Thompson Rivers University’s new head of equity, diversity, inclusion and anti-racism says the first step is to begin gathering data, but her ultimate goal is to work herself out of a job.
Pauline Streete, TRU’s new executive director of the office of equity, diversity, inclusion and anti-racism said the first item on her agenda is gathering representation data.
“Who is who, who works at Thompson Rivers University, who studies here, and having a clear picture of what the demographic looks like,” said Streete.
“[This] will help, at least, lay a foundation for creating strategies and programming that could identify or work to identify any gaps that may exist.”
Streete said others pieces she’ll be working on are focus groups with the TRU Student Union and Faculty Association, workshops and education training, if necessary.
The goal in her work is to create inclusive and equitable spaces where people feel welcome, safe and free to be who they are, and to reduce bias and barriers.
“The ideal goal for TRU, or for any other place where I've done equity, diversity, inclusion work, is for this office not to be required, because organizations, institutions don't think about it,” Streete said.
“Because it's commonplace, right? So that's kind of the utopian, that's the ideal. Really, I should work myself out of a job.”
Streete said she doesn’t want to look at her work from an “issue-centric” perspective, saying her office is meant to communicate and engage with stakeholders, including students, faculty and staff.
“We will see them as opportunities and opportunities for growth and improvement,” Streete said.
"If you have an inquiry, a question, if there's information you're seeking, we are here And we're available and we are willing to work with you."
Streete said her office will have an “excellent opportunity” to advance equity, diversity and inclusion at TRU.
“I’m not going to say we're going to reach that utopia, but we do have an opportunity to advance it here,” Streete said.
The opening of the new office comes off the heels of a recent investigation into claims of harassment by two senior administrators at the university, Matt Milovick and Larry Phillips.
A $1-million third-party investigation substantiated no wrongdoing on Milovick's part, but found Phillips had behaved inappropriately.