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Message from the UPEI Board of Governors and Office of the President: Rubin Thomlinson Report

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The following message was distributed by email on June 14, 2023, to students, staff, and faculty on behalf of the UPEI Board of Governors and the Office of the President. 

Dear Students, Staff, and Faculty, 

When allegations against the former president were brought to the attention of the University of Prince Edward Island Board of Governors in December 2021, we took immediate action. Rubin Thomlinson LLP, a Canadian law firm with diverse and deep expertise in workplace investigations, was hired to conduct an independent investigation of the allegations of workplace misconduct against the former president. We also asked them to undertake a comprehensive review of the University’s policies, programs, and procedures concerning harassment, discrimination, and fair treatment, particularly as it was affected by the former president’s decisions and actions.  

The Terms of Reference for the policy, program, and procedures review called for a high-level summary of the report to be made public. The Board wishes to make as much of the report available as we are legally able to do so. The University’s legal counsel received the report on June 5, 2023, and they provided it to us on June 6. We then asked independent legal counsel to review and make redactions to meet confidentiality and legal requirements. Today, we are sharing the final redacted report, called the “University of Prince Edward Island Review” with you on our website. 

The Report focuses on a review of culture on campus and among faculty, staff and students that was conducted primarily in early to mid 2022 through a survey and interviews. Although the Report is not specific as to when events occurred, it does recount troubling incidents and expresses important concerns about the need for improved policies and procedures on harassment, discrimination, and unfair treatment.  

In addition to the Report that is being shared, Rubin Thomlinson undertook an investigation into a specific allegation surrounding the former president. As indicated in the Report, the findings of the investigation cannot be shared publicly due to privacy and legal reasons. The University can confirm that it is no longer associated with the former president.  

Throughout the Report, concerns with clarity and consistency of our policies, processes, and practices were identified. And as expected, the Report makes recommendations to significantly strengthen these. Many of the recommendations involve areas in which we have made progress in the last 18 months, including equity, diversity and inclusion, and sexual violence prevention and response. We welcome the thoughtful recommendations from the Report. We must continue to improve, and we will. 

As a public institution and the only university in Prince Edward Island, UPEI has a special obligation to the communities of PEI: to uphold, live by, and make all of our decisions based on our values.  

We deeply regret that, as an institution, we have not always lived up to our values, particularly in the time period covered by the review. We must do better, and we will. We will continue to work hard to create a safe, respectful, and positive environment for all members of the UPEI community.  

We have taken immediate steps to act on the recommendations contained in the report: 

  • An action plan will be developed based on the recommendations outlined in the Report. The process to develop the plan will be transparent and accountable. We commit to sharing our plan and reporting regularly on our progress. We are committed to executing a plan that will lead to a stronger institution.
  • We will create a new position of Vice-President, People and Culture, as a first step in developing a new organizational structure for the University. The new V-P will have responsibility for Human Resources; the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Office; and the Sexual Violence, Prevention, and Response Office (SVPRO) and report directly to the President. 
  • Additional and dedicated resources will be allocated to the EDI Office and SVPRO.

UPEI students, staff, and faculty are the backbone of this University and we are committed to providing policies and procedures that support and protect them and create a safe, respectful, fair, and inclusive environment in which to learn, teach, and work.  

Over the past 18 months since the review was initiated, our University community has endured a pandemic, labour disruption, and other hardships. The contents of the report are difficult to read and we realize that some may find them triggering. We encourage people to seek support. UPEI has a number of resources for students through UPEI Student Affairs, including academic advising and personal counselling (, and the International Student Office (  

The  Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Office ( is also available to all members of the University community. 

There will be counsellors onsite from TELUS Health (formerly Lifeworks) Employee Family Assistance Program (EFAP) to provide confidential one-to-one support for staff and faculty during this time. Counsellors will be located in the Kelley Memorial Building (rooms 111 and 114), from Wednesday, June 14, 12 pm to 4 pm, and Thursday and Friday, June 15–16, from 8:30 am to 4:00 pm. Please come to Human Resources or contact Human Resources at 902-566-0514 or to arrange an appointment.  

While it is important that we provide formal supports, it is equally important that we come together as a community to support colleagues who may face particular challenges at this time. Additionally, anyone with questions should feel free to reach out to the Office of the President at 

We are grateful for the ongoing support UPEI continues to receive from our community, donors, and alumni as we continue to advance the strategic priorities of the University. As UPEI’s motto, Fides Scientia Benificium, suggests, we remain steadfast in our mission to offer our students an educational experience designed to help them fulfill their potential in both the classroom and the community. 

Mr. Pat Sinnott 
Chair, UPEI Board of Governors 

Dr. Greg Keefe 
President and Vice-Chancellor (Interim) 


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Nicole Phillips
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