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Reflection and challenge committee

The Reflection and Challenge Committee (RCC) was formed in April 2021. Working with the broader UVic community, they lead the co-creation of the Equity Action Plan by:

  • framing the challenges and illuminating opportunities for equity, diversity, inclusion and anti-racism initiatives for UVic
  • identifying a desired future for UVic to work towards
  • contributing to the design, testing, refinement and implementation of solutions

Eligibility

We invited the UVic community to apply and the committee was established using equity-centred principles, including recognizing and eliminating barriers to participation.

Though careful selection, 25 UVic staff, faculty and students were selected who:

  • are passionate, experienced in, and/or prepared to learn more about equity, diversity, inclusion and anti-racism
  • have connections and networks in the UVic community through leadership roles, existing engagement practices, research, advocacy or social groups
  • rather than representing a constituency (staff, faculty or student), are willing to work together to consider the needs of the entire university and serve as justice, equity, diversity and inclusion champions
  • bring true lived experiences and/or awareness of issue(s) related to equity, diversity, inclusion and anti-racism

The selection committee also worked to diversify the RCC membership by bringing together a range of lived experience, perspectives and networks.

RCC committments

All RCC members must commit to:

Mutual interest

The participants have a mutual interest in addressing equity, inclusion and anti-racism action at UVic. Each brings distinct and complementary strengths to this joint initiative.

Mutual respect

All participants agree to spend time and effort as needed to maintain a mutually respectful, anti-racist, anti-discriminatory and productive working relationship. This includes being present, on-time and committed to the workshops and follow-up activities.

Open-mindedness

The participants acknowledge that each other’s position and opinion is a foundational part of the collaboration. Recognizing the strength in our differences will guide collaboration in the committee. We encourage participants to be open to new ways of thinking and to view challenges and opportunities in this space.

Change

The participants agree to be on a learning journey together, to acknowledge biases and be willing to be changed or have their opinions challenged throughout the committee process.

Meet the RCC members

Kam Cheema (she/her)
Kam Cheema

Relationship to UVic: staff

I joined the RCC because my experiences and relationships lead me to participate in action that is committed to justice, addressing barriers and systems of oppression.

I am excited to be on this committee and contribute to the advancement of the university’s equity, diversity, inclusion and anti-racism goals.

A fun fact about me is that I am really boring and am currently playing a lot of Mario Bros with my child. And I really like chocolate.

Jim Dunsdon (he/him)
Jim Dunsdon

Relationship to UVic: associate vice-president student affairs

I joined the RCC because I am committed to creating an environment on campus where everyone can be their true selves, feel a sense of belonging and have every opportunity to thrive in their communities.

I have been a grateful visitor on the traditional territory of the lək̓ʷəŋən peoples for over 12 years. My role on campus is to work across the university to ensure programs, policies, services and facilities operate together to enhance the student experience and support student success.

A fun fact about me is that I'm currently spending my weekends on a road bike in preparation for the Tour de Cure fundraising ride in August.

Adaezejeso Ezeaku (she/her)
Adaezejeso Ezeaku

Relationship to UVic: staff

I joined the RCC because I was really excited to see an action-oriented plan that was really addressing important issues on racism, diversity, and inclusion on campus (of which I was a victim of) and to be part of the conversation as these important changes were happening. 

A fun fact about me is that although I am Nigerian, I can read and write the Korean alphabet relatively well.

Moustapha Fall
Generic profile image
Relationship to UVic: assistant teaching professor, Department of French

I joined the RCC because I would like to support the development and implementation of the UVic Equity Action Plan.

A fun fact about me is that I can speak several languages.
Rob Hancock (he/him)
Rob Hancock speaks at a podium wearing an orange shirt in honour of children who died in residential schools.
Relationship to UVic: faculty member and alumnus

I joined the RCC because I am deeply committed to work that advances justice, equity, diversity and inclusion and confronts racism and other forms of discrimination.

I think that it is essential to align this with other efforts being undertaken at the university, including decolonization.
Mariel Hernandez
Mariel Hernandez
Relationship to UVic: director of student affairs, undergraduate student society

I joined the RCC because I can’t wait to reflect on how to make our campus more fair, just and safe. I’m looking forward to working with everyone.
Navinder Hundal (she/her)
Navinder Hundal
Relationship to UVic: undergraduate student

I joined the RCC because I wanted to learn more about equity, diversity, inclusion and anti-racism.

A fun fact about me is that my only personality trait is having a dog.
Lucas Hung (he/him)
Lucas Hung
Relationship to UVic: student, School of Music

I joined the RCC because I want to learn and grow in an environment where I am surrounded by others who are equally dedicated to anti-racism and hold similar values as me.

I hope to be humbled by the teachings and wisdom that the other committee members possess and develop my own worldview as we engage with changemakers. I am excited for the opportunity to work together and make real UVic's desire for a more inclusive, fair and just community.

A fun fact about me is that I love cooking and running!
Yasmine Kandil (she/her)
Yasmine Kandil
Relationship to UVic: faculty member, Department of Theatre

I joined the RCC because I believe I can be an active contributor to the shaping of UVic’s equity, diversity, inclusion and decolonization plan. Being a queer person of colour, I have a unique vantage point to envisioning change in the community I live in.

My background in the arts, and in particular community-based theatre, enables me to work collaboratively and in ways that bring people together to work towards a common goal.

A fun fact about me is that I’m a swimmer and enjoy an early morning cold dip in the ocean with a group of friends who are of like minds about living in harmony with nature and the environment.
Zubaida Khan (she/her)
Zubaida Khan
Relationship to UVic: staff member, Faculty of Law 

I joined the RCC because it is my duty to use my voice and lived experience to re-evaluate and dismantle the ingrained systemic colonial practices that oppress and silence equity-deserving groups at UVic.

Joining the RCC will provide opportunities to stand in solidarity with others who are systemically disempowered and collectively work towards making UVic a more equitable place of work and learning. 

A fun fact about me is that I am the youngest of 7 girls (with no brothers), and I use my creative energy working on interior design projects.
Kane Kilbey (he/him)
Kane Kilbey
Relationship to UVic: associate vice-president human resources

I joined the RCC because I am participating on this committee as a systems leader (AVP HR). I look forward to listening to and working with the UVic community to identify ideas and actions that address systemic barriers that impede people from achieving their fullest potential.

My own team has taught me that the experience of marginalized or racialized people is the experience we need to measure because assumptions about HR’s systems and processes are likely misinformed by a limited, white centric perspective.

A fun fact about me is that my wife and I are both UVic alumni (1988). We graduated one weekend and got married the next.
Rachel Lachmansingh (she/her)
Rachel Lachmansingh
Relationship to UVic: student, Department of Writing

I joined the RCC because I’m passionate about increasing equity at UVic and am excited to bring my lived experience to the team.

 A fun fact about me is that I love to cook!
Sarah Lachmansingh (she/her)
Sarah Lachmansingh
Relationship to UVic: student, Department of Writing

I joined the RCC because of my desire for campus to be a safer and more inclusive space for BIPOC students. My lived experience as a woman of colour has informed what being a student means to me, and so I am dedicated to contributing to the work of this team.

A fun fact about me is that I'm an identical twin.
Susan Lewis (she/her)
Susan Lewis
Relationship to UVic: I have been an uninvited guest on the traditional territory of the lək̓ʷəŋən peoples for 20 years when I joined UVic’s School of Music. I consider it a privilege to live, work and raise my family here.

I joined the RCC because I want to help make UVic a more inclusive, welcoming place. The RCC is a great group of people who are motivated to take action.

A fun fact about me is that I love a huge range of music and find my tastes in music shifting all the time (and I like to make soundtracks for projects that I work on, so I look forward to developing one for the RCC!).
Subodha (Su) Liyanage
Subodha Liyanage
Relationship to UVic: graduate student/staff member

I joined the RCC because I want to be part of the team that aims to change the culture within UVic.

A fun fact about me is that I speak four languages and I learned to speak Hindi simply by watching movies.
Phalguni Mukhapadhyaya (he/him)
Phalguni Mukhopadhyay
Relationship to UVic: faculty member, Faculty of Engineering and Computer Science

I joined the RCC because I want to share my experience inside and outside of the university, listen to others, educate myself with diverse perspectives, network with my colleagues and influence the university’s outlook on equity related issues.

A fun fact about me is that I am a troublemaker! I’ve lived and worked on three continents, and I’m eternally grateful for the fortunes and privileges I have enjoyed so far in my life, and to the people who shaped my life and thoughts.
Pamela Richards (she/her)
Pamela Richards
Relationship to UVic: director, faculty relations and academic administration, VPAC

I joined the RCC because I would like to assist in advancing UVic’s plan to build a more inclusive campus and community.

Creating a culture of inclusion where everyone is free to work, learn and live, where diversity is celebrated, and we stand against all acts of hate, discrimination and violence is of critical importance to me. Through this work, I intend to listen more and look for ways of eliminating systemic barriers.

A fun fact about me is that I am a mum to two children (16 and 12), and we love to travel as a family. One of our next trips will be to Antigua (a small island in the Caribbean), where my partner's family lives and is originally from.
Maureen Ryan (she/her)
Maureen Ryan
Relationship to UVic: associate dean academic, Faculty of Human and Social Development

I joined the RCC because I want to be part of a dialogue that responds to stories of exclusion, racism, oppression, marginalization in the education experience … a dialogue that recognizes and seeks to take action to ensure the student experience at the University of Victoria is decolonized, inclusive and the best ever!

A fun fact about me is that I like to play music (guitar, mandolin, ukulele, bodhran). My dogs are my biggest fans!
Rachael Scarth (she/her)
Rachael Scarth
Relationship to UVic: associate vice-president research operations, VPRI

I joined the RCC because I want to contribute to the EQHR objective to support the diversity of our larger communities and to help ensure that every person—student, staff and faculty—is treated equitably.

A fun fact about me is that before coming to UVic, I was a faculty member of the Department of Plant Science at the University of Manitoba with a research program in plant breeding and genetics.

With my colleagues, we developed over 30 canola and rapeseed varieties with special oil quality traits. I remain appreciative of the land and the people who produce our food.
Mami Schouten (she/her)
Mami Schouten
Relationship to UVic: equity, diversity and inclusion research officer, VPRE

I joined the RCC because I have a genuine interest in maximizing UVic’s capacity to become an inclusive environment for all stakeholders so that future students/staff/faculty choose UVic for its robust EDI commitment.

As a racialized woman, I have first-hand experience in what it is like to be marginalized. I am also aware of my own privilege in different aspects (e.g. able-bodied, cisgender) and I would like to advocate for other equity deserving members.

A fun fact about me is that I’ve been ballet dancing for 30+ years (but I am horrible in yoga classes).
Chelsea Thomas (she/they)
Chelsea Thomas

Relationship to UVic: PhD candidate, Faculty of Education

I joined the RCC because of my passion and commitment to developing different ways of relating and connecting with one another that expand beyond the limits of Western/Colonial systems and structures.

I hold within me a deep knowing-sensing that safety, belonging and dignity for all people is affirmed by acknowledging and celebrating the diversity that exists within diversity, and a willingness to sit with paradox/discomfort/uncertainty.

Qwul'sih'yah'maht Robina Thomas
Robina Thomas

Relationship to UVic: AVP Indigenous, faculty member

I joined the RCC because EDI is important to me.

A fun fact about me is I share my traditional and English names with my Grandmother.

Xianjing Zhang (she/her)
Xianjing Zhang

Relationship to UVic: Officer, Global Engagement

I joined the RCC because I hope to contribute to UVic’s Equity Action Plan with my knowledge, background and experiences. Also, I hope to learn more on equity, diversity, inclusion and anti-racism (EDIA) from the UVic community.

A fun fact about me is that if I eat something spicy and hot at the same time, I get constant hiccups!

Equity and Human Rights (EQHR) staff

The work of the RCC is supported by Equity and Human Rights (EQHR) and the following staff:

  • Cassbreea Dewis (she/her), EQHR executive director
  • Leah Shumka (she/her), associate director, EQHR
  • Moussa Magassa (he/him), principal strategist, EDI, anti-racism, community engagement
  • Tash Goudar (she/her), Equity Action Plan lead
  • Paloma Ponti (she/her), project coordinator, equity action planning and policy
  • Yahlnaaw (she/her), officer, Indigenous rights and anti-racism

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