Message from the President: We are committed to listen and to learn

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student centre in summer

The following message was also issued by email on July 7, 2023, to students, staff, and faculty on behalf of the Office of the President. 

Dear Members of the UPEI Community,

I want to thank everyone who attended and shared their stories, questions, and comments at our first town hall session related to the Rubin Thomlinson (RT) report. The courage of our campus community to share overwhelming, difficult personal experiences and to discuss the hard truths of the report was humbling. We are entering into a very important time for UPEI. And, I am confident that we all wish the same thing—for the University and everyone connected to it to succeed.

The town hall provided our first chance to come together to acknowledge the hurt our people have experienced due to discrimination, sexual violence, and harassment, among other problems across our campus. As discussed in the town hall, we will continue to provide opportunities to bring our community members together, discuss these problems, find pathways for healing, and rebuild trust in our learning community and workplace.

There are a number of steps the University must take on our journey towards addressing the issues identified in the RT report and beginning the hard work of improving campus culture.

While there are some processes that need very thoughtful review and input from the broader community, there are some action items that are clear within the report and should be addressed immediately. For example, the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) and Sexual Violence Prevention and Response (SVPRO) offices are under resourced to accomplish their missions and provide the supports they strive to offer. I have asked managers in these areas to prepare staffing plans to implement in time for the beginning of the fall semester.

Over the next few months, a more detailed action plan will be developed to address the problems outlined in the RT report. This action plan will include ways for UPEI to measure its progress so that we are increasingly accountable to our campus and community members. The development of this plan will require substantive community engagement among UPEI’s internal and external stakeholders, as well as valuable input from subject matter experts regarding best practices used at universities and similar organizations across Canada. Details on how UPEI will engage community members who wish to contribute to the action plan and the process timeline will be shared in the coming weeks.

UPEI is a learning community.

Therefore, as the action plan is developed, we are committed to continue to listen and to learn. Additional forums and sessions are planned to provide more opportunities to talk about needs and to learn from the feedback of our students, staff, faculty, alumni, and broader community. What we hear during these sessions will help inform our processes going forward and challenge us to do what is needed to rebuild our campus culture.

The next of these sessions will occur during the week of July 17 and will be for currently active UPEI staff. Smaller group sessions will be held for faculties and administrative units throughout July and August. Separate sessions for alumni and students will be held in August and September in coordination with the UPEI Alumni Association and UPEI Student Union, respectively.

We recognize there is much work yet to be done.

Not all of us are in the same place with respect to processing the recent RT report. Therefore, as we take steps to begin a journey of individual and collective healing, we will be thoughtful in our approach to ensure we are sensitive to and respectful of the many needs of our community members.




GREG KEEFE, DVM, MSc, MBA (he/him)
President and Vice-Chancellor (Interim)
University of Prince Edward Island

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