The ‘Anti-Oppression Programme’ Project sought to establish a new dialogue and standards for acceptable practices of social, human and institutional sustainability in issues that new students at McGill Residences face such as race, religion, culture, mental health and coping. The programme, which was led by coordinator Emily Yee Clare, developed workshops and resources for students and staff in Residences and within the McGill Community.
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Arriving for the first time into residence life, leaving behind comforts of home and going out on your own can be a difficult transition even for those best prepared. These eight or so months are a very important time in a young person’s life, a dynamic period during which friendships and shared values originate that last throughout years spent at McGill.
As residences are the first introduction for over 3 000 McGill students every year to independent living, unexpected problems do arrive, and students are not always equipped to deal with issues they may face or observe such as discrimination and harassment. As such, there is significant need for sustained anti-oppression support to fit the unique needs of the McGill Residences community.
Previously, to help students, a single mandatory 3-hour workshop – ‘Rez Project’ - which covered topics like gender, sexual identity and sexual assault was offered every September; however it was limited in time and scope. The objective of developing the ‘Anti-Oppression Programming Project’ was to expand on the existing anti-oppression training for all residence students through collaboration with existing McGill groups such as the Social Equity and Diversity Education (SEDE) Office, Student Services, SSMU Equity, and other anti-oppression units at McGill.
The SPF provided the resources to employ Emily Yee Clare as coordinator of these efforts. Clare’s focus was the development of new modules of Rez Project which addressed social, human and institutional sustainability in issues that new students face such as race, religion, culture, mental health and coping, as well as the materials to support these modules for subsequent years. These modules constitute mandatory anti-oppression training sessions specifically tailored for Rez Life staff and other larger workshops for residents during both fall and winter residence move-in. Finally, a residence Equity Policy and a 3-year timeline for implementation and review of the project was developed. Existing anti-oppression resources for residence students and staff were compiled and improved upon and community stakeholder groups such as OSD, SSMU, QPIRG, Student Housing and Hospitality Services were consulted.
The coordinator position became obsolete after the year-long mandate. Programme maintenance is now anchored in multiple groups within Residences, such as Rez Life.
Developed platforms that connect with students are workshops, discussion groups and movie screenings, as well as themed editions of existing programming in Residence Life such as Faculty-In-Residence and Community Engagement. This programme ensures that equity will be embedded into the very structure of Residences and normalized through practice.
Connect with this project
For further information conerning this project, or to get in touch with its members, please contact the krista.houser [at] mcgill.ca (SPF Administration Team).