Why and how were specific identities prioritized in the selection process?

The Canada SROP was launched as an anti-racist initiative to support budding BIPOC researchers, with a focus on countering anti-Black racism and anti-Indigenous racism. Indigenous students were given the highest priority. Our funding structure required at least two spots to be filled by Indigenous applicants, because those spots were funded by the Faculty of Arts & Science Dean’s Indigenous initiatives. Black applicants were also prioritized, because the support for the Canada SROP was partly gained by the National Dialogues and Action for Inclusive Higher Education and Communities that occurred in 2020. The Dialogues called for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusivity initiatives in Canadian Higher Education to centre anti-Black racism in their work. Finally, we had to prioritize Canadian Permanent Residents and Citizens for the fully funded program in order to offer the stipend.

Therefore, applications from Black and Indigenous students who were Canadian Permanent Residents and Citizens were prioritized in the selection process. We applied these priorities by admitting all nominated Indigenous applicants who were Canadian Citizens or Permanent Residents, because we had fewer nominated applicants from this group than total program spots. Next, we conducted the lottery for the remaining spots among nominated Black applicants who were Canadian Citizens or Permanent Residents. If we had less nominated students from this latter group than spots, then we would have expanded to all nominated applications from Canadian Permanent Residents and Citizens, and then to international applicants. However, we had 21 nominated students across these two highest priority groups and only 15 slots.

The legal framework that allows for certain identities to be prioritized in diversity initiatives has been summarized by the Ontario Human Rights Commission.

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