Statement on the Maclean's Article about Indigenous Identity

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By Emily Carr University

Posted on September 06, 2022 | Updated September 06, 2022, 5:09pm

Emily Carr University (ECU) is committed to reconciliation, Indigenization and decolonization, and that includes our approach to hiring Indigenous faculty members according to best practices, which continue to evolve.

As part of deepening this commitment, in 2019 we undertook an initiative to hire more Indigenous faculty who offer extensive expertise in art, media and design. Gina Adams was hired as part of this effort.

This was a rigorous process that involved interviews with ECU’s hiring committee, which included Indigenous faculty and staff, a public presentation, and one-on-one meetings with Indigenous students, Indigenous and non-Indigenous faculty members. While this is an evolving area, ECU is confident this hiring process followed best practice at the time.

Emily Carr University takes very seriously the allegations that a member of our faculty made a false claim to Indigenous identity.

We can confirm that Gina Adams resigned from her position at Emily Carr University on August 25, 2022.

The complex matter of Indigenous identity as it relates to hiring has been the subject of debate within universities and Indigenous communities in recent years. We welcome these conversations and along with our peers, ECU is grappling with these complexities as best practices rapidly advance.

We are committed to finding a way forward and will be undertaking an Indigenous-led external review to make recommendations for how we assess identity in a culturally-appropriate way when hiring for positions designated for Indigenous candidates.

This review will help accelerate the strides forward we have already made. Over the past two years, ECU has instituted mandatory unconscious bias and diversity training for faculty hiring committees, worked with external experts and search firms specializing in hiring for designated positions, and provided training on how to thoughtfully and appropriately probe a candidate’s connection to community, among other actions.

There are a multitude of viewpoints on this matter within Indigenous communities, and Indigenous leaders at ECU are actively participating in this national conversation. We are eager to strengthen our approach as best practices evolve.

Emily Carr University will continue making the necessary changes to ensure our hiring practices align with our deep commitment to reconciliation — and ensure that ECU continues to be an inclusive environment where Indigenous students, staff and faculty can thrive.


Media contact:

Alexandra Korinowsky
Communications Manager
Communications + Marketing
Emily Carr University of Art + Design