Our 2022-2023 Department EDI Committee recently sat down to decide on our policy, going forward, for issuing statements of support concerning events in the world as well as closer to home. We wish to communicate this policy and our decision making process, in the service of increasing transparency.
The aim of any statements will be to provide support for Department members’ mental health and wellbeing, to hold space for respectful conversations, and to facilitate dialogue and understanding. We are making this decision based on what we think, as psychologists, we are best equipped to do; that is, what our background and training prepares us for. We also do this in acknowledgement of the fact that when Department members are hurting, silence can make things worse.
We will issue statements of support on events that are significantly affecting our Department community, and where we think that issuing a statement of support could benefit Department members without hurting others. We know that at any given time, there are multiple events that may be causing stress for Department members. One guideline we will use in determining which events should be a topic for a statement of support is whether UBC or Arts have issued statements about the event. However, because this is an imperfect criterion and may delay our making a statement, we invite any Department member to speak to a member of our EDI Committee or a student EDI Consultant when an event is occurring where an EDI Committee statement of support could be of benefit, so that our EDI Committee can discuss it. We are choosing to focus on supporting the people within our Department, because this is the sphere in which we feel we have the most responsibility, and ability to impact.
Any statement of support from our committee will be drafted, reviewed, and approved, by all current EDI Committee members (Working Group Leads and the EDI Associate Head).
We recognize that past Department EDI Committees have followed different policies regarding issuing statements of support. In our opinion, this is understandable, as the committee membership has changed over time. In addition, our Department’s EDI Strategic Plan (2021) is still in the early stages, so we are figuring out our procedures. However, we think it is important to clarify and document our policy going forward. This policy can be reconsidered at any time by our Department’s EDI Committee in the future.