Message from the President: Working together to improve our campus culture

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Photo of trees shading the library building in summer

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

Dear Students, Staff, and Faculty,

We recognize there is much work ahead to rebuild trust and to continue to improve our campus environment and culture. Part of this effort includes acknowledging the mistakes of the past so that we can address the issues outlined in Rubin Thomlinson (RT) report and work together to move forward. We are committed to the hard work that is needed to make these meaningful changes.

In the days ahead, we will continue to identify and implement actions, and to continue to encourage productive campus conversations and efforts to bring us together as a community.

We are taking immediate steps to support our community. The RT report calls for specific investments in our people and processes. As a result, a new role of Vice-President, People and Culture has been established and will go to open competition in the near future. In the interim, the role has enabled a focused effort to begin the process of better resourcing the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) and Sexual Violence Prevention and Response offices. We have also implemented new confidential processes for counselling and for making disclosures to support faculty and staff who have experienced harm from harassment, sexual violence, or discrimination at UPEI.

We are committed to listening to and learning from our students, staff, faculty, alumni, and broader community. Following the first town hall held in June, we now have confirmed the date and time for our second session, for active staff only, which will be held on Wednesday, July 19, at 1:00 pm in the Alex H. MacKinnon Auditorium in Don and Marion McDougall Hall (MCDH 242). Additional smaller group sessions for faculties and administrative units will be held throughout July and August. Sessions for students and alumni will be held in August and September.

We are committed to consulting and incorporating feedback to help inform new processes and update those that are out of date. We will share feedback and actions by expanding the current dedicated web page on about the RT report to include resources, updates, and progress in terms of implementing report recommendations. In addition, UPEI will work with partners in government to fill vacancies on the UPEI Board of Governors with an EDI lens prior to governance training later this summer. Board Chair Shannon MacDonald has also committed to governance assessments involving internal and external expertise.

We are committed to develop an action plan that has measurable goals. The action plan will be based on consultation and input with multiple stakeholders from UPEI and our broader community. Details on consultation and how UPEI will engage community members—including students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community representatives—will be shared over the coming days.

The nature of any university allows for healthy debate. This includes the ability to raise challenging questions and provoke critical thought. However, as indicated in the RT report, we must do this in ways that align with our values—including accountability and integrity, and inclusion—to ensure we create and support a respectful, safe environment.

Finally, I wish to express my heartfelt thanks to the many people in our University and broader PEI community who have reached out to express their concerns and continued confidence in UPEI. Their wiliness to share how they continue to recognize and value the education they received from UPEI; the positive impacts made by our University faculty and staff through knowledge, research, service, and cultural contributions; and their belief in the excellence and potential of our students is deeply appreciated. This feedback also provides a strong reminder of our mission and role as PEI’s provincial university.

As we continue to create paths for healing and to improve our processes, I ask that we make efforts to support each other and be open to working together to enable needed changes.

Throughout the global pandemic and last year’s hurricane, we encouraged our students and community to be resilient, to be strong, and to be brave in weathering these storms moving towards a stronger future. I ask our community to once again find the strength to come together for a better future.





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

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