EQUITY, DIVERSITY & INCLUSION
Stolen by Smith
Orientation Week has been a tradition held for the Commerce community at Queen’s University for over a hundred years. In 2020, when the Instagram page @StolenBySmith began documenting anonymous stories of discrimination that Smith students who were members of historically marginalized communities experienced, the CEO identified that a significant portion of these inequitable experiences took place during, or in relation to, Orientation Week. These experiences included hazing, both microaggressions and blatant discrimination towards members of certain historically marginalized communities, sexual violence, and many other situations where students have felt uncomfortable, unsafe, and/or unwelcome. This resulted in the decision to re-evaluate and develop the necessary adjustments and changes to various traditions, activities, and logistics that occur before, during, and after Orientation Week. Through this ongoing growth, the CEO aims to use all the resources we have to ensure the upcoming Orientation Week is welcoming and inclusive for every Incoming Student.
What CEO has Done
Upon reflection, the CEO has implemented several changes to align with our four guiding pillars; transparency, transformation, accountability, and support.
Fee Reductions & Fee Waiver Program
Orientation Week provides Incoming Students with the resources, support, and interpersonal relationships that form the foundation of a positive university experience. The CEO strongly believes that all Incoming Students should have the opportunity to attend Smith Commerce Orientation Week without facing associated financial burdens. With help from the Commerce administration, we have grown the Fee Waiver Program in an effort to offer financial assistance to all Incoming Students that need it. Overall, we have increased the financial accessibility of Smith Commerce Orientation Week and hope to reduce fees in future years further.
The CEO has ensured that there is an event every night of Smith Commerce Orientation Week so that no Incoming Student has to spend the evening alone if they do not want to. Specifically, “COMM Chill” is an optional evening event that Incoming Students can attend if they want to watch a movie, play video games, or simply chat with the CEO, the Bosses, and their peers.
We recognize that Smith Commerce Orientation Week’s traditional uniform consisting of shorts and a T-shirt may result in feelings of discomfort for a variety of reasons. For this reason, this year, we have a limited selection of long-sleeve shirts for individuals who would be more comfortable with this option. We also welcome all students to wear their preference of bottoms that they are the most comfortable with.
Orientation Leader Hiring
The CEO understands and values the importance of having a diverse and intersectional cohort of Orientation Leaders because there will be a diverse and intersectional cohort of Incoming Commerce Students requiring support. We recognize that, in the past, Orientation Leader hiring has involved hiring for “fit” – in order to continue our efforts to minimize both conscious and unconscious bias and hire our Leaders as equitably as possible, our hiring process is currently divided into two phases. In Phase 1, all written applications are anonymously received. These applications are marked based on a pre-developed rubric, and each applicant’s score is kept as a reference point available for comparison in case there are any discrepancies during Phase 2 of the hiring process – where applicants are interviewed and also marked on a similar pre-developed rubric. All applicants are then evaluated based on both written and interview scores.
In-Person EDI+I Resources
CEO wants to highlight our plan to have representatives from various EDI+I resources physically present during Orientation Week. These resources include, but are not limited to, this list.
This summer, the CEO will receive intentional training to ensure they have the knowledge and tools to create a welcoming, inclusive environment for each other, the Bosses, and the Incoming Students. In addition to being trained on topics mandated by the Orientation Round Table, including accessibility, human rights, sexual violence, bystander intervention, health and wellness, and safe and informed leadership, the CEO will be trained on cultural sensitivity, recognizing and respecting diverse perspectives and lived experiences, and working effectively in a team environment, among others.
Ultimately, the Commerce Executive on Orientation is committed to creating an Orientation Week environment where everyone feels accepted, included, supported, and valued for their individual diversity and unique lived experiences. We recognize that this is an ongoing process that requires shared effort from us, the Bosses, and all Incoming Students. Please remember to be kind to others and yourself, seek out education, and reach out if you need support.