Tim Rahilly message to campus community

Posted July 22, 2020


Hi everyone, it’s Tim here. It’s July, the sun is shining and the lifelong Calgarians tell me that summer is here and I’m taking them at their word. There’s a few things I wanted to update you on and again I’ll start off just by saying thank you for everything you’re doing on behalf of the University.

Right now one of the issues that I’m spending some time on is in response to Black Lives Matter and inquiries I’ve had around racism. I want to make it very clear that the University condemns racism and violence of the sort we have seen recently, categorically.

People have questioned me, why a personal statement, and why not a University statement? I’m going to proceed with having a University statement but I want to do that in a way that involves the members of our campus community. I want to hear their voices, and I also want this endorsed by our Board of Governors and our General Faculties Council. I think it’s so important that a University statement be endorsed by those bodies.

So I have been listening. I’ve heard from many members of the campus community, I’ve received letters from the public, I’ve had the opportunity to meet with individuals - faculty, students, staff groups, I’ve received an open letter and for me I understand the urgency to do more in support of Black Lives Matter and the broader issue of anti-racism. I think folks are looking for something different in the future and they want to see some commitment from the University. I’m going to do my level best to advance this dialogue and to move to some concrete actions on behalf of the University.

What I’d like to do is during the next academic year I will be forming a President’s Advisory Committee, and it will focus on issues of racism and I think it’s also an opportunity for us to have a conversation about human rights and equity in general. The group will be a majority of people who identify either as Black, Indigenous, People of Colour or other equity seeking groups and I want this group to help me understand their lived experiences; I want to hear their perspectives. We will be moving forward with that; it might be a two step process. I need to get people in the room to help me with terms of reference and then we’ll go full bore in moving forward as we need to in the fall.

Speaking of the fall - as we prepare for the fall semester, of course we are asking people to continue to stay away from campus. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the health and well-being of all of you is of primary importance to me and to the institution. We’ve identified a group of essential folks who are on campus now, we’ve done some work to make sure we’re very clear on the in-person exemptions for course delivery so I’d like to thank the Academic Working Group and the Planning Ahead Team for all their hard work there.

Again, this a moving and changing situation so stay tuned as we look forward to having the opportunity as the pandemic allows or the regulations change to phase in other aspects of campus based services or activities. I would like to thank you for your patience on all of this and encourage you, wherever possible, to think of creative ways that we can make sure Mount Royal continues to be a vibrant and exciting campus community, even if we can’t all be together face-to-face on campus.

As many of you know, who watch my videos, I like to do shoutouts, but this week I’d like to do something slightly different and hopefully it doesn’t sound too Pollyanna-ish or insincere because it’s quite sincere.

My shoutout this week is actually to all of you. Times are tough, we’re all feeling it, and I think that we’ve been so fortunate to have the support of members of our campus community, our students, in order to hunker down and get through this. It’s been a bit of a trial, there’s no question, and so I thank you. I thank those of you who have expressed gratitude to me; I reciprocate and encourage others in the campus community to express gratitude to their colleagues because I think it can really make a big difference on a day-to-day basis in the midst of all of this.

Finally, obviously summer as I mentioned people tell me, and some of our Faculty are away. I’m hoping they’re getting the respite that they need in order to prepare for the fall. The fall has the potential to continue to be challenging and I would encourage all of you where possible to take time to revitalize and to regroup in order to come back and do our level best to serve our students at the University.

So thank you everyone for everything that you do. For your tenaciousness, your patience, your commitment. I look forward to seeing you all face to face as soon as humanly possible.

Take care and I hope to see you soon.