for some time, it was expedited by members of a black students’ group on campus.

“The Black Liberation Committee did raise this as one of their concerns. However, I was able to advise them of our plans when we met with them in December,” said Hildyard.

The survey addresses concerns about diversity and equity at the Toronto school.

“There is still so much work to be done, but we’re welcoming this as an exciting first step in creating a campus where black students feel safe and welcomed,”  Black Liberation Committee member Yusra Khogali told the Toronto Star, which first reported the news Monday morning.

The new U of T census will be more detailed than previous versions and will include a wide, specific variety of options under the the “Race” column, such as Chinese and South Asian.

While Hildyard promised more comprehensive data will result from the new census, she says its exact use will be decided later.

“We are still engaged in a a consultative process with respect to the actual questions. In terms of what we do with the data, initially it will give us some better understanding of the diversity represented within the Faculty and Staff of the U of T,” said Hildyard.

According to the Council of Ontario Universities, U of T is the first university in Ontario to put forth a central process of collecting race-based data.