Anti-Racism & Anti-Oppression Committee (ARAO)

Founded in 2020, the Anti-Racism Anti-Oppression (ARAO) Committee undertakes work crucial to the Faculty of Music and to the larger music community. A core component of our Faculty-wide commitment to anti-racist work, equity, and social justice, ARAO comprises students, staff, and faculty who work collectively to dismantle systemic racism, sexism, and oppression. 

U of T Klezmer Ensemble performance, Nov 2018
U of T Klezmer Ensemble performance, November 2018 
Photo by Lisa Sakulensky 
Jeff Reynolds and U of T Wind Symphony
Warm ups with conductor Jeff Reynolds and members of the U of T Wind Symphony, 2018-19 Season of Events | Photo by Lisa Sakulensky


The Anti-Racism and Anti-Oppression Committee seeks to foster an environment where all students, faculty, and staff feel safe, represented, respected, and valued.

Our activities in 2021–2022:

  • We first established a Code of Respectful Conduct for our group. Committee members considered four questions:
    • How do we want to communicate ideas, raise difficult issues, address each other, and ensure that we are listening to each other?
    • What do we want to avoid when communicating with one another?
    • Looking ahead, what could pose a challenge to respectful conduct?
    • When such challenges arise, how should we handle them?
  • Responses to these questions shaped the resulting Code, which consists of commitments we’ve made to ourselves and to each other. We “check in” with the Code of Respectful Conduct at the start of every meeting, with the understanding that it is a dynamic document and open to revision as necessary.
  • We identified several pressing issues facing the Faculty of Music, related to safety, communication, and belonging. We are working alongside the Teaching and Learning Committee and the Task Force on Equity and Belong to address these issues.
  • Throughout the Winter semester, we will organize activities within the Faculty of Music that lead to a Statement of Values for the Faculty. The Statement of Values will be displayed physically within the Edward Johnson Building, as well as on the Faculty of Music website, and it will undergo review every few years. Our process:
    • Review values statements from across the University of Toronto and consult with heads of units that have undergone similar activities.
    • Consult with equity offices at the University of Toronto, e.g., the Anti-Racism and Cultural Diversity Office (ARCDO).
    • Establish a process and timeline for consulting with students, faculty, and staff within the Faculty of Music. Create a draft Statement of Values.
    • Host community gatherings alongside individual and group consultations to receive feedback about the draft Statement of Values. With this feedback, revise and finalize.