About Right to Campus
The Right to Campus Campaign is organized and implemented by Women in Cities International (WICI), an international non-profit based in Montreal, Canada, with extensive experience in action-based research focused on the empowerment, safety, and inclusion of women and girls in urban settings. Since WICI was founded, it has aimed to further a diversity of women’s “right to the city,” their right to participate in public urban spaces and all of the opportunities that cities have to offer, including economic opportunities, healthcare, transportation, etc.
Right to Campus was inspired by the work of WICI’s and is based on the concept of “right to the city”, first discussed in sociologist Henri Lefebvre’s 1968 book, Le Droit à la Ville. Through this lens, having a right to a public space is about more than just the right to being physically present in the space, but as well a right to engage and interact with the space in a secure and equitable manner. Right to Campus brings “the right to the city” dialogue to the campus setting.
Our goal is to promote and propagate an inclusive and equitable campus culture where all students feel safe. This is being accomplished through the development and implementation of an awareness raising campaign, focusing on issues pertaining to the right to public space, and its relevance to students on university campuses.
Currently, Right to Campus is being implemented on McGill University’s downtown campus. We will be consistently updating our website, and we hold events and workshops. Our hope is that in the future Right to Campus will be implemented on university campuses across the world! If you are interested in finding out about how you can bring Right to Campus to your campus, send us an email and we’ll get you started!
What does it mean to have “a right to space”?
Right to Campus employs a definition of space that encompasses the physical and emotional dimensions of public space. Space is both the physical, built, environment around you, as well as your emotional space, including your feelings, perceptions, and the vibe of a particular setting. Importantly, we believe that all individuals occupy and experience space differently and diversely, according to their unique identities.
Having a right to space means more than just having the right to be present in a particular space, it is about feeling included, safe, and being treated equitably. It is about you having the right to change the space according to your needs, and not having to change to “fit in” to whatever space you might be in.
Through the support of McGill’s Sustainability Projects Fund, we developed the Right to Campus Toolkit. The overall aim is to ensure that McGill’s campus upholds its commitment to being an equitable and safe space for all. We want all to feel safe while engaging on campus on personal, community, and systemic levels. Our Toolkit is based on three pillars: inform, navigate, and empower. The Toolkit serves as a resource to be consulted by students should they seek either campus-related information; connectivity and communication with other McGill students, clubs, services, faculty, staff, or administration; or should they desire tools to empower them in fostering sustainable social activism, with the goal of promoting greater safety and equity on campus and within the McGill community. For more information on the Toolkit, check out our "About the Toolkit" page.