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U of T Student Equity Census

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Count Yourself In

Equity, diversity and inclusion are fundamental values at the University of Toronto. Building on U of T’s Statement on Equity, Diversity, and Excellence, we are committed to advancing equity within our practices and processes. The U of T Student Equity Census launched in Fall 2020.

This Census is a tool that supports the University in better understanding the demographics of our student population. The data we collect will be used to develop, assess, and maintain programs and initiatives that respond to the needs of our students. Through connections with other student-related data, we’ll be able to more effectively understand and improve the holistic experience of our students. This data will also help us to strengthen student recruitment efforts, access, and strategies to address and eliminate barriers to success within our processes.

Your identity is complex and personal – we understand and respect that. Your responses will be kept strictly confidential. Through the participation of all students, we’ll be able to better understand and address the systemic barriers that our students face.

About the U of T Student Equity Census

The U of T Student Equity Census is a demographic data collection initiative with a set of seven questions. Each question includes a “prefer not to answer” response option, should there be information you do not wish to share.

Who should participate

All undergraduate and graduate students currently enrolled at the University of Toronto on a part-time or full-time basis should participate. 

How to participate

The Census is available on ACORN. Log in using your UTORid and fill out your responses – it should only take about five minutes to complete. You can find the Census in the “Profile & Settings” section of your ACORN account.

When to participate

While there is no deadline to complete the Census, we encourage all students to do so as soon as possible. The Census remains open for you to log in to change or modify your responses at any time. Simply view, submit or edit your responses through the “Profile & Settings” section on your ACORN account.

Privacy & confidentiality

You determine the information you choose to share. All questions have a “prefer not to answer” option, should there be information you do not wish to share. Your responses aren’t anonymous, but the data collected will be kept strictly confidential. Only aggregate data will be used in reporting.

As always, your privacy is protected. Learn more about how we’re keeping your information safe. 

Frequently Asked Questions
  • Excellence flourishes in an environment that embraces the broadest range of people and reflects local communities. The U of T Student Equity Census supports U of T’s commitment to creating inclusive working and learning environments through better understanding the characteristics of our student body.

    This initiative aligns with broader institutional efforts that support anti-discrimination and enhanced equity. Such efforts include Answering the Call: Wecheehetowin, U of T’s response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, recent efforts towards Anti-Semitism and Anti-Islamophobia, and the Anti-Black Racism Task Force Report, which emphasizes the importance of collecting demographic data.

  • All undergraduate and graduate students currently registered at the University of Toronto on a part-time or full-time basis on all three campuses should complete the Census.

  • The U of T Student Equity Census is accessible through ACORN. Simply log in using your UTORid and fill out your responses – it should only take about five minutes to complete. You can find the Census in the “Profile & Settings” section of your ACORN account. Notifications will also be used to encourage your participation.

  • If you have already completed the Census (since the most recent relaunch on Dec. 1, 2022), your response will appear as submitted in your “Profile & Settings” page on ACORN. There is no need to complete the Census again. You are welcome to make changes, edit and resubmit your response at anytime if there is new information you wish to share.

  • Following a comprehensive review by the U of T Student Equity Census Advisory Roundtable, and looking closely at student feedback, some of the questions and categories on the Census have changed. The revised version of the Census launched on December 1, 2021.

    These changes included:

    • A more detailed list of categories for the question on racial and ethnocultural identity
    • Revised language associated with questions about disability, gender identity and sexual orientation, with new categories added

    Only minor changes were made for the 2022-23 academic year. If you completed the Census already, you may wish to review your responses to ensure they best reflect your identity. You are invited to change and to resubmit your responses anytime.

    We’ll continue to review the Census regularly to make sure it adequately reflects our community. However, we don’t anticipate changes will happen as often moving forward.

  • Yes, you can log in again to change or modify your responses at any time. There is no final deadline to complete the Census – the information will be collected and updated on an ongoing basis. If you make changes, your previous responses will not be saved.

  • Each question has a “prefer not to answer” option, so you can use this if there is specific information you don’t want to share. As well, there is an option to clear your responses so that you can change your responses at any time and your record will be updated. We don’t keep a historical record of your previous responses and any previous data you submitted will be removed.

  • Through the collection of this demographic data, and links to existing data, such as age, immigration status and program of study, the University is able to create programming and resources that better respond to our students’ needs. This data will help us to strengthen student recruitment efforts, access and strategies to address and eliminate barriers to success within our processes.

    We’ll share our findings because this information helps the University, and our community partners understand and eliminate barriers to post-secondary education and ensure support for our student community.

  • The information we gather helps us see who’s here and who isn’t – at the University in general, and in specific faculties and programs. It lets us know whether we’re adequately engaging and supporting students from diverse backgrounds, particularly those who are historically and currently underrepresented in post-secondary education. It helps us to better understand the experience of students and how this might be impacted by intersections of various aspects of their identities.

    Examples of action may include: 

    • Assessment of the effectiveness of student support programming and services. 
    • Increasing support for underrepresented student communities at the outreach, recruitment, and admissions stages, and throughout their time at the University. 
  • The Census is gathering a broad range of demographic information – this includes information about gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, Indigeneity, race and ethnocultural identity and educational attainment of parents/guardians. This data will help us understand our student community, identify any gaps in representation and the effectiveness of student support programming and services.

     

  • Identity is personal and complex, so we looked at a wide variety of terminology and considered many ways to collect this information. Feedback from our students was critical in designing the Census questions. In every response, you have the opportunity to list how you want to identify, beyond the list of options provided. Terminology is fluid and you may change how you want to identify – that’s why you have the option to change your responses at any time.

    You can also provide feedback on the Census questions and the terminology used. You can do this on the form itself, or via email to vp.student@utoronto.ca. We’ll continue to review student feedback regularly to make sure the Census adequately reflects our community.

  • The primary goal of this Census is to gain a deeper understanding of the composition of our student community. The data we collect will help us to learn more about who isn’t currently represented in our community, but it will also show us how to provide better supports to our current student population. Your personal participation in the Census is a way to be part of our collective action towards advancing equity for all students across U of T.

  • Data will be stored on secure University of Toronto servers and will be encrypted at all times.  

    The University of Toronto is committed to privacy and will safeguard your personal information in a way that is consistent with the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA). This includes all information provided through the U of T Student Equity Census.  

    Wwon’t use your information for other purposes, and it will never be associated with any academic or reprisal/disciplinary action. 

    If you have questions about privacy, please refer to the Governing Council website or contact the University Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Coordinator at McMurrich Building, room 104, 12 Queen’s Park Crescent West, Toronto, ON, M5S 1A8. 

  • No. The data you share with us won’t affect your academic record in any way, nor will it have any bearing on your eligibility for admission or registration to any U of T program. No professor, teaching assistant or Academic Advisor will have access to this personal data. This data will never be used as part of implementing a policy associated with your academic progression.

  • We encourage all students to complete the Census because the more responses we receive, the more we’ll learn about our student community, and the better we’ll be able to act based on the data.

Preview the U of T Student Equity Census

If you are interested in seeing the questions included on the 2022-2023 U of T Student Equity Census, you can view the U of T Student Equity Census -Questions & Format Resource (2022-2023)