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Wilfrid Laurier University Leaf
December 8, 2016
Canadian Excellence

Equity Committee Terms of Reference


1. To provide a forum in which all Faculty stakeholders can raise issues of concern related to equity within the FSW.

1. To identify on an ongoing basis, areas[i] within the Faculty of Social Work wherein issues of equity have been inadequately addressed in relation to those who face injustices because they are Aboriginal people or based on gender, ethnic origin, skin colour, language, religious beliefs, class, sexual orientation, disability, age, culture or any other basis of discrimination.  

2. To report on specific equity issues and make recommendations to the Dean, Divisional Council or any of its Standing Committees regarding appropriate action.

2. To plan events that raise awareness about equity issues in the FSW, one of which will be the Equity Series.[ii]


The core committee will consist of one representative from the SIDE committee; one representative from any other Equity Committee sub-committees; five FSW students, preferably from varied streams/programs and preferably students that represent the gender, language, religious, sexual orientation, disability, age, ethnic origin or cultural diversity of the student body; one student, faculty or staff from the Aboriginal Field of Study; one representative from the MSW Practicum Program; one staff representative; two Research Assistants each term; and, two faculty members.[iii],[iv]

Additional members of the core committee include: the Dean of the Faculty of Social work (ex-officio) and a representative from WLU Diversity and Equity Office (ex-officio).

Interested individuals representing other FSW groups (e.g. Alumni, field instructors) will be welcome to join the Equity Committee.


One student will act as Co-Chair and another will act as Vice-Chair. One faculty will act as Co-Chair, and another faculty will act as Vice Chair. The Co-Chairs shall jointly facilitate the meetings, develop and post the agenda, and set meeting times and locations by agreement where possible with committee members. The Co-Chairs shall jointly report to Divisional Council.


The Vice-Chairs shall act in the absence of the Co-Chairs.


Research Assistants will alternate performing the role of secretary. The Secretary will record the proceedings of the Committee and will carefully preserve all documents and materials related to the Committee.  The Secretary will transmit a copy of the minutes to all members, including the core members and all interested parties of the general membership (usually via e-mail).


The Equity Committee shall meet at least 6 times in every academic year. 

Notice of meetings:  Meetings shall generally be called by posting a notice accessible to all students and faculty and through e-mail to all students and faculty through their respective list serves.  Such meeting announcements shall be posted at least 2 weeks in advance of the meeting.

A co-chair is responsible for posting this announcement. Meetings are open to the public, however it is understood that a member of the public who wishes to address the committee has contacted one of the co-chairs in advance and that time has been apportioned on the agenda.

The first meeting of each academic year shall be called by the faculty member who co-chaired the committee in the previous year.


Suggested agenda items will be forwarded to either co-chair at least seven days before the meeting.  All members of the FSW community are eligible to submit agenda items. 

Alternate Representatives:

All core members may select one alternate representative to attend meetings in their absence.


There will be at least two standing sub-committees:

1. Safety, Inclusivity, Diversity and Equity (SIDE) Committee. This committee will have at least one representative who is a member of the Equity Committee. This representative will report on SIDE activities and act as a liaison between SIDE and the Equity Committee.

2. Equity Concerns Sub-Committee. This committee will be comprised of the two co-chairs and one additional core committee member.  The purpose of this sub-committee is to hear and respond to particular equity concerns in accordance with the terms of reference for the Equity Committee and to bring the matter to be dealt with back to the full committee, if appropriate, and/or other FSW or WLU offices. The sub-committee will be mindful of issues of confidentiality (regarding both students and faculty), and will develop specific guidelines outlining the parameters of the sub-committee’s role and responsibilities. It is anticipated that students who raise concerns about specific faculty or staff members will be supported to contact the Dean or one of the Associate Deans.

Additional sub-committees may be formed in relation to issues, projects, events that comprise the work of the Equity Committee.


The Equity Committee will identify any other relevant partner committees/structures with which work should be undertaken and develop a joint work plan.

Annual Report:

The Committee shall prepare and present an Annual Report to Divisional Council.


Applications and opportunities to make amendments to these Terms of Reference will be considered at any time but will normally be made at the Annual Meeting.

Passed by Divisional Council April 15, 2016

[i] Areas within the Faculty of likely concern to this committee include, but are not limited to: admissions and outreach, faculty and staff diversity, curriculum, and the physical, economic and social resources available to support students from disenfranchised groups.

[ii] A multi-event series (i.e., program at the new student orientation and programs held on two half-days during the fall semester targeting first-year students) that focuses on fostering social inclusion and community within the FSW through awareness raising, reflection, and skill development (replaces the former Equity Forum). The series could go beyond the specified three events with additional addressing diversity, inclusion, and social justice in the broader community (for instance, topics that have been addressed in the Soup & Substance program). These additional events could take place at any point during the academic year.

[iii] Ongoing attempts will be made to recruit membership specifically as outlined above. Throughout the course of the year Equity Committee members shall actively recruit members for vacant positions on the core committee as well as various subcommittees.

[iv] Any member could represent two membership positions; however, it is hoped that as many students, staff, and faculty as possible will be able to participate, thus not requiring a member to represent two positions. For example, a student who is representing the AFS program could be one of the five FSW students. Likewise, a student representing the SIDE Committee could be one of the five MSW students. A faculty member representing the AFS program could be one of the two faculty representatives.