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President’s Advisory Committee on Anti-Racism


Charlotte Yates

President and Vice-Chancellor

Charlotte Yates is the President & Vice-Chancellor of University of Guelph and a faculty member in the Department of Political Science. Dr. Yates began at the University of Guelph in 2015 when she was recruited to serve as the University’s Provost and Vice President, Academic. Prior to this Dr. Yates served as Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences at McMaster University where she was also a faculty member in Labour Studies and Political Science.

Lawrence Hill

School of English & Theatre Studies, College of Arts

Lawrence Hill is a professor of creative writing in the School of English and Theatre studies. He helped to create and has chaired Gryphons Read, the university’s common reading program. Last year, he initiated a third-year creative writing course which he taught (to students and to prisoners, together) in the Grand Valley Institution for Women, a federal penitentiary in Kitchener. He is a novelist, essayist and screenwriter. His books and TV miniseries have been read and viewed around the world. He has won many awards, such as the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, and is a Member of the Order of Canada. Much of his volunteer work has been of service to Black communities, through groups such as the Black Loyalist Heritage Society, the Ontario Black History Society, The Writers’ Union of Canada, The University of Toronto Schools, and Crossroads International, for which he remains an honorary patron.

Standing Committee Members

Cara Wehkamp

Special Advisor to the President, Indigenous Initiatives

Dr. Cara Wehkamp is of mixed European and Matawasìbi anìcenàbi (Mouth of the River People) ancestry and is a member of the Antoine Nation with Algonquin family and kinship ties in the upper Ottawa Valley. As the Special Advisor to the President on Indigenous Initiatives, her responsibilities include advising the institution on Indigenous affairs and guiding the implementation of U of G’s commitments to Indigenization, decolonization and reconciliation. She also oversees the Indigenous Student Centre in Student Experience, which aims to provides a culturally supportive environment that promotes academic excellence and the intellectual, spiritual, emotional and physical development of First Nations, Inuit and Métis students. Cara also served as the Manager of the Office of Intercultural Affairs when its mandate included support for Indigenous and international students, students from racially diverse backgrounds and students of various faith perspectives. During that time, she co-authored the 2016 report on Supporting the Needs of Black Students at the University of Guelph. Cara has a Bachelor of Science in Plant Biology and a Masters and PhD in Environmental Biology from U of G and was a co-founder of the Aboriginal Student Association (now, the Indigenous Student Society). She is the recipient of a YWCA Women of Distinction Award in Education and Training and a President’s Award for Exemplary Staff Service in Innovative Leadership and has been recognized as one of the Guelph Mercury’s 40 under 40 and one of the National Aboriginal Health Organization’s National Aboriginal Role Models. She has served on several committees and working groups including the Indigenous Initiatives Strategic Task Force, the President’s Committee on Aboriginal Initiatives, the GenEQ Committee, the Bachelor of Indigenous Environmental Science and Practice Working Group, the College of Social and Applied Human Sciences Indigenization Committee and the University Inclusion Committee as well as the Council of Ontario Universities’ Reference Group on Aboriginal Education.

Gwen Chapman

Interim Provost & Vice-President (Academic)

Gwen Chapman is Interim Provost and Vice-President Academic at the University of Guelph. She was Dean of the College of Social and Applied Human Sciences from 2016 until August 2020, when she took on her current role. Pursuit of equity and inclusion has always been a key pillar of her strategic leadership. In addition to her administrative work, Dr. Chapman is well-known for her research on food practices and how they are shaped by the social, cultural and physical environments in which people live.

Gen Gauthier-Chalifour

University Secretary

Gen joined the University in 2006 and was appointed University Secretary in 2017. In this role, Gen leads the overall operation of the University Secretariat, Board of Governors, University Senate, Privacy Office and Student Judicial Services. She also serves as senior advisor on governance and policy issues for the University.

Gen has served on a number of University and sector-wide committees, and co-chaired U of G’s United Way Campaign in 2011 and 2012. She holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts (Political Science) from Wilfrid Laurier University, a Master of Arts (Leadership) from the University of Guelph, and the Chartered Director designation from The Director’s College and McMaster University’s DeGroote School of Business.

Indira Naidoo-Harris

Associate Vice-President (Diversity & Human Rights)

Indira Naidoo-Harris (she/her) is the Associate Vice President of Diversity & Human Rights at the University of Guelph, and is working to foster a culture of inclusion by leading discussion and education efforts about inclusivity, equity and accessibility. Prior to joining the University of Guelph, Naidoo-Harris was an elected Member of Provincial Parliament and held several cabinet posts including Ontario’s first ever Minister of the Status of Women, Minister of Education, Minister of Early Years and Child Care, and Associate Minister of Finance. Naidoo-Harris has developed and worked on policies, strategies and frameworks that have changed lives including Ontario’s Renewed Early Years and Childcare Policy Framework, the Strategy to Deliver Free Preschool Childcare for Children in Ontario, Ontario’s first Comprehensive Dementia Strategy, and the Ontario Retirement Pension Plan. As the first official voice for women in the province, Naidoo-Harris headed the Women’s Economic Empowerment Strategy and the Strategy for Gender-Based Violence. She also worked on anti-human trafficking legislation, led consultations across the province with women’s and Indigenous groups, victims of violence and social reformers, and worked with business and government officials on pay equity and other issues. Before entering politics, Naidoo-Harris was an award-winning journalist in Canada and internationally with outlets including NBC, PBS, CBC, OMNI, TVO and CTV.

Student Members

Keana Shahin

Graduate student, Ontario Veterinary College

Keana Shahin is a first year Master of Science student in Epidemiology. She is an executive member of the Graduate Student Executive of Population Medicine, the Social Committee, and a member of the Population Medicine Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion committee. During her undergraduate studies at Trent University, she was a member of the Otonabee College Principal's Advisory Committee, where she was involved in diversity and inclusion initiatives. As a member of the Population Medicine Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion committee she is involved in the development of a seminar series highlighting members of marginalized communities, in industries such as academia and research, in hopes of increasing representation.

Malissa Bryan

Graduate student, College of Social & Applied Human Sciences

Malissa Bryan comes from a specialized background in sociology with a focus on race, diversity, work and inclusion and is currently completing a Ph.D. degree in Sociology at the University of Guelph. Malissa is the founder and director of the Rainbow Diversity Institute an equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) consultancy, that supports organizations in meeting their EDI goals. Malissa currently serves as a co-chair for the Guelph Pride committee, the University of Guelph’s Black studies minor committee, and on various equity initiatives with local CUPE 3913.

Judith Cadeau da Costa

Graduate student, Ontario Veterinary College

I am Métis from the Penetanguishene area. Currently, I am a second year Master’s of Science Student, in the Department of Population Medicine, at the Ontario Veterinary College. The University of Guelph has been my home away from home for a long time, as I also completed my Bachelor of Science and Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degrees, at Guelph.

I am continually active in the University of Guelph’s community. This is my second term as one of two Indigenous Representatives on the Graduate Student Association’s Board of Directors. Through this association I was able to help distribute a petition on Action for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Woman, Girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people. I also participate in many weekly events at the Indigenous Student Center and I frequently attend Indigenous Student Society meetings.

Other committees, to which I belong are, the Student Experience Advisory Committee and the President’s Advisory Committee on Aboriginal (Indigenous) Initiatives. In addition, I am a MSc. Representative on the Graduate Student Executive of Population Medicine. Next semester I am planning to co-host an Equity, Diversity and Inclusion lunch and learn with the GSEPM.

Brianna Martey

Undergraduate student, College of Arts

Hello my name is Brianna Martey. I am in my second year pursuing a degree in Psychology and a minor in Molecular Biology and Genetics. I am also a member of the Varsity Women’s Rugby Team. The last few years I have made it a priority of mine to speak out against injustices, joint my local MPs Youth Council in Ottawa to reach the community. I am excited to continue to make change here in Guelph and to be a part of this committee.

Chioma Nwebube

Undergraduate student, College of Biological Science

My name is Chioma Nwebube and I am in my third year at the University of Guelph, studying Human Kinetics. Currently, I am the President of the Guelph Black Student’s Association

Faculty Members

Lawrence Goodridge

Department of Food Science, Ontario Agricultural College

Dr. Lawrence Goodridge is the Leung Family Professor of Food Safety in the Department of Food Science. Prior to coming to Guelph, Dr. Goodridge held faculty positions at the University of Wyoming, Colorado State University and McGill University. His expertise as a food safety researcher is well recognized; he has been invited to present his research over 160 times at national and international conferences, symposia and congresses. His research group has presented the results of various projects in more than 120 abstracts and presentations at national and International scientific meetings. Dr. Goodridge’s research pursuits have resulted in 83 peer refereed publications and fourteen book chapters, and more than $28 million in research funding.

During his career, Dr. Goodridge has integrated his interest in improving equity diversity and inclusion (EDI) in STEM fields within his research program. Dr. Goodridge has been involved in the promotion of EDI at every institution where he has held faculty positions. As a visible minority, Dr. Goodridge is acutely aware of the challenges and systemic barriers in STEM fields and he has endeavoured to design recruitment practices, provide training opportunities, and create an inclusive environment that aids early career scientists in overcoming systematic discrimination. To this end, he has been invited to speak about EDI at universities and conferences as part of various Diversity speaker series and symposia.

Jade Ferguson

School of English & Theatre Studies, College of Arts

Jade Ferguson is an Associate Professor in the School of English & Theatre Studies. Her research and teaching interest focus on Black Canadian literature and Civil Rights literature and visual art. Over the last three years, she has taught a series of community-engaged courses in collaboration with the Guelph Black Heritage Society and the Community Engaged Scholarship institute. In 2017, she was awarded the College of Arts Teaching Excellence Award. She has worked on various Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion initiatives at the University of Guelph, including the Summer Undergraduate Research Experience, which provides BIPOC students with the opportunity to develop their academic skills as researchers and foster a sense of confidence as scholars, and "EDI in the Classroom," a training video for Graduate Teaching Assistants in the College of Arts. She co-chaired the Academic Inclusion Committee (2018-19) and currently co-chairs the Black Studies Minor Committee (2020-).

Ann Pegoraro

Lang Chair in Sport Management, Gordon S. Lang School of Business & Economics

Ann Pegoraro, PhD is the Lang Chair in Sport Management and a full professor in the School of Hospitality, Food and Tourism. Dr. Pegoraro is also the co-director of E-Alliance, the National Research Network for Gender+ Equity in Sport and a board member of the True Sport Foundation. Since joining the University of Guelph in September 2020, Dr. Pegoraro has co-founded the DIVERGENT lab, a research group focused on diversity, gender equity and technology.

Melissa Perreault

Department of Biomedical Science, Ontario Veterinary College

Dr. Perreault is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biomedical Sciences and is a citizen of the Métis Nation of Ontario. She is a neuroscientist by training with a preclinical research focus on depression, schizophrenia, and autism. Dr. Perreault is heavily involved in equity, diversity, inclusion (EDI), and Indigenization initiatives. She serves as Chair or as member of institutional, national, and international EDI committees, developed and coordinates the undergraduate Indigenous Mentorship Program in STEM, and helped establish a new undergraduate research assistantship for Indigenous students in the College of Biological Sciences. Dr. Perreault is also working in partnership with the Department of Integrative Biology on a number of initiatives including the development of a new institutional EDI symbol and to enhance research opportunities for Indigenous students in the biological sciences.

Samir Baijal

Building & Program Operations, University Centre Services

Samir (Sam) Baijal: Building and Programming Coordinator – University Centre Services. Employed at the University of Guelph for over 25 years. Graduated from the University of Guelph (1987, B.A. Honors Geography). Artistic Director at the Hillside Festival/Hillside Inside since 1998. Current board member of Canadian Live Music Association. He has served on numerous awards juries (Juno Awards Juries/screening committee (current), Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council and more). Sam has sat on various panels related to diversity and multi-cultural/multi-disciplinary practices in music/festival programming, audience development strategies at several large international performing arts conferences. Sam is responsible for assisting campus student multi-faith groups with events in the UC and space usage in the building.

Jimmi Hemmenbach

Regional Operations Manager, Middle East & South Asia, Admission Services

As the Regional Operations Manager for the Middle East and South Asia, Jimmi spearheads the student recruitment and relationships for the University of Guelph in those regions. He is a Swedish national with a multiracial background (Swedish/Eritrean) and has lived/worked in 6 different countries. Currently, as part of Admissions Services, he is participating in Anti-Racism training, and also serves as a member on IC3’s Inclusion, Diversity and Scholarship Committee in India.

Rattan Gill

Technology Transfer Manager, Research Innovation Office

Rattan Gill is a Technology Transfer Manager at the Research Innovation Office where she oversees the University’s plant germplasm portfolio.Rattan currently serves on the Professional Staff Association (PSA) Executive and PSA Problem Resolution Committee. A mentor under the Chroma Project (Student Experience), she strives to foster meaningful relationships with undergraduate students and to provide support and guidance for their successful academic and cultural transition. Outside the University, Rattan serves as a Board Member with 10C, a local non-profit driving social change through community collaboration, and as a member on AUTM’s Better World Project Committee.

Born and raised in India, Rattan studied and worked in the United States before moving to Canada. She is fluent in Punjabi, Hindi, and English.

University of Guelph-Humber Student Member

Rojelais Abdullah-Muhammad

Rojelais Abdullah-Muhammad is currently a third year Business administration student at Guelph-Humber. Rojelais has previously worked with Umove; mothers against gun violence and continues to volunteer at St. Ann Baptist Church.

External Community Members

Joy Sammy

Diversity Manager, Upper Grand District School Board

I am a University of Guelph graduate. I work with 10C Shared Space and recently started working with the Upper Grand District School Board as the Workplace Equity and Diversity Manager and have sat on the board of the Guelph Black Heritage Society for several years.

Bruce Weaver

Seven Generations Forward Council

Bruce Weaver is a retired elementary school teacher, having taught in Peel, Wentworth and the NWT. He and his wife have lived in Guelph since 1983. Bruce has been active in indigenous circles since his discovery of his native heritage about 10 years ago. He is a member of the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte. He currently facilitates a men’s circle, is a fire keeper for the community and is a member of Seven Generations Forward, which has held reconciliation gatherings at the Bookshelf for several year. as well, Bruce works with the Guelph Public Library to develop stronger relations with the local indigenous community and indigenous libraries across Ontario. For the last 5 years, Bruce has facilitated the Kairos Blanket Exercise with local school boards, Faith groups and the University of Guelph and Ryerson University. Bruce is an active member of Nature Guelph and a keen birder.