The recent move by Canadian universities towards releasing demographic data is an encouraging sign and will hopefully promote inclusion on campuses.
When walking around the University of Toronto, one of the first things a person might notice is the level of diversity. I originally come from Ottawa and I moved to London for my undergraduate degree at Western University. Although my personal experiences in both cities have allowed me to interact with a wide diversity of people and groups, U of T stands apart due to an even more visible, rich multiculturalism.
Diversity sets U of T apart, and it is a quality that most students and staff are likely proud of. Accordingly, it is encouraging that the promise of demographic data being released over the next five years gives us the opportunity to quantify that strength.
The release of this information will also help us identify whether there are certain demographics in particular that are not getting the same level of postgraduate opportunities. This will give us the knowledge needed to determine whether university admissions are claiming diversity for diversity’s sake, or whether the university community accurately represent an inclusive cross-section of Canadian society. Administrations and campus organizations can then adjust their recruitment strategies accordingly.
The fact that this step has been taken by universities across Canada is additionally encouraging. Minority populations in less diverse areas than Toronto will now be empowered with the information needed to point out any inequality they perceive or experience in admission and hiring practices.
Vidhant Pal is a graduate student at the Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering.