News  Social Equity and Diversity Education Office secures funding

Staff positions and programs maintained after successful campaign

The Social Equity and Diversity Education (SEDE) Office has renewed its funding for the next academic year, Associate Provost (Policies, Procedures, and Equity) Lydia White and SEDE employee Emily Boytinck have confirmed.

Despite an earlier budget proposed by the McGill administration that would have reduced SEDE funding, SEDE will see no decreases in its budget next year and will be able to keep the entirety of its staff while continuing its programs.

Founded in 2005, SEDE addresses issues of harassment and discrimination on campus. It also provides a variety of programs that promote social awareness and community engagement around campus, including Homework Zone, a mentoring and tutoring program that brings together McGill students and local elementary schools; Indigenous Awareness Week; and Community Engagement Day.

Despite the various services it provides, SEDE has consistently struggled with limited funds. Last year, SEDE lost a significant amount of funding, forcing it to eliminate a number of staff positions.

According to Boytinck, those cuts gave rise to this year’s “We Need SEDE” campaign, dedicated to securing funding for the services SEDE provides. “We were worried that something similar could happen again this year, and decided to take action to prevent future cuts,” Boytinck told The Daily in an email.

The campaign, which began in February, has employed petitioning and other outreach methods to raise awareness of SEDE’s financial state, and to garner support for its funding. The administration’s decision to maintain SEDE funding comes about two months after the campaign began, even as the University finds itself with limited budget options.

White spoke to the the process behind the University’s decision to commit funding to the program.

“In spite of such constraints, we are pleased to report that in the case of SEDE a decision was made earlier this year to commit to base funding for two advisor positions,” White wrote in an email to The Daily.

White went on to say that the University will be funding SEDE’s permanent staff positions and all expenses associated with Community Engagement Day. SEDE will also be able to apply for additional project funding.

While the exact reasons why McGill has chosen to fund SEDE are unclear, SEDE employees are pleased with the proposed SEDE budget. According to White, SEDE Manager Veronica Amberg is delighted that the University has decided to fund permanent staff positions at SEDE and that SEDE is looking forward to creative ways of involving the community in developing new projects and maintaining existing ones.

Boytinck cited SEDEís importance to the McGill community as a reason why its funding should remain a priority. “By educating staff, faculty, and student leaders, the Equity Educational Advisors train McGill community members in the areas of LGBTQ rights and race and cultural diversity with the aim of cultivating a respectful, diverse, and supportive campus,” Boytinck explained, adding, “In addition, SEDE works with students, staff, and faculty through a variety of community engagement programs.

“We strongly believe that equity, diversity, and community engagement should be priorities at McGill, and ensuring SEDE program continuation and expansion is essential.”