Canadian school Ryerson University accepts changing its name

On Thursday, August 26, the President of Ryerson University announced that the school has accepted the “Standing Strong recommendations, including renaming the university”.

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In a statement, President and Vice-Chancellor of Ryerson University Mohamed Lachemi, said that Ryerson’s Board of Governors approved a motion to accept all 22 recommendations from the Standing Strong (Mash Koh Wee Kah Pooh Win) Task Force, including the recommendation to rename the university.

“The Task Force’s 22 recommendations include renaming the institution, sharing materials to recognize the legacy of Egerton Ryerson, and providing more opportunities to learn about Indigenous history and Indigenous and colonial relations. The report provides a full picture of the past and present commemoration of Egerton Ryerson, yet the recommendations are not based on either vilification or vindication of the individual.”

Earlier this summer in June, a statue on Ryerson’s campus of Egerton Ryerson was toppled and destroyed by activists. 

The Standing Strong Task Force Recommendations: Acknowledging the past, learning from the present, looking to the future report states that the Task Force mandate was “to develop principles to guide commemoration at the university and to respond to the history and legacy of Egerton Ryerson within the context of the university’s values.”

Some of the recommendations include renaming the university, which the university has accepted, and calls for the university to “not reinstall, restore or replace the statue of Egerton Ryerson, and instead initiate an open call for proposals for the rehoming of the remaining pieces of the statue to promote educational initiatives.”

In the report, the Task Force calls on the university to recognize “the incomplete understanding of Egerton Ryerson’s history, our nation’s past and present and the exclusion of Indigenous knowledge from curriculum,“. 

The Task Force also wants the university to “strengthen efforts to recruit, retain and promote faculty and staff who self-identify as Indigenous and/or Black.”

Additionally, the Task Force is calling on the university to “plan ceremonies for community members’ healing and closure at the former site of the statue of Egerton Ryerson.”

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