The ACCUTE Equity Statement was passed at the Annual General Meeting on 1 June 2021.
We welcome you to this statement of ACCUTE’s vision and understanding of equity. We hope this document will clarify our understanding and commitment to relationality and social justice both to ourselves and to the wider communities with which we are associated and engaged. We have taken instruction from the model developed by the Edmonton Community Foundation, who define equity as: “an approach whereby all people – including those who bear the burden of historic and contemporary forms of marginalization, whether intentional or unintentional – have equal access to opportunities to define and achieve goals. Equity is more than an outcome; it is an on-going process that seeks to correct systemic barriers and create a more just and fair society for all. […] Equity acknowledges unequal starting places and addresses unequal needs, conditions, and positions of people and communities that are created by institutional and structural barriers.”
Why is an equity statement important?
As a large network of scholars and students at all stages of an academic career in English Studies, ACCUTE includes many groups who experience oppression and marginalization by societal structures, and who often experience a history of social and financial disadvantages as a result of systems of oppression including (but not limited to) racism, sexism, colonialism, heterosexism, and ableism. The students and teachers of English that comprise ACCUTE bear essential knowledge and are full of creativity, vibrancy, and resiliency. At the same time, many of their insights, knowledge, and practices are not fully realized because of inequality. Solving these problems requires shifting the status quo and creating a better future for all of our constituents.
The Board of Directors for a professional academic association must strive to be strategic and responsive to the changing needs of all its members. ACCUTE recognizes that associations have access to forms of power, such as capital, networks, and influence. As such, it is important for us to be explicit in our commitment to equity, representation and dialogue. We hope this statement will:
- be a tool for change;
- inspire conversations about equity;
- keep our organization accountable; and
- invite others to consider their own equity processes.
While ACCUTE has a track record of addressing inequality, we also recognize there is more to do both within our institution, within our discipline, and within the wider academy where calls for decolonization have been urgent. We are a learning organization and this is a living document. We invite you to share your thoughts, feedback, concerns, and questions about our journey to equity, and your own. Please send any comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This Equity Statement is meant to reflect the collective values and vision of all members of the Association of Canadian College and University Teachers of English, recognizing that the Board of Directors has a special responsibility within that community to ensure that the values and ideals of this statement are upheld, advanced, and communicated clearly to all members.
ACCUTE will be responsive to the changing needs of students and teachers of English and to the many people and socio-cultural communities that define the vibrancy and resiliency of our discipline. We acknowledge that systemic barriers to equity exist. As equity has no terminal point, it can only be achieved insomuch as it is actively pursued as an ongoing goal and ongoing process.
ACCUTE will strive to support and create an inclusive and equitable community.
ACCUTE will strive to remove the barriers that limit equitable access to participation for members of historically underrepresented groups.
ACCUTE will value diversity and inclusion and commit to helping achieve equity.
ACCUTE will recognize that prioritizing some groups is a necessary step in equity.
ACCUTE will recognize that such prioritizing might create discomfort, but acknowledges and accepts that change is rarely comfortable.
ACCUTE will continue to review policies and processes (formal and informal) through an equity lens and will review processes to identify unconscious bias.
ACCUTE will continue to honour and ensure engagement with and between diverse people and communities. We seek to establish and recognize shared goals, while engaging diverse voices to ensure that all communities within ACCUTE see themselves reflected in the work of the association.
We see committing to making meaningful space for diverse communities as a key way we can help achieve equity. We want to ensure that people can thrive and reach their full potential by amplifying community voice and opportunity.
The ACCUTE Board shall regularly report back and communicate the successes and challenges in our equity journey.
Action 1: ACCUTE will continue to make space available in our events and publications for a wide range of community purposes, to be able to respond to needs as they emerge. We will consider how we can best address systemic barriers.
Action 2: ACCUTE will provide or promote equity-training opportunities for association members through such venues as workshops, webinars, panels, and resources. We will seek ways to remove barriers and provide additional supports to communities that will benefit from experience with professionalization processes in English literary studies. We will commit resources to supporting equity and accessibility as a process and outcome.
Action 3: ACCUTE will prioritize panel and publication submissions from historically under-represented communities and will determine whether to take additional action to reach these communities or prioritize these proposals. We will encourage people of all backgrounds to submit panel proposals and apply for other opportunities at all levels in our work and operations.
Action 4: ACCUTE will actively recruit so that our board, staff, and volunteers are broadly reflective of the community, and will strive to engage similarly diverse participants in our conference events and publications. Working with equity-deserving communities, we will together consider whether to establish new programs or support new professional opportunities that situate the decision-making power within those communities. We will review and adapt our communication processes to ensure equitable and accessible promotion of our programs, opportunities, and events and to engage diverse voices in telling our shared stories.
Action 5: The ACCUTE Board of Directors will seek community feedback on the equity statement and release a yearly report on our progress prior to our Annual General Meeting towards increasing equity. ACCUTE, as a whole, will review this statement annually.
Acknowledgement: This statement has been developed from the Equity Statement of the Edmonton Community Foundation with their consent. Access the Edmonton Community Foundation statement here.