April 17, 2020
The University’s policies and statements make clear that we must support and encourage free expression for all members of our community to express themselves and engage with each other. We also strive to create an equitable community, one that is diverse as well as inclusive and that is respectful and protects the human rights of its members.
This equitable community includes U of T’s online platforms. Addressing harassing comments and discriminatory conduct online is essential to creating an online environment that is inclusive and equitable. Harassing conduct can include but is not limited to offensive slurs/jokes and comments, inappropriate pseudonyms, or online handles.
There are many ways to create an equitable and inclusive learning community in the online classroom environment. Being intentional about your course material and structure as an instructor can eliminate barriers and create a sense of belonging for all students.
Earlier this week, the University’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Office released, with contributions from the Office of the Vice-Provost, Innovations in Undergraduate Education, a new tip sheet on Creating an Inclusive Online Environment. Please find the complete document here: https://teaching.utoronto.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Creating-an-Inclusive-Online-Environment.pdf
And remember, the University of Toronto’s Equity Offices remain available to students and instructors to provide support on equity issues that arise.