Statement by Principal Charlie Keil in Solidarity with Innis College’s Black and Indigenous Community Members

June 12, 2020

 

How can we ensure that Innis College’s commitment to a supportive learning community applies meaningfully to the Black and Indigenous students at our College?

 

George Floyd, D’Andre Campbell, Regis Korchinski-Paquet, Chief Allan Adam—these are only the most recent reminders of the continued, and often lethal, violence that people of colour experience on a daily basis. We recognize that Black and Indigenous students face substantial barriers and live with fears that are intolerable and unacceptable.

 

Our job is to listen and to educate ourselves before acting. How we move forward is as important as the decisions that we reach.

 

For that reason, the last week has been spent in communication with Black alumni to hear their perspectives and for guidance on the concrete steps we can take in the near future. We want Innis to be a place where Black and Indigenous students, staff, and faculty are equal contributors to a community that offers space for belonging.

 

We should all be fuelled by the fervor and wisdom of our student leaders, who have issued their own compelling statements. Still, as Esi Edugyan reminds us, “idealism is not only for the young. Nor should it be left only to those who bear the greatest brunt of systemic inequities. Everyone must do the work.”

 

At Innis, we will do that work. To that end, we are forming a working group dedicated to examining the experiences of Black and Indigenous students at the College. This group, led by people of colour who understand the issues, will provide a set of proposals that the College will then implement. We will issue regular updates on our collective progress. This will be our first step on a path to learn more and do better.

 


 

For students looking for resources at the University, please consult the following:

 
For faculty and staff, the following links may be helpful:

 

For Esi Edugyan’s full statement, please see:

 

For an op-ed by alumnus and Urban Studies instructor Kofi Hope, please see: