Skip to main content

STRIVE Task Force

Standing Together against Racism and Identity-based Violence 

Why a task force?

Concordia's President is striking a university-wide task force called STRIVE: Standing Together against Racism and Identity-based Violence. The STRIVE Task Force is a continuation of the university's commitment to addressing systemic discrimination, identity-based violence, and hate on campus and beyond. 

Academic freedom and freedom of expression, core Concordia values, can only thrive when we make clear the distinctions between open and challenging discourse and expressions of threats, violence, and hatred against identifiable groups. Central to this task is the differentiation between identity-based violence, systemic discrimination, hate, and controversial speech. Racism and identity-based violence undermine the university’s commitment to respect, inclusion, and equality within our community.

As a centre of learning and production of knowledge, Concordia has a crucial role in addressing how identity-based violence creates barriers to full participation in our university community. The Task Force aims to counter identity-based violence through campus engagement, consultations with all members of our community, open dialogue, education, and awareness. 

The work of the STRIVE Task Force will be complementary to and aligned with the recommendations from both the Indigenous Directions Action Plan and the President’s Task Force on Anti-Black Racism.


The mandate of the STRIVE Task Force is to oversee and coordinate the work needed to address identity-based violence as it manifests across the university. 

STRIVE will assess and make recommendations to strengthen anti-discrimination efforts at Concordia, ensuring that we have the tools and structures in place to respond to a climate of increasing polarization while celebrating our diversity. 

To do so, it will investigate, analyze and recommend the development of new policies and initiatives at Concordia, and assess ways to enhance existing institutional policies. Particular attention will be paid to existing informal and formal systems and practices of care and support, and how these can be bolstered.

To establish a global view, STRIVE will examine Concordia’s policies, teaching and administrative practices, and experiences of faculty, staff, and students. It will engage in wide-ranging consultation with the community as well as work with and consult internal and external partners. 

A comprehensive set of recommendations to combat identity-based violence at the university are to be submitted by the Task Force to the Provost.

Leadership and structure

The work of the STRIVE Task Force will be led by a steering committee and six subcommittees. 

Steering Committee

The STRIVE steering committee is led by three co-chairs:

  • Rachel Berger, Associate Dean, Academic Programs & Development, School of Graduate Studies, 
  • Rilla Shabnam Khaled, Associate Professor, Design and Computational Arts and Associate Director of Technoculture, Arts & Games (TAG), and 
  • Lisa White, Executive Director, Equity Office

The steering committee will take a holistic approach to its work of understanding specific forms of identity-based violence and identifying counter-strategies. It will also examine the workings of the university in relation to identity-based violence on campus. 

In addition to the co-chairs, the steering committee membership will include the following members: 

  • Undergraduate student
  • Graduate student
  • Alumni  
  • Full-time Faculty
  • Part-time Faculty
  • Staff (2)
  • Subcommittee leads

In addition to members, the steering committee will include administrative and communications support.


To best examine and address the university’s needs in relation to the overt and covert forms of identity-based violence within our institution, the Task Force will conduct its work through subcommittees according to six initial focus areas: 

  • Campus Engagement
  • Antisemitism
  • Anti-Arab racism and Islamophobia
  • Anti-Asian racism
  • Transphobia
  • Campus Climate 

Each area will be examined in depth and with careful attention to specificity and intersectionality (for example, appropriation, fetishization, hate, exclusion, erasure) as well as in juxtaposition with each other and the broader university context. 

The subcommittees, also composed of faculty members, staff, students, and administrative leaders, will examine and make recommendations on targeted areas of concern. Wherever pertinent, the subcommittees will consult the broader Concordia community to address the identified concerns as fully as possible. The Office of the Provost will provide administrative support to the Task Force for its mandate.

Back to top

© Concordia University