Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion News

Celebrating Black History Month

February marks Black History Month and the University of Guelph has many events scheduled to celebrate the history and contributions of the black community to U of G and the broader community. President Charlotte Yate's statement on the importance of Black History Month and recent efforts that U of G has put towards supporting black students, staff and faculty can be found here. Details on how you can join in on the celebration can be found at: https://news.uoguelph.ca/2024/01/participate-in-black-history-month-at-u-of-g/.

Black History Month.

National Truth and Reconciliation Week 2023

This week, the Department of Animal Biosciences joins the U of G community and the rest of Canada in recognizing the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation. Several events will be taking place on campus to commemorate Orange Shirt Day and the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, including a Walk for Reconciliation to Branion Plaza followed by community gathering Reflections on Truth and Reconciliation.  All students, faculty and staff are welcome and can attend. 

More information regarding the event can be found at: https://news.uoguelph.ca/2023/09/u-of-g-recognizes-national-truth-and-reconciliation-week-2/

A closeup of an orange survivors flag portraying children reaching for adults

International Women's Day 

On March 8, the Department of Animal Biosciences joins in the celebration of International Women's Day to acknowledge the incredible achievements of women. This year's global theme - "Embrace Equity" - aims to raise awareness about discrimination and serves as a collective call to action for all of us to do our part and drive gender equity forward.

In celebration of this important day, some of our faculty shared what International Women's Day means to them.

ashovell's picture


"Champions and supporters of women can be anyone, for me, my biggest supporter was my Dad. Nothing was ever out of reach if I was willing to work hard and lift up the people around me."

Dr. Anna-Kate Shoveller
Champion Petfoods Chair in Canine and Feline Nutrition, Physiology and Metabolism


jellis's picture


"To me, International Women’s Day is an opportunity to recognize and celebrate the power-house woman in our field. At the same time, this year’s theme of ‘Embrace Equity’ is a challenge for us to support each other and ensure we systematically tear down barriers to education and career progress for the next generation."

Dr. Jennifer Ellis
Assistant Professor, Animal Systems Modelling


U of G has a variety of events planned for March 8th along with as several related events throughout the month. Be sure to check of them out! and show your support!

Coffee with the President

Open to faculty and staff
9 to 10 a.m. – Summerlee Science Complex Atrium

Register online

Join President Charlotte Yates for light refreshments as we kick off International Women’s Day and celebrate together.

Women, Work and Wellness: Equity v. Equality

Open to faculty and staff
Noon to 1 p.m. – Room 103, MacKinnon Building

Register online 

Indira Naidoo-Harris, AVP of diversity and human rights, will lead a discussion of differences between equity and equality and how these concepts play out at the University of Guelph and in our lives.

Musings of a Scientist, Feminist, Activist: A Conversation with Dr. Anne Innis Dagg

Open to students, faculty and staff
1 to 2 p.m. – Whitelaw Room, McLaughlin Library

Register online to attend in person owatch online

Hear Dr. Anne Innis Dagg, Canadian zoologist, feminist and author, as well as other women working in science and academia. This event is an opportunity to reflect on challenges women in science and academia have faced and continue to face today, while also highlighting advances made.

Research, Recognize & Reimagine! conference

Open to students, faculty and staff
9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Register to
 attend in person or to attend online

This free hybrid conference will showcase interdisciplinary and intersectionality research related to challenges faced by women and girls, specifically underrepresented and marginalized folks. The conference features keynote discussions, student presentations on current research on diverse, influential topics impacting women and girls, a spoken word performance, and a Feel & Heal Workshop: Incorporating Joy in Activism!

Related events later this month

Going Beyond HeforShe: An Open Discussion Around Gender Equality and Inclusivity

Open to students, faculty and staff
Thursday, March 9 from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. – Red Zone Football Pavilion

Register online

This guided discussion with Caleb Harwood, sexual and gender diversity advisor, serves as an opportunity for the U of G community to connect and discuss the importance of gender equality and inclusivity. This discussion will encourage folks to grow in their understanding and allyship while providing equity of space to attendees.

Leading Powerfully: The Role of Gender Equity in Global Leadership

Open to students, faculty and staff
Thursday, March 16 from 11 a.m. to noon – Zoom (registration link coming soon)

Join the Office of Diversity and Human Rights in celebration of International Women’s Day, with some dynamic and influential women! Don’t miss this compelling conversation about the important role women play in building solid paths to the future during uncertain times. It’s time to rebuild, it’s time to innovate, it’s time for transformational change and every woman counts!

Join Indira Naidoo-Harris, AVP of Diversity and Human Rights at U of G, and gender equity advocates Eva McLellan and Kaye Vitug (co-founders of Unlocking Eve) to learn how we can unlock effective leadership and decision making and build a strong and successful future for all of us.

HeForShe Presents Olympic Soccer Star Diana Matheson

Open to students, faculty, staff and the community
March 22 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. – Guelph Gryphons Athletics Centre

Register online

Two-time Olympic bronze medallist and former professional soccer player Diana Matheson will keynote U of G’s annual HeForShe gender equity event.

Matheson, perhaps best known for scoring the game-winning goal in the bronze medal match in the 2012 London Olympic Games, is also the co-founder of Project 8, an initiative to help launch Canada’s first women’s professional soccer league.

During her keynote, Matheson will discuss the gender equity challenges that women athletes face in professional sports. The topic is timely as Canada’s women’s soccer team is currently protesting their pay in comparison to that of the men’s national team.

Donation Drive: Menstrual Hygiene Products

Open to everyone
March 27 from 11:30 to 1 p.m. – University Centre Courtyard

Give to the menstrual hygiene products donation drive to help address period poverty and end the stigma around menstruation.

All donations will go to the Guelph Student Food Bank to support U of G students. Please ensure that all donated items are unopened and new. Accepted items include:

  • Tampons
  • Pads
  • Menstrual Cups

For each item you donate, you will be entered into a draw to win a $25 Hospitality Services gift card. Questions? Email wellnessatwork@uoguelph.ca.

A graphic showing the silhouetted heads of 8 women

Celebrating Black History Month 2023

February marks Black History Month, an important time to recognize the Black community for their achievements that have, and continue to help shape our society. 

The University of Guelph is celebrating Black History Month with a variety of events organized by the University’s Cultural Diversity Office as well as the Guelph Black Students Association (GBSA). “Celebrating Black Achievement” – A Panel for Black Success at U of G will be held on Feb 15, 12-2 p.m. at the University Club (UC 5th floor) and will feature Black faculty from various disciplines across campus discussing their experiences on building a career academia. The panel includes Dr. Lawrence Goodridge, the Leung Family Professor in Food Safety and Director, Canadian Research Institute for Food Safety at U of G. Dr. Goodridge has previously spoken on the importance and need for more Black STEM scientists and mentors in Canada, which you can read here

Black History Month provides an opportunity to reflect on the contributions Black scientists have made to the field of plant and animal agriculture. Read below to learn about some of the Canadian and US scientists whose work has had long-lasting impacts in agriculture. 

Ernest Melville DuPorte, PhD

Dr. EM DuPorte

Dr. DuPorte was a world-renowned Canadian professor of entomology at McGill University. Obtaining a PhD in Zoology, DuPorte broke through racial barriers to become the first Black Canadian to teach at McGill and overcame significant racial discrimination throughout his career. His textbook, Manual of Insect Morphology, first published in 1959, is considered a classic in the field. In 2010, he was designated a national historical person by the Government of Canada for his groundbreaking research on insect morphology and their critical role in disease transmission in agriculture leading to the destruction of crops and livestock. 

Government of Canada, https://www.pc.gc.ca/apps/dfhd/page_nhs_eng.aspx?id=12536
McGill's History: https://200.mcgill.ca/history/dr-ernest-melville-duporte-a-black-student-who-was-the-first-macdonald-college-zoology-graduate-to-earn-an-msc/

Booker T. Whatley, PhD

Dr. Whatley

Dr. Whatley was an American professor known best for his regenerative farming system and direct marketing of pick-your own produce, and approached farming as an enterprise. Considered to be a modern pioneer in sustainable farming, Whatley helped develop what we now see as niche markets for small and medium sized farmers globally. The development of these niche markets started with sustainable and practical alternatives for small scale farms such as organic farming, value added products/product diversity, and marketing schemes. Whatley also created several plant cultivars including grape and potato varieties.

Booker T. Whatley, GSNB’57 (PhD, Horticulture): Black Innovator Who Reshaped Farming, Feb 2022.
"The Small Farm Plan By Booker T. Whatley"Mother Earth News, May/June 1982.

Charles Henry Turner, PhD

An image of Dr. Charles Turner

Dr. Turner was an American zoologist with a focus on animal behaviour and was the 3rd African American to receive a PhD from the University of Chicago. In particular Dr. Turner focused his studies on insect behaviour. Through his study of insects and behaviour, Dr. Turner advanced principles of associative learning. Not only was Dr. Turner a pioneer in animal behaviour, but he was also a committed civil rights activist, and was known for his attempts to overcome racial barriers in American academia.

Abramson, Charles I. (2 February 2017). "Charles Henry Turner remembered". Nature542 (7639): 31. doi:10.1038/542031d

Abramson, Charles I. (January 2009). "A Study in Inspiration: Charles Henry Turner (1867–1923) and the Investigation of Insect Behavior". Annual Review of Entomology54 (1): 343–359. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev.ento.54.110807.090502
Kessler, James H.; Morin, Katherine A.; Kidd, J. S.; Kidd, Renee A. (1996). Distinguished African American Scientists of the 20th Century. Greenwood Publishing Group. ISBN 978-0-89774-955-8.

U of G Equity, Diversity and Inclusion e-Book

On September 27, 2022, the Office of Diversity and Human Rights launched Building Community: Introduction to Equity Diversity, and Inclusion eBook.

This learning resource will provide readers with introductions​to key foundational anti-oppression concepts and tools to embed EDI into the fabric of their lives and their individual spaces. Readers will be provided with the tools necessary to identify and apply a core set of EDI principles, explain key EDI concepts, discuss barriers to full participation for equity-deserving groups, and critically reflect upon the measurable effects of an inclusive climate.

This eBook was developed in partnership with Open Learning and Educational Support through a $17,000 grant from eCampus Ontario.

You can find more information about the resource here: https://news.uoguelph.ca/2022/09/u-of-g-launches-new-equity-diversity-and-inclusion-ebook/.

Cover image for Building Community: Introduction to Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

Truth and Reconciliation Week 2022

On Friday, September 30, the Department of Animal Biosciences will join Canadians across the country to commemorate Orange Shirt Day and the second National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.  This solemn day is a time for all of us to honour the thousands of children who never returned home and survivors of residential schools along with their families and communities. It is a day to recognize that Every Child Matters. 

Many events will be taking place on the U of G campus during Truth and Reconciliation Week.  Every Child Matters t-shirts, designed by local Indigenous artist Kaitlin Gallant, are available at the Bookstore with $5 from every shirt donated to an organization that provides direct support to Residential School Survivors and their families. U of G will also be raising the Survivor Flag in front of the University Centre and Johnston Hall will be lit orange as a symbol of solidarity with Indigenous communities. Students, faculty and staff can join the Indigenous Student Centre for a virtual tour of the former Mohawk Residential School on Sept 26th and gather as a community on Sept 30th at 10am for Reflections on Reconciliation in Branion Plaza. Supports throughout the day are also available at the Indigenous Students Centre

Education is key and we must make a commitment to learn about the terrible atrocities that occurred within the residential school system in Canada. We must also use this knowledge to take action towards reconciliation and support Indigenous communities for the creation of a better future.

To learn more about Indigenous peoples and cultures and the journey to reconciliation visit https://www.orangeshirtday.org/ and  https://www.canada.ca/en/canadian-heritage/campaigns/national-day-truth-reconciliation.html.


National Indigenous History Month 

The arrival of June is also a time to commemorate National Indegnous History Month and National Indigenous Peoples Day on June 21, 2022. This important time provides an opportunity to not only recognize and celebrate First Nations, Inuit and Metis peoples but also to learn about their historical and contemporary contributions and take action towards reconcilliation. More information on ways in which you can learn and engage with indigenous history month at U of G can be found here. 

OUTline, a U of G resource and support service for LGBTQ2IA+ communities has also writte an excellent piece on the importance of Indigenous History Month which can be found at: https://gryphlife.uoguelph.ca/news/12964.


Slide 1 banner: Indigenous History Month. Learn. Celebrate. Act

Celebrating Pride

Pride Month is here and is a time to support and celebrate the LGBTQ2SIA+ community. U of G offers many fantastic resources for students who are part of the LGBTQ2SIA+ community and of course don't forget about Guelph Pride which runs June 10th-June 19th and the Pride Parade in Toronto on Sunday June 26, 2022.

Get out there, show your support and Happy Pride!

A graphic of U of G celebrates pride month 2022

Happy International Women's Day

March 8th is International Women's Day-a global day to celebrate and uphold the achievements of women. Please head over to the People section of the ABSc website to view profiles of the many talented and successful women faculty, staff and students in the department. As part of our celebration, please Meet Rebecca Lawson, an MSc student studying the effects of diet and nutrition on lake whitefish.

International Women's Day banner

Early Black Students and Staff at UofG

UofG's Archives and Special Collectionns Associate Graham Burt recently wrote a piece for the Ontario on the experiences of black students and staff at OAC and OVC in the early 20th century. To read the whole story, please go tohttps://theontarion.com/2022/02/09/a-white-mans-school-early-black-students-and-staff-at-the-u-of-g/.

Joseph Raphael Vignale (b. 1898). (Photo courtesy of OAC 1923 Yearbook, A&SC, University of Guelph Library, RE1OACA0195)

Feb 11-United Nations International Day of Women and Girls in Science

We join the U of G community in celebrating the United Nations International Day of Women and Girls in Science. Established in 2015, this day of importance provides an opportunity to recognize the outstanding contributions of women and girls in science and inspire the next

For more information about how U of G will be recognizing women and girls in science, please go to:  https://news.uoguelph.ca/2022/02/whats-on-at-u-of-g-international-day-of-women-and-girls-in-science/ 

International Day of Women and Girls in Science 2021 | College of  Biological Science

Black History Month

February marks Black History Month and represents an important time to celebrate and honour Black Canadians and their communities. U of G will be hosting a number of virtual and on-campus events beginning with a Keynote Address delivered by social cirtic Minna Salami on Feb 2.

In Fall 2021, UofG announced a new Black Canadian Studies minor program to be launched later this year in Fall 2022.

More information about how U of G is celebrating Black History Month can be found here: https://news.uoguelph.ca/2022/01/u-of-g-celebrates-black-history-month/.

Graphic with Johnston Hall. Text reads Black History Month. February and Forever

U of G Community Census

As part of their broader EDI efforts, the University of Guelph has launched a Community Census for students, faculty and staff. Find out more about the census, including how to access at: news.uoguelph.ca/2021/11/complete-the-u-of-g-community-census-create-a-better-understanding-for-a-better-university/.


U of G Community Census Logo

Introducing the U of G Cultural Diversity Office 

Wondering how you can get involved in anti-racism at the UofG? Interested in exploring race, culture and identity? Do you identify as a student of colour, racialized, BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Colour) or mixed/multi-racial? The Cultural Diversity Office is here for you! 

What does the Cultural Diversity Office offer? 

  • Our Cultural Diversity Advisor, Tameera Mohamed, provides undergraduate and graduate students with one-on-one advising that is culturally responsive and affirming. Students connect with Tameera for a variety of reasons including navigating identity and experiences around race, finances, academics, housing, finding community, relationships and more.  
  • Drop-in counselling with BIPOC counsellors every Thursday from 1:00-3:30pm.  
  • A mentorship program for BIPOC students, weekly discussions, and events throughout the year! 
  • Every other week, we send out a newsletter that contains upcoming events, scholarships, programs and deadlines, as well as resources and wellness strategies for BIPOC students. 

​The Cultural Diversity Office is a place for cultural celebration and connection, identity exploration, and anti-racism education. Subscribe to the Cultural Diversity Office newsletter to stay up to date on events, scholarships, and resources and connect with us at cultural.diversity@uoguelph.ca

If you have any questions, want more information, or want to connect with Tameera (Cultural Diversity Advisor - tameera@uoguelph.ca) or Alexis (Coordinator, Cultural Diversity Programs – charlesa@uoguelph.ca), please don't hesitate to connect with them directly.  

Orange Shirt Day and the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation 

September 30th will mark the first National Day of Truth and Reconciliation. A ceremony, Honouring and Healing Together: In recognition of Orange Shirt Day and the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, will be held on Johnston Green from 12-2pm.  The ceremony will be led by Edlers Dan And Mary Lou Smoke and hosted by the Indigenous Student Centre and Indigenous Initiatives in collaboration with the Indigenous Student Society. All students, faculty and staff are welcome and can attend. 

More information regarding the event can be found at: https://news.uoguelph.ca/2021/09/u-of-g-marks-sept-30-with-elder-led-ceremony-on-johnston-green/

every child matters graphic

Powely Day

On Sept. 17, U of G will raise the Métis flag in recognition of Powley Day. The day marks the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision to recognize Métis harvesting rights as protected under the Constitution. The flag will remain up until Sept. 20.

“On Powley Day we celebrate the determination of Steve and Roddy Powley that led the Supreme Court of Canada to recognize and affirm the inherent rights of Métis people,” says Jamie Horner, Indigenous programs coordinator at U of G.

Horner is a citizen of the Métis Nation of Ontario and supports First Nations, Métis and Inuit students at U of G through her role at the Indigenous Students Centre. “It has been 18 years since the Supreme Court of Canada recognized the inherent right to harvest for ourselves and our families in our historic communities and protected that right for all future generations of Métis people,” she says. “We recognize Powley Day as a victory for all Métis people across Canada.”

To support physical distancing, a flag-raising ceremony will not be held this year, but you are encouraged to learn more about Powley Day on the Métis Nation website.

Canada Day

Canada Day

U of G Positive Space Project 

Graphic for Positive Space Training

Today, the Office of Diversity & Human Rights along with Student Experience launched the Positive Space Project – a training program for faculty, students and staff to increase awareness and support of the LGBTQ2SIA+ community at the U of G and beyond.

Developed with input from members of the U of G’s LGBTQ2SIA+ community, the two-part training addresses key concepts, including LGBTQ2SIA+ identities, allyship, coming out, terms and use of inclusive language. It also provides guidance on how best to support LGBTQ2SIA+ faculty, staff, and students at the U of G.

Part one of the training consists of an online module accessible through CourseLink or the DHR website. The second part is an in-person workshop led by an experienced facilitator to turn the information learned in the first part, into practice and action.

To access the module visit: https://www.uoguelph.ca/diversity-human-rights/positive-space-project

For the news release and more information visit: https://news.uoguelph.ca/2021/06/u-of-g-introduces-new-training-program-to-support-lgbtq2sia-community/

June 27th-Canadian Multiculturalism Day

A statement from U of G Associate Vice-President Indira Naidoo-Harris:

This is a day for all of us to celebrate and learn more about each other and the dynamic cultures that contribute to our University of Guelph community, province and country. 

 Gryphons come from all corners of the world, with different experiences, perspectives and cultures, all contributing to the vibrant tapestry that makes up the U of G. At the University of Guelph, our diversity is one of our greatest strengths and we are committed to fostering inclusive, supportive and equitable environments in which everyone experiences an authentic sense of belonging. Equity, diversity, and inclusion are key priorities as we work together to build a strong foundation of success for the future. 

 Happy Canadian Multiculturalism Day!

Indira Naidoo-Harris
Associate Vice-President
Diversity and Human Rights

Sincere Condolences to Indigenous Communities

The Department of Animal Biosciences offers our deepest sympathies to the Indigenous Peoples and communities during this sad and difficult time. As we observe National Indegneous History Month, the horrific discovery of 751 unmarked graves of Indigenous children on the grounds of former residential schools, in addition to the remains of 215 children found in May, are tragic reminders of the truths of Canada's past. We stand committed to creating an equitiable, diverse and inclusive environement that ensures Indigenous Peoples and all members of our community are treated with kindess, compassion and respect. 

Discovery of children's remains reopens wounds among indigenous survivors  of colonial Canadian schools | Reuters

An official U of G message from the Office of the President can be found at: https://news.uoguelph.ca/2021/06/u-of-g-mourns-with-the-indigenous-community-and-recommits-to-truth-reconciliation/