Dear members of the UBC community.
I would like to begin by acknowledging that I am speaking to you from the traditional and unceded territory of the Musqueam people.
Chers membres de la communauté de l’UBC. J’aimerais commencer par vous dire que je m’adresse à vous depuis le territoire traditionnel et non cédé du peuple Musqueam.
Earlier this week, on November 11, we came together virtually to honour those who have served or now serve in Canada’s armed forces.
Since UBC was founded, many of its students, faculty, staff and alumni have answered the call of duty, serving their country as peacekeepers, as soldiers fighting against tyranny and oppression, as first responders, and in other ways.
Representing the university in all its diversity, they gave of themselves to make the world a better place.
Many of them paid the ultimate sacrifice. Others returned wounded, whether physically or mentally.
This week, we honour all of them. We reflect on their valour and their sacrifice, and we reflect on our duty to them, to their well-being and to their re-integration into civilian life.
And we resolve to ensure that their efforts were not in vain, to do our best to prevent future conflicts, so future generations can live in peace, justice and harmony.
We owe so much to the veterans who have served and sacrificed for our country, preserving and protecting the freedoms we enjoy today. They serve not just overseas, but here at home as well, with search and rescue missions, with floods and winter storms and even helping long-term care homes cope with the COVID-19 crisis.
Because we owe them so much, we are resolved to help them and support them.
That is why I have made a personal commitment to new initiatives that aim to make UBC one of Canada’s first “veteran-friendly” campuses. These initiatives include:
- specialized mental health and counselling support
- priority student housing
- specialized academic courses and programs
- social and recreational opportunities
- professional development courses
- and a Royal Canadian Legion Branch, the first new branch established in British Columbia in more than 25 years
Through these measures and others, we will begin to repay the enormous debt we owe our veterans, who have given so much to their country.
Grâce à ces mesures et à d’autres, nous commencerons à rembourser l’énorme dette que nous avons envers nos anciens combattants, qui ont tant donné à leur pays.
This past summer, UBC committed to tackling the pervasiveness of systemic racism. We know that when any population on campus does not feel included, respected, and engaged, it impacts their experience and their capacity to change the world.
I am pleased to announce that I have appointed Ainsley Carry and Ananya Mukherjee Reed as co-executive leads for anti-racism.
As senior administrators, they will provide a critical bridge between the UBC Executive and our IBPOC community members.
I can’t think of a better pair to help tackle this complex and critical task.
When Ainsley was VP Students at the University of Southern California, he co-led the Provost’s Task Force to respond to student demands for greater diversity and inclusion.
Ananya has been a crucial driver for significant work at UBC Okanagan. The campus has established a public forum on systemic racism, which has quickly gained recognition beyond UBC and is evolving fast into a space for bold discussions.
I am excited to work closely with both these senior leaders and support them on their new role listening and acting on issues of equity and inclusion.
As you know, each week I give a shoutout to a particular member of the UBC community. This week, I’m pleased to present Roshni Narain is UBC’s Director, Human Rights and over the last six months she and her team have seen a significant increase in concerns and complaints coming to the office.
She and her team have responded to the requests for advice and support and have been a key resource to faculty, staff and students on both campuses, particularly in situations where people are raising concerns of racial discrimination. I think it’s very appropriate that we thank her and her team for all they are doing for human rights at UBC.
And now, for this week’s #songsofcomfort selection, I am proud to present the UBC A Capella group, The UndeclaredMajors singing Mystery of Love by Sufjan Stevens. I hope you enjoy it.Stay safe and best wishes. Soyez prudents et recevez mes meilleurs vœux.