Overall Rating Silver - expired
Overall Score 50.14
Liaison Don Forster
Submission Date March 30, 2020
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Seneca College
PA-6: Support for Underrepresented Groups

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.50 / 3.00 Paula Echeveste
Sustainability Supervisor
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have a publicly posted non-discrimination statement? :

The non-discrimination statement, including the website URL where the policy is publicly accessible:

From the Discrimination and Harassment Policy posted on-line

“It is the Policy of Seneca College that all employees and students have a right to work and study in an environment that asserts the personal worth and dignity of each individual.
To achieve this objective, Seneca College will not tolerate any form of discrimination and/or harassment in its employment, educational, accommodation or business dealings. Every member of the College community has the right to file a complaint of discrimination/harassment.”

- Board of Governors

Does the institution have a discrimination response protocol or committee (sometimes called a bias response team) to respond to and support those who have experienced or witnessed a bias incident, act of discrimination or hate crime?:

A brief description of the institution’s discrimination response protocol or team (including examples of actions taken during the previous three years):

The Discrimination and Harassment policy outlines the protocol for investigating and responding to complaints raised. See the full policy for more detail: http://www.senecacollege.ca/about/policies/discrimination-and-harassment-policy.html

The following section taken from policy describes the overall approach for responding and supporting those who have experienced or witnessed a bias incident, an act of discrimination or hate crime:

- Procedural Fairness
No adverse action will be taken against a person or a group without their knowledge where there is an alleged breach of the Discrimination/Harassment Policy (hereafter referred to as the "Policy"), unless notification to the individual and/or group would cause the College to violate specific legal obligations with regards to the dignity, safety or security of its constituent(s). Parties to a complaint will have a reasonable opportunity to dispute, correct or contradict all allegations, present arguments and evidence in support of his or her position throughout all stages outlined in these procedures. All parties to a complaint may be represented by an agent of their choice. It is understood that OPSEU is the exclusive bargaining agent for employees covered by the Support Staff and/or Academic collective agreement(s).
- Reprisal
Every individual who files a complaint, participates or co-operates in an investigation, provides information relevant to a complaint, or acts in any role under the policy and/or these procedures has a right to do so without reprisal or threat of reprisal.
- Abuse of Policy/Procedures
Malicious complaints or inappropriate breaches of confidentiality will be considered violations of the Policy. Any individual or group that makes a frivolous, vexatious, false or bad faith complaint pursuant to this Policy for the purpose of harming another individual or group, breaches the Policy and may be disciplined.
- Parallel Processes
Nothing in the Policy or these Procedures precludes a member of the College community from seeking alternate routes (eg. Collective Agreement(s), Ontario Human Rights Commission, Courts, etc.).
However, it is understood that once the College is aware that a human rights complaint may exist, it has an obligation to proceed to investigate the complaint in order to ensure that any alleged discrimination or harassment will not continue to take place.
It is further understood that if a complainant files a grievance under a Collective Agreement, alleging discrimination or harassment, the College reserves the right, during the grievance process, to refer the matter to the Student Conduct Office for investigation and resolution commencing at the Formal Complaint stage (Section 9) as outlined in these procedures.
- Without Prejudice
Any confidential complaint made to and filed with the Student Conduct Office shall be deemed to have been made or filed without prejudice. The complaint so made or filed shall not form the subject matter of a complaint against the person making or filing the original complaint.
- College Responsibilities
Where immediate action is required in the enforcement of this Policy, the Executive Committee will act on the recommendations of the Student Conduct Office. Where the complaint is specific to a College policy, practice or procedure, the Student Conduct Office will have the responsibility to investigate and determine a resolution to situations in which College practice and/or procedure violates this Policy.
- Confidentiality
Throughout these procedures, all information collected remains confidential in the Student Conduct Office, except when disclosure is required to investigate and/or resolve a complaint; or when disclosure of information or the giving of evidence is required, such as grievance arbitrations, Ombudsperson, Ontario Human Rights Commission and/or judicial proceedings.
- Determination of Complaint Process
Upon receipt of information alleging Discrimination or Harassment, the Student Conduct Office will initiate a preliminary review to determine if the situation is within the purview of the Student Conduct Office and shall advise a complainant if: the complaint is not based on any of the prohibited grounds and should be dealt with through other college procedures such as the Student Code of Conduct Process, Collective Agreement(s), Academic Appeal process or Ombudsperson;
the subject matter of the complaint has been found to be trivial, frivolous, vexatious or made in bad faith. Frivolous, vexatious, or bad faith complaints may result in sanction. The process and sanctions will be the same as for other complaints (tied to the severity of the breach and relationship of the respondent to the College);
the complaint appears not to be within the jurisdiction of the College; or
the complaint cannot be supported and/or substantiated.
Where the Student Conduct Office advises a complainant to withdraw a complaint or to seek alternative routes, the complainant shall be advised in writing of the reasons and alternative procedures within or outside the College system.

Where the Student Conduct Office determines that a complaint is not based on any of the prohibited grounds, the complaint shall be terminated subject to appeal to the Chair of the Complaint Review Board. (See Section 12)

While the goal of these procedures is to encourage parties to resolve their disputes either informally or through mediation, the College may be obligated to exercise its authority to initiate more formal intervention, where in the opinion of the Director, Student Conduct Office (hereafter referred to as the "Director"), the dispute falls within one of the following areas:
the allegations, if proven, warrant severe disciplinary action, ie. suspension, dismissal and/or expulsion;
the allegations, if proven, would have an adverse effect on academic programs and/or the College's reputation;
there is more than one aggrieved person; and/or
there are significant differences in the complainant's and respondent's versions of the facts.
the dispute is one in which the security, health or safety of those involved are at risk; and/or
the complaints involve possible offences under the Criminal Code of Canada or other federal or provincial statutes.
- Informal Resolution
Where there is reason to believe that there is a violation of the Policy, but where the situation could be remedied by informal resolution, the Student Conduct Officer (hereafter referred to as the "Officer") or designate shall meet with each party involved and attempt to effect a settlement of the complaint informally. The Officer or designate will provide impartial counselling to all parties in the dispute, including advice on external means of redress available (e.g. Courts, Human Rights Commission, Collective Agreement).
Where the parties to the complaint agree to a resolution, it shall remain confidential, be documented, filed with the Student Conduct Office and the complaint considered resolved.
In the absence of an agreed-upon settlement reached informally by the Student Conduct Office, the complainant(s) may withdraw the complaint, request mediation or file a formal complaint.
- Mediation
In the absence of an agreed-upon settlement reached informally, the complaint may proceed to mediation at the request of the complainant, respondent and/or Officer.
Mediators shall be designated after consultation with the local union(s), student federation council(s) and administration of the College. It is understood that the Student Conduct Office will provide ongoing training and assistance to internal mediators.
The Mediator shall be selected, on a rotating basis, subject to availability, from the list of internal experienced mediators, after consultation with the parties. The Student Conduct Office will be responsible for coordinating the meeting between the Mediator and the parties involved. Mediation shall normally be conducted within 5 working days after informal resolution was attempted.
The Mediator shall meet with the parties involved, provide both parties an opportunity to present the relevant facts and assist them in arriving at a mutually agreeable solution, in order to effect a settlement of the complaint.
Where the parties to the complaint agree to a resolution, it shall be documented, signed by the parties, filed in the Student Conduct Office and the complaint considered resolved.
It is further understood that all discussions throughout mediation are privileged, will remain confidential and will not be used in the event a formal complaint is pursued.

Does the institution have programs specifically designed to recruit students from underrepresented groups?:

Does the institution have programs specifically designed to recruit staff from underrepresented groups?:

Does the institution have programs specifically designed to recruit faculty from underrepresented groups?:

A brief description of the institution’s programs to recruit students, staff and/or faculty from underrepresented groups:

The Human Resources Department and the student recruitment department has specialized programs to recruit people from an underrepresented group.

2019-2020 – Student recruitment events:
• Day in the Life Workshops Seneca will host 30 Day in the Life workshops annually (September to June). This all-day program provide 2,500 students in grades 4-12 and adult learners, from identified at-risk communities, a better understanding of the Ontario college system and Seneca. Students will experience a day in the life of a Seneca student through interactive academic and career workshops and campus tours. Students will also receive personalized support to assist with questions regarding affording college, choosing the best program, and more. The students targeted for this outreach initiative will be elementary school students with lower achievement rates, secondary school students with low credit accumulation and/or achievement rates, secondary school students taking applied courses and adults who have not completed their OSSD or who have completed their OSSD but with inappropriate courses and/or low achievement. Information will be collected to see if the prospective students who attend these sessions, choose Seneca to apply, confirm and ultimately enroll.
This strategy will increase interest of Seneca and the Ontario college system and increase motivation among the target audience to purse postsecondary education.
• Indigenous Community Outreach Seneca will hire an Indigenous Liaison Officer to work collaboratively with First Peoples @ Seneca and the Aboriginal Education Council to promote postsecondary education and Seneca specifically to secondary and mature prospective students from our Indigenous populations from identified surrounding communities. The students targeted for this outreach initiative are: Indigenous prospective students, at-risk prospective students, high school students and mature students who have limited access to outreach, transition supports due to remote geography. This position will participate in the Aboriginal Post-Secondary Information Program (APSIP) and College Information Program (CIP). This program is participated by several Ontario universities and colleges who travel across Ontario to meet with Indigenous high school students to speak with them about program options at Seneca. Seneca will set up student recruitment visits to community centres,
Pow Wows and indigenous community events in the Greater Toronto Hamilton Area who focus on the Indigenous community. Many prospective students do not know the programs available and support services available at Seneca to help with their education and career success. This position assists in building awareness with prospective students and shows them the different pathways they can take at Seneca and how they can further their education after Seneca.
The initiative will work to deliver 50 visits and reach at least 2,000 prospective students from identified surrounding communities. Information is being collected to include whether those reached during the visits will end up applying and enrolling at Seneca. This activity will increase awareness of Seneca’s programs and support services as well as generate knowledge and understanding of the various pathways and options available at Seneca. This initiative will reach at least 2,000 prospective students.

For the Human Resources component, the following information is available:
Seneca's Talent Acquisition team are tireless in their efforts to meet the commitments as per the job postings …. “Seneca College is committed to diversity and encourages applications from qualified candidates, especially indigenous persons, members of sexual minority groups, visible minorities, women and persons with disabilities ……. ”
There have been many initiatives and ongoing recruitment campaigns for difficult to fill positions and selection of specific diversity groups (i.e., FNMI).

Advertising, Job Fairs, and Partnerships
Seneca’s approach for advertising positions externally is to reach the highest number of qualified candidates. For that reason, Seneca utilizes paid services from Linked, Indeed, and Eluta to ensure all Seneca’s postings have displayed these sites as soon as they are activated externally and reach a large network prospective candidates. In addition, Seneca uses Seneca’s Social Media account on LinkedIn and Twitter to advertise many of the positions. These channels reach a wide range of individuals as they consist of current and prospective students, as well as domestic and international alumni. Seneca has advertised on sites such as Aboriginal Careers and Miziwe Biik to attract candidates of FNMI descent.

Other job boards Seneca frequently utilize are listed below and include general job boards as well as niche/specialized job boards:
- Academica
- Charity Village
- Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan)
- Job Bank Canada (HRDC)
- Times Higher Education
- OCASA College Administrator Network
- The Chronicle
- Canadian Association of College & University Student Services (CACUSS)
- Aviation Canada
- Ontario Society of Professional Engineers (OSPE)
- Human Resources Professional Association (HRPA)
- Chartered Professional Accountants (CPA)
- Health Force Ontario
- Educause
- Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP)
- University Affairs

The Talent Acquisition team has previously attended career fairs hosted by the Welcome Centre Immigrant Services to connect with newcomers to Canada and discuss job opportunities within our organization. Seneca has also invited a representative from Specialisterne to speak to Seneca’s HR and other leaders in the organization to discuss the work they do in assisting individuals on the autism spectrum with employment opportunities.

Seneca is also a partner of the Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion and members of the Talent Acquisition team attend the annual conference Unconference to stay up to date on best practices within the D&I landscape.

Hiring Process:

Seneca’s hiring process is designed to ensure the highest probability to fairness and equity, and to reduce bias:
1. Interview panel selection – It is our practice to conduct interviews in a panel format and we encourage participation from a diverse range of faculty and staff. As an example, the panel composition for faculty positions must have at least 50% (or more) participation from other faculty members. An Academic Chair is expected to reach out to ALL full-time faculty members to request their participation in the selection process. Additionally, the academic chair is expected to change the composition of the interview panel from one competition to the next.
2. Standardized Questions – Each interview is conducted in a standardized format with interview questions prepared in advance which address the core competencies for this. The goal is to consider all candidates against the same criteria.
3. Candidate Evaluation – Each candidates’ qualifications are assessed by the entire panel against a pre-determined set of criteria which is identified on the ‘Candidate Interview Summary’.
4. Diversity as a core competency – Diversity is assessed for every candidate who is interviewed for a position at Seneca. It is a standard competency assessed at every interview.

Does the institution have mentoring, counseling, peer support, academic support, or other programs to support students from underrepresented groups on campus?:

Does the institution have mentoring, counseling, peer support or other programs to support staff from underrepresented groups on campus?:

Does the institution have mentoring, counseling, peer support or other programs to support faculty from underrepresented groups on campus?:

A brief description of the institution’s programs to support students, staff and/or faculty from underrepresented groups:

- Accessibility Services
If a student has a disability that might affect their learning, Seneca supports them. With appropriate documentation, Seneca can help with academic accommodations, adaptive technologies, and learning specific skills that will help students engage fully in their programs at Seneca.
- Accessibility Counsellors
Some students may have functional limitations that impact their ability to fully engage with their academic work. Identifying the appropriate academic accommodations for a student with a disability in the postsecondary environment is critical to ensure students are supported during their time at Seneca. The counselors work with students to identify individual accommodation needs so that students can more fully participate in their academic studies.
- Assistive Technologist
The Assistive Technologists provide individual assessment and training on the use of assistive technology software and devices in the classroom.
- Counseling
Counseling is available for students who might be dealing with a variety of personal problems. The demands of school can feel overwhelming and there are times when unexpected events happen in our lives. Counselors are here to help you through life’s difficult moments.
- First Peoples@Seneca
First Peoples@Seneca is dedicated to supporting Indigenous students (First Nations, Métis, and Inuit) on Seneca's campuses. Services include advisement, tutoring, mentoring, workshops, cultural teachings, and social events. These services are offered in a culturally appropriate way to create understandings and learnings about Indigenous peoples.
- Religious Observances
Seneca College will accommodate students for religious observances to the greatest extent possible, under the College's Discrimination and Harassment Policy and the Ontario Human Rights Code. Students who require absences from class as a result of observing a designated religious holiday should notify their Professor/Instructor as far in advance as possible to arrange for any missed classroom work, assignments and/or tests. Measures, wherever possible, could include alternative assignments, additional assigned readings, an extension of deadlines, and the rescheduling of tests.
-Support for LGBT through Student Life services

Employ LGBT Student Peer Mentors at each campus (King , Newnham, Markham & York) – they assist students and provide peer support through drop-in hours/events.

Counselling & Accessibility Services hosts an LGBT Group Meetings every Thursday (Fall/Winter semesters).

Pride Flag Raising in June –Since June 2019

LGBT Welcome Events every semester

An official Seneca Pride Instagram account

Plan, organize & execute different events on campus such as the Drag Show – February 2020

Does the institution have training and development programs, teaching fellowships and/or other programs that specifically aim to support and prepare students from underrepresented groups for careers as faculty members?:

A brief description of the institution’s programs to support and prepare students from underrepresented groups for careers as faculty members:

Does the institution produce a publicly accessible inventory of gender-neutral bathrooms on campus?:

Does the institution offer housing options to accommodate the special needs of transgender and transitioning students?:

The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.