Dal restricts search for new VP to 'racially visible,' Indigenous candidates

Dalhousie University says its search for a new senior administrator will be restricted to "racially visible" and Indigenous candidates, part of its efforts to increase underrepresented groups on the Halifax campus.

In a memo to the university community, provost and vice-president academic Carolyn Watters says the search for a new vice-provost of student affairs is in line with the principles of Dalhousie's employment equity policy.

She says the university has retained an executive search firm to oversee the hiring process and conduct consultations with the university community through confidential questionnaires.

The search comes after incumbent Arig al Shaibah announced she would be leaving the university at the end of March.

She became the public face of the university's high-profile decision to take disciplinary action against a student leader last fall who criticized "white fragility."

The situation sparked debate about free speech, inclusion and equity on campus and eventually led al Shaibah to acknowledge that the university's code of conduct may not place two core institutional values, freedom of speech and the prevention of demeaning and intimidating behaviour, in sufficient and proper context.